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Spa Business
2023 issue 3

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Leisure Management - UK spa-goer insights

Research

UK spa-goer insights


How are UK spa-goer outlooks and behaviours changing? The Good Spa Guide asks 8,000 consumers in order to find out

Attitudes towards wellness and sustainability were the most surprising photo: Ragdale Hall
Thermal facilities are the most important consideration when booking photo: Ragdale Hall
Rudding Park Spa was one of this year’s GSG Award winners photo: rudding park spa
Most consumers are looking to spend the same at spas photo: Lodore falls Hotel & Spa

The Good Spa Guide (GSG), a publication and website which reviews and rates spas and treatments in the UK, has revealed the findings from its latest consumer survey called the State of Spa Report 2023.

Based on feedback from 8,827 respondents across the country (almost 90 per cent of whom were female), the survey highlights the behaviour and opinions of spa-goers.

What matters most?
So what attracts people in the UK to spas in the first place? When booking a spa, thermal rooms are deemed the most important factor (58 per cent), followed by the right treatment selection (13 per cent), relaxation rooms (10 per cent), outdoor spa space (10 per cent) and a pool (6 per cent).

Forty-five per cent of people state they prefer to arrive at a time that suits them rather than have the spa dictate one, while 53 per cent say they’re happy for the spa to allocate it.

Wellness and sustainability
Across all age groups, the majority of consumers (47 per cent) indicated that wellness options – such as holistic treatments and mindfulness classes – aren’t a main priority when booking spa trips (see Graph 1). Only 4 per cent of respondents say they “wouldn’t book a spa unless there are wellness options”.

GSG asked people how much sustainability matters to them when booking time at a spa. Surprisingly, only 42 per cent say that it matters “a little - it’s nice to have but I don’t actively look at sustainability”. And a mere 5 per cent say it matters so much they “wouldn’t consider booking a spa unless it had great eco-credentials”.

Consumer confidence
Thirty per cent of respondents say they still consider COVID-19 safety measures when visiting a spa.

Encouragingly, more than two-thirds of people (70 per cent) are confident a spa will treat them well in any situation.

However, 18 per cent are worried about going to a spa because they don’t feel body confident. A further 9 per cent are concerned because of other reasons such as pregnancy, disabilities, cancer and major illness, as well as gender and sexuality.

At what cost?
Respondents were asked whether they would spend less, more or about the same when booking a spa day in the current economic climate (see Graph 2).

Sixty-eight per cent say they’d spend the same and 26 per cent say they’d spend less. Meanwhile, only 4 per cent say they’re not going to spas at the moment and the remaining 2 per cent say they would spend more.

GSG asked respondents the same question about a spa break and found a similar response. Nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) would spend the same on a spa break, 29 per cent say they’d spend less, 4 per cent say they’d spend more and 5 per cent say they’re not going to spas right now.

“The most surprising findings from this report come from the wellness and sustainability sections,” GSG director Caitlin Dalton tells Spa Business. “Both are key to the spa industry but aren’t so keenly felt by spa-goers with most consumers saying they’re nice to have, but not part of their booking decisions.”

She concludes: “However, it’s very heartening to hear in a time of financial instability that two-thirds of people still expect to pay the same or more for their spa time.”

Best of British
This year’s GSG Award winners, as voted for by more than 400,000 UK consumers, were revealed in July. Accolades went to the following facilities:

Best Destination Spa: Ragdale Hall Spa

Best Spa for Wellness: Champneys Tring

Best Spa for the Eco-conscious: Rudding Park Spa

Best Spa for a Countryside Getaway: Hoar Cross Hall

Best Spa Garden: Lodore Falls Hotel & Spa

Best Spa for Guest Experience: Serenity Spa at Seaham Hall

Best Hotel Spa: The Woodland Spa

Best Day Spa: Ribby Hall Village

Best City Spa: Hope Street Hotel Spa

Best Boutique Spa: Stanley House Hotel & Spa

photo: GSG

Caitlin Dalton, director, Good Spa Guide


Originally published in Spa Business 2023 issue 3

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