LEXINGTON, Ky. – Spa professionals from across the globe met at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada, Nov. 7 through 9 for the 21st annual International SPA Association Conference & Expo. The annual gathering is the spa industry’s premier event featuring an impressive speaker lineup and an expo filled with the latest spa-industry products. Attendees are able to connect with each other, gain insight into the latest spa innovations and business tactics, and grow as a spa community.

Every year the conference brings new research and business tools to the spa industry. This year marked the launch of the new ISPA Foundation Consumer Snapshot Initiative, which will provide insight into 10 areas including trends, behavioral patterns and preferences for both spa-goers and non-spa-goers. This ongoing initiative was conducted in partnership with PricewaterhouseCoopers.

“Spa professionals realize that making an investment in the ISPA Conference & Expo is making an investment in the future of their business,” said ISPA President Lynne McNees. “Attendees were able to make business connections, find the latest products on the sold-out Expo floor and hear from top-rated speakers all in one place.”

Conference by the numbers

The sold-out expo floor featured more than 300 booths, representing more than 200 companies and 50 new products. The ISPA Foundation Live and Silent Auction raised more than $100,000 to benefit the educational initiatives of the foundation, which includes scholarships, educational spa resources and research.

An impressive 2,250 attendees from 38 countries chose from 20 professional-development sessions on topics including marketing, profitability, integrative medicine and more.

Insights from keynote speakers

The daily general sessions featured insightful keynote speakers including Bert Jacobs, chief executive optimist for the Life is good Company. Jacobs shared how word-of-mouth, a healthy dose of optimism and “investing in the customer experience” helped turn his small T-shirt business into a $100 million company. Along the road to success, he has given back through the Life is good Kids Foundation, which helps kids overcome life-threatening challenges, such as violence, illness and extreme poverty.

Best-selling author and futurist Faith Popcorn, CEO of Faith Popcorn’s BrainReserve, helped attendees realize that the way to connect with consumers is to be genuine. Popcorn encouraged attendees to get on “The Ark”, a place of inspiration, transparency and reinvention through a series of five commandments including: understanding that consumers are seeking substance over superficiality, listening and responding, using your power for good, embracing their feminine side and embracing change.

Zappos.com CEO and author of the best-selling book Delivering Happiness, Tony Hsieh, helped wrap up the ISPA Conference by providing details on how to create a culture of happiness in the work environment. Hsieh emphasized the importance of making your clients happy by providing excellent customer service above all else. Attendees were inspired by Hsieh who created one of the best company cultures in the world where employees are encouraged to be weird and give back to their communities. The results of a happy workplace are employees who are more productive and thrilled to come to work every day.

Awards

The association honored Angela Cortright, founder and owner of Spa Gregorie’s, with the ISPA Dedicated Contributor Award. Cortright’s long standing contributions to the industry include dedicated service on the ISPA Marketing Task Force and ISPA Board of Directors, as well as being a leader in offering oncology massage programs to breast cancer patients and survivors.

Bert Jacobs chief executive optimist for the Life is good Company received the ISPA Alex Szekely Humanitarian Award presented by Rancho La Puerta Founder and “godmother of spa” Deborah Szekely. Jacobs’ work with the Life is good Kid’s Foundation Playmakers Initiative helps to provide training, resources and support for adults dedicated to caring for underprivileged children, so that all involved lead healthier, more joyful lives.

The 2012 ISPA Conference and Expo will be held at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Kissimmee, Florida, on Oct. 15 to 17, 2012.

About the International SPA Association

ISPA is recognized worldwide as the leading professional organization and voice of the spa industry. Founded in 1991, ISPA advances the spa industry by providing invaluable educational and networking opportunities, promoting the value of the spa experience and speaking as the authoritative voice to foster professionalism and growth. More details on ISPA are available on experienceispa.com.

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