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OPINION


ELLY EARLS » JOURNALIST » SPA BUSINESS


Pampering and wellness can coexist – Voya seaweed products can be added to an indulgent bath to make it therapeutic


PAMPERING EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT...


‘pampering’ experiences, feeling that pre- senting their services as an indulgence or a one-off treat has become increas- ingly inappropriate for a consumer base wracked with money worries. Instead, a growing number of spas are


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off ering ‘wellness’-orientated, health-fo- cused treatments, such as healing baths and lymphatic massages. T ey’re beginning to focus on the scientifi cally-proven medical benefi ts of their services (see sb10/3 p54) rather than the vague promise of making clients feel better. But are those spas that are seeking to


entirely disassociate themselves with what they perceive as the frivolity of pampering actually missing a trick? For Jeremy McCa- rthy, director of global spa development and operations for Starwood Hotels & Resorts, who spoke on this subject at the Global Spa


ince the recession in 2008, many operators have started to move away from the idea of spa


Is a pampering image really such a damaging one for the spa industry, or is the link between ‘me time’ and happiness more important than ever? We canvass some industry opinions


and Wellness Summit this June (see sb12/3 p54), without a doubt, yes. “Happiness tends to have a bad reputation


– it’s very superfi cial and somewhat hedon- istic,” he said. “I think we wrestle with our own pampering identity and making people feel good and therefore try to focus more on wellness than pampering. But there are some real, serious, benefi cial outcomes that are tied to happiness and I think this is some- thing we should really pay attention to.” Furthermore, for McCarthy, there are already thousands of medical institutions


26 Read Spa Business online spabusiness.com / digital


that offer scientifically-proven treat- ments much more eff ectively than a spa ever could. What spas do really well is provide healing that people really love.


“T ere’s no other healing institution that people look forward to going to, that they enjoy when they’re there, or that they remember fondly aſt erwards the way they do with spa,” he emphasised. Not everyone in the spa industry,


however, feels the same, with a growing number of experts and operators increas- ingly believing that today’s cash-strapped consumers are only interested in paying for a treatment if it will improve their health in a measurable way and advocating a return to the root of the spa movement when peo- ple visited hot or cold springs solely for their therapeutic and healing properties. But is there a middle ground between


pampering for pampering’s sake and entirely science-based treatments? We ask key indus- try players for their take on the matter.


SPA BUSINESS 4 2012 ©Cybertrek 2012


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