Membership spas and other ways of belonging to a spa are on the rise, according to SpaFinder’s Top 10 Global Spa Trends to Watch in 2010. ”Spas are being reimagined as places of belonging—not only literally, through the rise in membership programs, but also in the diverse ways spas are being recast as social or communal hubs." SpaFinder Inc. is a global spa and wellness company based in New York City.
Five years ago, it would be difficult to imagine the spa as your hangout, says SpaFinder, but new industry approaches are making spa belonging a reality. "In 2010 consumers will further bond with their less forbidding spas, as they increasingly hit the spa to connect with others"
According to a recent SpaFinder global survey, only a small percentage of spas have some kind of membership program today, but 23 percent are considering implementing one. The membership model is a savvy strategy for tough times, keeping valued clients close, filling therapist time, helping “stay” spas attract local, day customers, and increasing revenue from membership fees/dues.
An added benefit is that spa clients spend on average 18 percent more after they become members. And consumers love the often significantly reduced treatment rates and rewards/loyalty programs.
Every type of spa is rolling out memberships: popular day spa chains like California’s Burke-Williams and Total Woman, urban hotel spas like the Peninsula NYC and the Intercontinental in San Francisco, destination spas like the Oaks at Ojai in California, even spa residences like Canyon Ranch Living and mobile spas like the UK’s TherapyClub.com, according to SpaFinder.
"But 'belonging' transcends mere membership, as spas are transforming themselves into places of community, education, and social mingling with events like free meditation sessions at lunch, wellness speakers/classes in the evening, parties, fundraisers, local philanthropic events, spa hiking/walking groups, and book clubs."
Especially innovative is the wine lounge at the new Caudalie Spa at New York’s Plaza Hotel, where bathrobe-clad spa-goers enjoy wine tasting while chatting with the sommelier (and each other) post-treatment.
Look for more programs at spas next year that bond consumers to spas and people to each other. The next generation of spa designers find the current spa environment imagine the “spa of the future” as a multi-use communal space revolving around a lounge/bar/hangout area, even incorporating online social media connections