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

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Leisure Management - Milestone moment

News report

Milestone moment

Revenue in the US spa industry has exceeded the US$20bn mark according to ISPA’s latest stats

The total number of US spa employees increased by 4.6 per cent photo: shutterstock/NDAB Creativity
Revenue per spa visit sits at US$111.5 – an all-time industry high photo: shutterstock/Versta
Visits grew by 4.1 per cent and experts say the sector is at the dawn of a new decade of growth photo: shutterstock/PeopleImages.com - Yuri A
People are placing far more value on their holistic health photo: shutterstock/Jacob Lund

The US spa sector experienced a significant boost in revenue last year reaching US$20.1bn (€18.3bn, £15.9bn) and surpassing a significant industry milestone.

This outpaces the previous high of US$19.1bn (€17.4bn, £15.1bn) in revenues, which was realised in 2019.

This figure is one of the Big Five – key spa financial indicators that the International Spa Association (ISPA) reveals ahead of its full US Spa Industry Study around August time.

The study is conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and the Big Five includes total revenue, total spa visits, number of spa locations, revenue per visit and the total number of US spa industry employees (see table).

Crossing the threshold
“The US spa industry has rebounded very strongly,” says Colin McIlheney, global research leader at PwC, who first predicted in 2018 that the sector had the potential to reach the iconic US$20bn threshold by 2020.
In 2021, he was still optimistic and predicted a significant rebound with pent-up demand for wellbeing. Now in 2023, McIlheney believes the industry is witnessing a watershed moment.

“It’s been a tremendously challenging couple of years. But it’s very clear that the spa industry in the US has shown great resilience. This is the dawn of a new decade of growth.”

Tammy Pahel, VP of spa & wellness operations at the forward-thinking Carillon Miami Wellness Resort comments: “We expect to see numbers significantly increase further in 2023 with the ongoing demand for wellness tourism and touchless technologies.

“People are placing greater value on their holistic health, so it’s no secret that the rise of the spa industry is showing no signs of slowing down.”

Locations, visits and spend
Continuing the good news, the number of US spas increased by 280 locations – from 21,510 in 2021 to 21,790 in 2022. This indicates a 1.3 per cent jump and is more than five times the number of locations recorded since the inaugural 2000 ISPA industry study.

The number of spa visits grew from 173 million in 2021 to 181 million in 2022. McIlheney says: “Visits aren’t yet back at 2019 levels (190 million), which highlights the ongoing recovery of the industry.”

Meanwhile, revenue per spa visit rose by US$7 (€6, £6) for the second time in year-over-year numbers, settling at US$111.5 (€102, £88), another all-time high.

“This aligns with what we’re seeing at Lapis, the spa at Fontainebleau Miami Beach,” says the property’s new director of spa and wellness, Shane Upson, who has nearly three decades of experience in hospitality. “Guest visits have increased and they want to spend more time in the spa. Many are even booking more than one service. Not only are they wanting a massage, but they are investing in themselves in a more thoughtful way.”

Susan Hern, COO of Woodhouse Spas, which has 80 day spa franchises across the US, adds: “Beyond the record-breaking revenues, the growth in spa visits and the increasing number of spa locations are noteworthy indicators of our industry’s strength and relevance. I’m excited to see the sustained demand for spa experiences and the industry’s ability to cater to a diverse customer base.

“The rise in revenue per visit showcases the industry’s dedication to providing high-quality, personalised services that align with customers’ evolving expectations. And this is in line with what we are seeing at all of our locations.”

Workforce growth
The total number of industry employees also continued on an upward trajectory in 2022, increasing by 4.6 per cent to 360,700.

Spa industry figure CG Funk, currently chief therapeutic experience officer at Massage Heights with its 115 retreats, says. “These findings show the resilience of our industry. We successfully navigated the COVID obstacles which included deep losses in employees across all spa sectors.

“It’s heartening to see such a positive jump in overall staffing numbers. While we do need to stay highly focused on continued recruiting and retention efforts, these numbers indicate that our efforts in 2022 helped achieve positive results in this category.”

ISPA president Lynne McNees concludes: “The spa industry is making up for lost time and revenue growth of 11.1 per cent is the spotlight statistic. But the increase in staffing – especially full-time employees, up more than 5 per cent – is an even more unmistakable indicator of vitality.”

ISPA revealed a first look at the 2023 US Spa Industry Study during its 2023 Conference and Expo in May. The full report will be released later this year. See www.experienceispa.com

Credit: Lynne McNees

"The spa industry is making up for lost time" –  Lynne McNees, ISPA president

Originally published in Spa Business 2023 issue 2

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