25 Sep 2021 World leisure: news, training & property
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Spa Business
2020 issue 3

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Leisure Management - The fight ahead

Editor's letter

The fight ahead

After the relief and jubilation of reopening comes the realisation that there are major battles ahead for our industry and its hugely talented leaders and professionals

Katie Barnes, Spa Business
Banyan Tree is forging ahead with its new wellbeing concept (p28)

The majority of spa and wellness facilities around the world are now open and offering the healing services that touch-starved customers need now, more than ever.

The COVID-19 crisis has driven a huge surge in creativity and best practice, as operators innovate to survive. Some are using advanced yield management to ensure the limited number of treatments they’re able to offer return the same, if not greater, profits (p62), while companies such as Resense and Aromatherapy Associates have had significant successes with online sales (p16).

It’s also inspiring to see the solutions being deployed to stimulate revenue streams, such as outdoor treatments, COVID-19 recovery programmes and immune-boosting packages (p24).

On page 65 we take a look at a new facility model that was emerging before the pandemic, but which has now come into its own. Both Remedy Place and Next Health in California position themselves in the medical wellness arena, have a small footprint, a focus on self-administered treatments and low operating costs. We expect businesses taking this approach to tap a consumer need and also predict a rise in demand for the touchless experiences on which they’re based. We’ve investigated these further on page 70.

For all the positives, however, the pandemic has created stresses that have taken the industry backwards. It’s concerning to see major hotel operators letting go of top-level wellness leaders as they drop the wellbeing baton to refocus on the core business of selling beds.

We believe this is short-sighted and that operators, such as Banyan Tree (p28), who are still priortising wellness will strengthen their position in the market as a result.

The biggest lesson of the pandemic has been the hard realisation that our industry has very little heft when it comes to political lobbying, with major politicians the world over betraying a complete lack of awareness of the personal, economic and social value of the sector.

Trade associations have deployed every weapon in their arsenal to fight our corner and it’s ultimately a testament to their hard work that we are reopen. But it should not have been that hard. There’s a huge job of work to do to build our reputation and win support in the corridors of power through effective lobbying. This work is vital to ensure we never face such challenges and constraints again.

Katie Barnes is editor of Spa Business magazine | @SpaBusinessKB

Originally published in Spa Business 2020 issue 3

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