29 May 2024 World leisure: news, training & property
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Spa Business
2023 issue 2

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Leisure Management - Feeling optimistic

Editor's letter

Feeling optimistic

Revenues are at an all-time high, operators are starting to benefit from yield management and democratic wellness is bubbling under. It’s an exciting time for our industry

World Spa NYC expects an ROI in 12 months photo: anna sokol

Figures just out from the International Spa Association (ISPA) show that revenues from US spas have surpassed US$20bn (€18.6bn, £16.2bn) a year for the first time, marking a milestone achievement (see p32). The number of spa locations, visits, revenue per visit and total employment numbers are also up.

Our sector, which is based on touch and travel, was one of the hardest hit by COVID. But even back then, operators were optimistic their focus on wellbeing would stand the test of time, as a shell-shocked global population had a health wake-up call.

It’s heartwarming to see these numbers confirming the comeback and also to have spas on the ground corroborating that their businesses are flourishing.

Another positive to come from hard times is that operators are increasingly embracing yield management. More often than not, Spa Business sees dynamic pricing at play and a steady increase in the number of businesses launching membership packages (see p102). Yes, this is an anecdotal observation, based on our reporting and there’s more operators can do, but it’s interesting and promising, nonetheless.

It’s most encouraging, however, to see the beginnings of democratic wellness and the hunger for it.

Therme Group charges as little as US$20 (€19, £16) for a three-hour pass to its Bucharest complex and welcomed over 1 million visitors in its first year. At the new World Spa bathhouse in New York (see p96) entry starts at US$89 (€83, £72) and people are queuing around the block to get in – even on a Monday. The owners expect to see a return on investment in the first 12 months.

On a larger scale, Hilton’s Amanda Al-Masri reveals that the global group intends to deliver wellness across all its 19 brands, not just those in the top tier (see p70). This amounts to 7,000 properties and 1 million guestrooms. “It helps us to do right by our guests and I feel a huge responsibility to deliver it,” she says.

The move, spearheaded by an all-female leadership team, will see wellness touchpoints delivered throughout Hilton hotels, not just in spas. Yet, at the same time, much innovation is stemming from those spas and they’re gaining well-deserved, widespread recognition for this.

Katie Barnes is the editor of Spa Business magazine | katiebarnes@leisuremedia.com

Originally published in Spa Business 2023 issue 2

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