Atlanta, Georgia — The Green Spa Network’s 3rd Annual Buyer’s Conference attracted more than 150 spa leaders at The Claremont Hotel Club & Spa in Berkeley, California on April 27-30. Specific trends affecting the spa industry became clear after three days of keynote addresses, one-to-one meetings and social gatherings:
- Increase in Consumer Demand for Greening
- An Increase in Programs to “Give Back” for both spa and product companies
- A Clearer Connection Between Wellness & Sustainability
Keynoters included Dr. Ken Dychtwald, Agewave founder and expert on marketing to boomers and mature adults; Jeremy McCarthy, corporate spa director for Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group (formerly with Starwood Hotels & Resorts); and Andrew Gibson, vice president of spa and wellness at Fairmont Raffles Hotels and Resorts.
Buyers in attendance included spa directors and corporate directors from Auberge Resorts, Destination Hotels & Resorts, Fairmont, Four Seasons, Hyatt, The Grand Del Mar, Marriott, Montage Resorts, Ritz Carlton and Rosewood Hotels.
“I enjoyed the GSN Buyer’s Conference, and I think it is an excellent forum to conduct business and meet people that have similar values and ethics,” Gibson said. “The move to social responsibility varies considerably but there is a swelling in numbers of those who want to participate. The spa and wellness industry is perfectly positioned to reinforce these goals that lead to the wellbeing of every individual.”
“The highest caliber of the spa industry attended the GSN Buyer’s Conference — the real ‘movers and shakers.’ said Terry Prager, vice president of operations for The Americas for ESPA International. “It was wonderful to engage with people at the pinnacle of their career who are serious about taking steps to make their businesses more sustainable.”
Consumer Demand for “Green” Increasing: Attendees unanimously see an upswing in demand for natural and organic products.
“Rising concerns for health safety, increasing green consciousness and growing consumer awareness are fueling the demand for genuine organic personal care products, according to a new study by Transparency Market Research,” said Jim Croghan, spa director of Grand Del Mar. “As the demand for organic personal care products grows, so too will the demand for legitimacy in growing practices and certification.”
“The lines with the best causes had great legs to sell,” said Julie Oliff, spa director of the St. Regis Aspen and ISPA Board Member. “Yogi Fair — with 10 percent of proceeds going to community projects in West Africa — had a great story; same thing with the Cuddle grams with Hands for Hope, which donates a blanket to disaster relief for every one you buy. But most potent of all was SpaEquip’s Gift of Spa concept — the willingness of a vendor to give back is a big reason to be spending money with his company as opposed to others.”
The Wellness Sustainability/Continuum: A move to sustainability is natural for wellness-minded consumers. Personal health and wellness goals intersect with broader notions of well-being (e.g., in the body, on the body, around the body).
“Wellness is about diet, lifestyle and product consumption which ties in directly to the work being done by the Green Spa Network and spas all over the world,” said Susie Marquez, spa director at Grand Hotel Marriott Resort. “It’s about taking charge of who you are, what you want and what you are willing to buy in order to leave this planet in better shape for our future generations.”
“The GSN Buyer’s Conference is an important fundraiser for our non-profit organization as it helps to fuel our growth and ensure our own sustainability,” said GSN Founding Board Member and Events Co-Chair Tara Grodjesk, CEO of Tara Spa Therapy. “The intention of the GSN Buyer’s Conference is to educate, to raise awareness and to make green and sustainable resources easily accessible to buyers so that they can make better purchasing choices that truly support the health and well-being of people and planet.”
About the Green Spa Network
The Green Spa Network is a not-for-profit trade association promoting the natural connections between personal wellbeing, economic sustainability and the health of our planet. Educational events and member greening tools support a culture of transparency, authenticity and engagement for those in the health, wellness and beauty community who are on the road to planet friendly business operations.
Pictured (Above right): From left to right, Rianna Riego, Corporate Director of Brand & Communication, Two Bunch Palms; Laura Davidson, Spa Director, Pebble Beach Resort; Melissa McMahon, Spa Director, The Fairmont Southampton; Suzy Johlfs, Spa Director, Silverado Resort
Pictured (Above left): From left to right, Michael Stusser, Founder Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary, GSN Founding Board Member; Jim Chenevey, CEO, Living Earth Crafts, GSN Founding Board Member; Dr. Ken Dychtwald, Agewave Founder & GSN Buyers Event Keynote; Tara Grodjesk, CEO of Tara Spa Therapy, GSN Founding Board Member and Events Co-Chair