In a free webinar on Feb. 2, American Spa magazine editor-in-chief Julie Keller Callaghan talked about the state of the spa industry, including 10 spa trends she sees on the horizon for the coming year. While they focus on different facets of clients’ needs, all have one thing in common: They suggest a huge demand from clients willing to pay top dollar for treatments especially designed for them—and in some cases, by them.
Let them DIY
One of the trends Callaghan identified, termed appealing apothecaries, describes the growing practice of allowing clients to mix their own blends of aromatherapy oils, body scrubs and other products. These blends can then be used on the client during that session or packaged for at-home use. Some spas record clients’ recipes and keep them on file for the future, whether that means mixing up a special batch before their next session or shipping them an occasional supply for self-care.
How you can use this spa trend:
- You probably already offer custom massages; consider putting out samples of different massage oils and creams so clients can choose their own for each session. You could also provide a small mix-it-yourself menu of essential oils along with small bottles of carrier oil so clients can create their own massage oils. Don’t forget to give some basic instructions—and track clients’ preferences for future reference.
The right place and time
Another spa trend Callaghan discussed was one she called keeping it real. When you offer specialty treatments, think about what will be memorable to your clients. What will make people want to tell their friends, and post about their spa experience on social media?
She said many spas source local ingredients, or even plant their own herb farms for growing what is used in their products. Others create treatments inspired by their surroundings; for example, The Spa at Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, New York, uses locally quarried crystal in one of its signature services, the Shawangunk Grit Mineral Body Treatment. Offering signature, all-natural juice blends, another spa trend Callaghan covered, is also a way to bring clients a unique spa experience with a local twist.
Resorts that host destination weddings have experienced an increase in guest demand for wellness services, so many spas now offer treatments and services for wedding participants and guests. Other spas cater exclusively to night owls, providing moonlight massages, yoga under the stars, or romantic overnight wellness retreats for couples.
In-room therapies are also a hot spa trend. A hotel might dispatch a “bath butler” to draw and customize hot baths for guests, offer spa items for purchase, or even have designated spa-level rooms that come complete with luxury spa services included in the price.
Additionally, many companies reach clients in their own homes by offering wellness-related products via subscription. For example, Spa Heroes offers boxes, delivered monthly, containing spa products hand-selected by experts.
How you can use these spa trends:
- Incorporate local ingredients, such as herbs, stones or foods into your treatments.
- Offer your clients personalized product recommendations.
- Mail samples of new products to clients who have purchased similar products in the past.
Solve clients’ problems
A spa trend Callaghan called specialty solutions is “booming in all different levels of the market,” she said during the webinar. Small, fast, ultra-focused services, often referred to as bars, are cropping up to solve all kinds of client problems, including bars for hair blowouts and styling, facial treatments, waxing, even eyelash extensions.
According to Callaghan, a large number of spagoers struggle with getting enough sleep, so many spas offer services designed to promote deeper, more satisfying sleep, from cuisine to aromatherapy to massage. Some, such as YeloSpa in New York, New York, even offer fully customizable naps for clients, complete with adjustable sound and aromatherapy.
DNA, said Callaghan, has made a jump from the science lab to the spa. Many beauty products spas use now offer protection against DNA damage—from ultraviolet rays, smoke, and other factors—that is believed to lead to skin damage and disease. For those looking for uber-targeted beauty solutions, some spas can actually test clients’ DNA, and use products designed to deal with their unique issues.
How you can use these spa trends:
- Offer short seated-massage sessions focused on one problem area, such as arms and hands.
- Market a scrub, wrap or other spa treatment, with a specific benefit, that can be completed during a lunch break.
- Design an aromatherapy massage session intended to enhance sleep, using herbs such as lavender or Roman chamomile, and include a coordinating take-home product such as an eye mask or lotion.
As massage and spa consumers continue to drive a demand for highly customized services, it will become more important than ever to make sure your practice keeps up with this trend, by offering clients the options and flexibility they have come to expect.
A recording of the complete American Spa 2015 Trend Report webinar is available at www.americanspa.com.
About the Author
Allison Payne is associate editor of MASSAGE Magazine and managing editor of futureLMT.com, MASSAGE’s publication for student and beginning massage therapists. She has written several articles for MASSAGE, including “Everyone Uses Social Media—Including Your Future Boss” (July 2014).