Spa Business 3 2023

Page 76


Andrew Gibson Andrew Gibson Advisory What key innovations can you identify in the last 20 years?

While innovation has been a vital element of our industry’s development, I believe the real growth and maturation of our sector is the result of global collaboration by a dedicated group of passionate leaders who wanted to elevate the industry into a serious and relevant contributor to personal and societal health. Organisations have been created that are able to set standards and get recognition from the relevant authorities. Global networks, aided by industry media, have released valuable market research. Scientific evidence showing the efficacy of modalities enables society to trust our practitioners and for us to evaluate our offerings, moving beyond gimmicks and questionable claims to credible experiences. Today the spa industry is also supported with training, careers and a network that encourages innovation.

We’ve collectively failed to prove the true value of hotel spas

Who have been the biggest influencers?

What’s holding the industry back?

Susie Ellis and the board behind the Global Spa Summit (now GWS) which was formed in 2007; Belgin Aksoy who spearheads Global Wellness Day; Deborah Szekely who’s inspired so many careers and projects around the world; and the International Spa Association with its annual US Spa Industry Study and valuable support network. From a personal perspective, I also recognise the leaders of global hotel companies who believed in wellness 20 years ago – Sonu Shivdasani at Six Senses; KP Ho from Banyan Tree and Edouard Ettedgui at Mandarin Oriental – because they paved the way for the expansion of spas into hotels.

We’re not effectively demonstrating the true value of hotel spas because we don’t have the data to prove suppositions. Properties are still measuring the success of a spa on the departmental P&L with little statistical evidence that facilities contribute anything more. Most spas are still considered a necessary burden and since COVID, some are questioning the validity of a manned facility at all. We’ve collectively failed to prove that a good spa and skilled therapists improve the average length of stay, repeat business and increase total guest spend. With more success in this area, we’d certainly attract more investors, innovators and leaders.

76 issue 3 2023

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