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Tomonori Maruyama


Chief researcher/manager, Mitsui Knowledge Industry


facilities are joining forces to help drive the sector forward (see p80). Hot springs communities and devotees are rapidly growing – the forum estimates that the industry has grown from US$45.6bn (€36.8bn, £30bn) in 2010 to US$50.4bn (€33.3bn, £27.1bn) in 2011 – but to sustain their interest, the facilities must create some fresh approaches to the cultural experiences. The thermal bathing culture in Japan is centuries old – we have


I


3,100 natural hot springs across the country – but one of the most interesting new developments is Senkyaku Banrai, a shopping and entertainment complex close to the 2020 Olympic stadium in Tokyo, that includes a seven-storey thermal bathing and accom- modation tower (see p48). The Olympics is going to have a big impact on the spa industry in Japan and this new project is being built next to the new site for the famous Tsukiji fi sh market, with 140 sushi-related shops and restaurants for tourists and residents. It’s due to be completed within the next two years and is expected to attract up to 4 million visitors annually. Elsewhere in Japan, some traditional Zen temples are providing their ascetic training (traditional spiritual exercise practice) for beginners. I think this could grow rapidly, as consumers increasingly seek solace from the stresses of every day life and as destination spas move away from pampering and further embrace exercise. Globally, one of the biggest opportunities for growth in the spa


industry is making use of ‘big data’. Firstly, this includes analysing guest’s personal data, such as physical biomarkers – which is only set to increase thanks to advances in wearable tech – to


’m most excited about the resurgent interest in hot springs. Last year the Global Spa & Wellness Summit (GSWS) dedicated a forum to it and now representatives of hot spring


Hot spring spas in Japan need to refresh their off ering to entice more clients


personalise spa services and marketing campaigns. To do this, spas will need to encourage customers to fi rst share this private data by highlighting the provable benefi ts of treatments. Secondly, it involves operators tapping into weather forecasts, market/con- sumer trends and other factors that impact customer behaviour. I also think there’s a gap in the global spa market for a world-


wide loyalty scheme – something like the Star Alliance frequent fl yer programme. Members could earn and spend privilege points at affi liated spas and could be reward for early bookings by receiving a complimentary product or mini treatment.


I think there’s a gap in the global spa market for a worldwide loyalty scheme – something like the Star Alliance frequent fl yer programme


www.spahandbook.com spa business handbook 2014 65


PHOTO © SHUTTERSTOCK/KPG_PAYLESS


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