Spa industry soars even during the recession

  • December 28th, 2010 10:27 am ET

The newly released International SPA Association 2010 U.S. Spa Industry Study provides insight into key trends in the industry that are helping it to flourish.

"We're seeing the spa industry strategically adapt to the changes brought on by the economy," said ISPA President Lynne McNees. "One thing is certain -- spas have remained authentic to the core of their business which is health and wellness."

A back-to-basics approach to treatments, eco-friendly practices, and value incentives are part of the spa industry’s success.  Here are some of the study’s findings:


Spas have increased their appeal to broader audiences. The industry study reveals that 80 percent of spas have introduced special packages targeted at diverse client groups including men, couples, teens, families, athletes, and seniors. Over six in ten spas introduced discounts and incentives to attract first-time clients, while franchises with membership rates took off in 2010. The industry motto, "there is a spa experience for everyone," has never been more true.

Environmental Sustainability

The spa industry continues to reign as a top green industry, with 85 percent of spas indicating they apply environmentally sustainable practices. The industry study revealed that recycling, utilizing sustainable packaging, offering organic products and becoming LEED certified are just a few ways spas are staying eco-friendly. As environmental sustainability grows in importance to consumers, ISPA members have responded by increasing partnerships with suppliers who practice the same earth-friendly principles.


Spas have reengineered their menus to offer discounts and incentives without sacrificing quality. National spa chains offer affordable treatments to a large audience, while maintaining top-level service. According to the 2010 U.S. Spa Industry Study, 95 percent of spas have changed their menus to entice spa-goers with new offerings including 60 percent of spas utilizing a customer loyalty program, 67 percent offering half-day packages and 75 percent offering express (30-minute or less) treatments. These treatments offer a less expensive option that also give busy spa-goers options to enjoy the spa experience. Another way ISPA members are offering value is by utilizing discounting services such as Groupon, Rue La La, and other deal-oriented websites.


Since the economic downturn has caused spas to reevaluate their businesses, many have gone "back to basics" in their menu offerings. In fact, a results-oriented deep tissue massage is the most offered type of massage according to the ISPA 2010 Spa Industry Study. And massage is the top treatment amongst spa-goers worldwide. In evaluating the product lines they carry, ISPA members look for packaging, pricing, and advertising that align with the spa's core brand. The authentic purpose and philosophy of spas, which is health and wellness, remains the most important aspect of the spa business.

Health and Wellness Education

The spa experience has always been about health and wellness, and the industry has helped people understand that spa treatments are a part of living a healthy lifestyle. Increasingly, spas look to educate their clients about the benefits of spa treatments, particularly stress reduction, the No. 1 reason people go to the spa worldwide. Medical spas, while a small segment of the industry, continue to be the fastest growing spa type. And treatments are covered under some insurance plans. Spas are developing treatments to combat and heal allergies, cold and flu symptoms, and sports injuries.

As the fourth largest leisure industry, with a revenue of $12.3 billion in the U.S. alone, the spa industry has proven staying power. As more people turn to the spa to learn how to lead a healthy and balanced life, the industry will continue to sustain and remain true to its core mission to promote health and wellness. 
















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