Spa Business Handbook 2020-2021

Page 142

INDUSTRY INSIGHTS

Adapting

to a post-COVID world

Kevin Kelly, a 30-year-veteran of the spa industry, reflects on what the future holds for spa and wellness

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142 SPA BUSINESS HANDBOOK 2020 – 2021

telepresence technological options are viable. Even then, the human element, combined with artificial intelligence (AI), will be important to provide an emotional experience that is integral to wellbeing. To grow, the spa and wellness industry must integrate better content, diagnostics and technology to elevate the quality of the services, particularly coming off a pandemic in which health and science were brought to the fore. For instance, the US$16.2bn health and fitness wearables market is forecast to grow to US$24.5bn in 2023, in large part due to the virus outbreak.

Wellness redefined Kai-Fu Lee’s book, AI SuperPowers, provides a graph with four quadrants showing where AI will reside in the workplace. In the near term, two quadrants show the symbiotic benefit of AI and human interaction and the

The health and fitness wearables market is forecast to grow to US$24.5bn

www.spahandbook.com

ARTEM VARNITSIN/SHUTTERSTOCK

s companies in the high-touch spa and wellness industry grapple with COVID-19, including closings, reduced service menus, new hygiene protocols and testing, there is an overarching new normal that businesses should prepare for. In the post-COVID world, adapting to the rippling impacts on global connectivity (climate, supply chains, disease, economies and politics) requires rapid adoption of evolving technology. According to a McKinsey & Company report, during the initial three months of the COVID-19 outbreak, many industries implemented technology and “touchless” services at a scale that would normally have taken three years. And many companies are quickly establishing new remote-work policies that will alter real estate demands, workplace socialisation and customer service expectations. So, what does this mean to the wellness industry? Human interaction is the hallmark of our industry, and will remain so for at least another generation or more until