23 May 2024 World leisure: news, training & property
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Spa Business
2023 issue 3

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Leisure Management - Karen Short

Spa People: 20th anniversary issue

Karen Short

Retail creativity has become a significant draw for online and walk-in traffic

Karen Short, Universal Companies photo: Universal Companies
Consumers are becoming more adventurous with their spa experiences, says Short photo: Fivelements

How has the spa industry evolved?
There’s a growing awareness of the importance of addressing mental health concerns and the loneliness epidemic, as well as an accelerated push to deliver eco- and social-consciousness initiatives.

A lesson learned earlier in the pandemic was realising the importance of having several revenue pillars, as spas that embraced retail were able to sell products when physical services were restricted.

The growth in self-care and home spa has created a market for products that can substantially augment spa revenues, while creativity in the retail experience has become a significant draw for online and walk-in traffic.

What key innovations can you identify?
Touchless/autonomous equipment can provide effective experiences largely without the need for certified technicians and science is validating the positive outcomes of using these kinds of services. Wet or dry flotation, infrared saunas, salt rooms and cryo chambers are just some examples that businesses are investing in to meet consumer needs while countering staffing shortages.

What trends are impacting spas?
Consumers are growing increasingly comfortable with a broader definition of the spa experience, especially as science continues to quantify multisensory treatments. Light therapy, sound therapy, aromatherapy and alternative healing (acupuncture, reiki) are finding their way onto menus in many spas, with great customer acceptance. Hypnotherapy has hit corporate spa menus and we’ll see the arrival of more far-afield services such as psychedelic therapy coming on strong in the years ahead.

What do you still hope to accomplish?
Our team knows how important education is to help businesses grow and thrive. We also know that opportunities for training are shrinking in the industry.

Our goal is to increase the number and variety of continuing education courses we offer, as well as free training for the brands and equipment we supply.

More from spa industry leaders...

In celebration of Spa Business’ 20th anniversary, industry leaders take a look at how far the sector has come since the magazine’s inception in 2003, share personal career highlights and reveal their plans and ideas for the future.

View next: Rupert Schmid

Originally published in Spa Business 2023 issue 3

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