The Herman Trend Alert|
July 3, 2002
People are stressed and want to be pampered. They seek rejuvenation and relaxation at day spas, destination spas, resort spas, cruise spas, fitness spas, medical spas, brand-name spas. These facilities are found throughout the world-in stand-alone environments, at resorts, and even in business hotels.
The International Spa Association reports that the industry has grown rapidly over the past several years. The number of spas in the United States has grown at a rate of 19 percent per year over the past five years. Spa visits in the U.S. increased almost 60 percent between 1997 and 1999, and have continued to increase at similar rates over the past few years. 95 million visits are made to American spas annually, generating $5 billion in revenues (more revenue than ski resorts at $3.1 billion).
The customer base has changed radically, shifting from desire for weight loss to the motivation for good health and feeding the soul. As visitors look to add a healthy, relaxing facet to their trips, spa popularity at vacation spots has exploded in recent years. People going to hotels and resorts want to pamper themselves even more. The two concepts of a very nice hotel and an elaborate, full-service spa are coming together in the next generation of vacation or get-away destinations. Leading architects such as Wimberly, Allison, Tong and Goo, renowned for their work in the hotel field, are working on some significant projects now, with more in the planning stages, incorporating high grade hotel and comprehensive spa facilities into the same design.
The next question is who will manage these hybrid facilities. One possibility is a new breed of hospitality managers, specially educated and trained to lead operations in multiple areas, with an emphasis on health and wellness. A new endeavor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro bears watching. A hospital management program has been established under the School of Health and Human Performance, alongside exercise, sports science, and similar offerings. This kind of interconnection, especially with their planned emphasis on Spanish language, could be the next wave of specialized hospitality education.
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