To truly flourish, the spa industry needs to step outside its comfort zone and reach out to different markets with new and exciting business models
here’s no denying that the global spa industry is a fabulous one which makes millions of people around the world feel happy and healthy – whether that’s with a simple pampering facial or a fully customised, high-tech wellness programme. The expertly crafted treatments, skills of talented practitioners and luxury facilities, however, come with a price tag which makes them only accessible to people in the top tiers of society who have high disposable incomes. This means the sector is missing out on some serious business opportunities by sticking with its tried and tested, high-end approach, rather than reaching out more broadly to a wider range of potential customers. In our democratic wellness article on p44, leading industry figures suggest different ways for spas to offer spa and wellness experiences at lower price points, such as looking at economies of scale or using technology to increase operational efficiencies. Both ISPA (see p72) and GWS (see p92) point to the huge potential presented by the gen Z market – people born after 1996 – a sizeable number of whom have reached the age of majority and are now potential customers. Despite prioritising healthy living, they’re the generation that feels the least comfortable in spas. At the other end of the scale, the new ‘emerging 50+’ consumer groups have been billed as the most powerful and discerning generation in history. All these emerging segments represent gaps in the market for new business models and target demographics which spa and wellness businesses can tap into.
Canada’s Groupe Nordik: popular with all demographics
We expect democratic wellness offerings to give the industry its next phase of growth It’s possible to combine quality and volume to cross demographic boundaries: Groupe Nordik’s spas in Canada (see p36) are popular across all socio-economic groups. Its two nature spa sites attract 415,000 customers a year who pay CA$71 (US$54, £42) for a day pass to multiple bathing and heat experiences and the company is looking to open 10 more facilities across North America by 2027. As the top end of the market becomes more built out, we expect democratic wellness to flourish as a business model, giving the industry its next phase of growth.
Katie Barnes, editor @SpaBusinessKB
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