Spa Business issue 4 2019

Page 44


Kamalaya is working hard to extend its benefits to a wider audience

Everyone’s talking about…

democratic wellness Seen as a caring industry and one which looks after the wellbeing of people, is it incumbent for spas to devise wellness offerings which are accessible to all socio-economic groups, rather than the top tier? Kath Hudson investigates

Kath Hudson is a regular contributor to Spa Business ■

44 issue 4 2019


hile the benefits and experience offered by the wellness industry is something everyone could enjoy, at the moment the high price point means the industry is only able to reach the elite few who can afford the destination spa prices. For its own health, does the industry need to broaden its reach beyond its current restricted market and is it possible to become affordable without hitting the bottom line hard, or treating therapists unfairly? With their high personal touch, how can spas be brought into the mainstream without losing their essence? After all, the reason the industry has become a luxury proposition is because of the cost associated with its deep programming. And what is an affordable price? Kevin Kelly, who curated the price-accessible

wellness resort, Civana in the US, believes a quality, cost-effective 60-minute massage should be priced at US$99 (€90, £30). This figure is based on a balance between a fair wage for the practitioner and affordability for the customer. “This is still a push, but possible for a monthly, or bi-monthly, investment in wellbeing,” says Kelly. So what is the way forward for the industry? Should spas democratise their services, or keep going as they are? Is more education needed to prompt people who don’t currently invest in their health to review their spending priorities? Is different marketing needed in order for people to feel wellness is for them? Or do we need different business models? Different products and services? Dynamic pricing? Or could technology provide the answer? We canvass opinions from those in the industry