17 May 2021 World leisure: news, training & property
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Spa Business
2020 issue 2

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Leisure Management - Our greatest challenge

Editor’s letter

Our greatest challenge

Spa and wellness businesses will reopen while COVID-19 is still circulating in the community, meaning we have to find models which work in this new reality. How will this change the industry?

Katie Barnes, Spa Business
Medical wellness includes oxygen therapy and DNA testing Drazen Zigic/shutterstock

The coronavirus pandemic has brought with it some dark times, but I truly believe the global spa industry is a beacon of light in the world.

We should be proud of how suppliers have switched production to support medical staff and the public (Spa Business 2020 issue2 p96), operators have pivoted to digital solutions (Spa Business 2020 issue2 p26) and we’ve all come together in hundreds of webinars, virtual conferences and ‘collaboration calls’.

For those who haven’t been able to keep up with the webinar overload, we share our takeaways on p56 and p62.

Overall, the industry standpoint is one of optimism – people will be in need of wellness more than ever going forward and there are reports of phones ringing off the hook in anticipation of reopening.

In some countries, like China and the US, spas are already starting to operate once more, while in others, like the UK, this is weeks away. But the reality is that when doors open, we will need to operate while COVID-19 is still active in the community – for the foreseeable future.

So how can we deliver meaningful experiences while avoiding transmission? There won’t be one solution and only operators that are adaptable and responsive will survive.

There will be an opportunity to position spas as safe spaces – places of ‘safe touch’. Hygiene and social distancing will need to be scrutinised at every touchpoint and this demonstrated to customers to build up trust.

Maybe it will be about testing staff and customers before they enter the spa, or using UV robots, anti-viral fogging and anti-viral air con to keep spaces safe. Perhaps it will be around wearing masks, or delivering touchless therapies using machines. There are many tools and strategies we can use.

We can also make more of the outdoors as a safe space by offering interventions such as forest bathing. This will also help support people with their mental health.

There will be a significant move towards medical wellness, and businesses in this part of the sector will do well in the new reality. This is an opportunity for spas to add more science-based interventions to menus to support customers.

Now is also the time to cement relationships with medical institutions to create new operating models and also to reconfirm the efficacy of what we already offer.

We’ll find a growing demand for beauty maintenance, so we also expect to see spas embracing these services far more.

In a time of crisis, people are open to new ideas. We need to be entrepreneurial and flexible, not only to survive, but also to add meaningful depth to our services.

Katie Barnes, editor @SpaBusinessKB

Originally published in Spa Business 2020 issue 2

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