With today's fast-paced lifestyles, visiting the spa needs to be quick, convenient and effective. All of the regular cosmetic services such as Botox, collagen enhancement, skin rejuvenation and others need to go off without a hitch and within an hour. Many of these treatments are for socialites or working women and men on the go. They want quick service while still being able to use their cell phones and palm-pilots. Creating an environment that is respectful of their time is paramount.

Research has indicated that non-invasive treatments that leave the client without any downtime are preferred over those services that leave clients with open wounds, severe redness and the typical oozing and puffiness of a CO2 or Erbium laser treatment. “Lunchtime” treatments, as they are now called, are all the rage, and they bring clients back for more because they usually require a series of treatments and are sold as a package. Microdermabrasion, non-pulsed laser treatments, light chemical peels and ultrasonic facials all fall into this range of popular and upcoming options.

LIFE LIFTING

Cosmetic surgery is moving beyond the narcissistic to a higher spiritual plane, a new kind of self-actualization. As a result, we are experiencing a new acceptance and freedom where people no longer are hiding physical changes, but are wearing them like a badge. Cosmetic procedures increased 304 percent from 1997 to 2001. Nearly 8.5 million cosmetic surgical and non-surgical procedures were performed in 2001, an increase of 48 percent compared to the previous year's total of 5.7 million. Consumers are looking for their own unique, identifiable look and flaunting things like piercings, tattoos, dyed hair and colored contact lenses.

AWAY DAYS

In the post 9/11 years, we are seeing more spas that are just outside of major cities where clients can escape for the day or the weekend. With destination travel on the decline, “Away Days” have begun to threaten destination spa growth. Interestingly, many of these establishments have partnered with day spas and are finding that they compliment each other's business. Many of these locations are an interesting mix of wellness, preventive medicine and spa services. Most offer group fitness, educational seminars, nutritional counseling and retreat services for corporations.

THE FUTURE

Growth is the future of the spa industry. Diversification, specialization and market expansion are all expected to continue in the spa industry. That means that there is room for everyone. Health clubs will all be expanding as well with more major centers housing multiple forms of spa and wellness therapies. While the market expands and consumers become savvier the market will become more large facility, chain facility and niche oriented. Spas are not going away anytime soon.

Melinda Minton is a spa consultant and health and beauty expert in Fort Collins, CO. She is the founder of The Spa Association, an organization dedicated to enriching the professional beauty industry through self-regulation, education and sound business practices.

Other Trends:

  • Clanning is all about Americans extending their “joiner” nature. Old-fashioned ways of communing, besides spas, are turning up everywhere in “super parents” and fertility drugs and clubs such as “virgin groups.” Spas are invading the group of “clans” by offering membership packages and having more soirees, classes and group events outside of the realm of regular business services and hours.
  • 69% of Americans believe in angels. Spirituality is making its way into the spa with “energy work,” guided imagery, chanting and mind/body practices that have a spiritual aspect.
  • Small indulgences such as ultradeluxe sunglasses and writing pens are all the rage. Similarly, ultra-indulgent home care and self-care products such as herbal facial steamers, ultrasonic tooth brighteners and color therapy visors are being successfully sold at spas.
  • Rituals have become more popular because they make individuals feel safe; rituals are predictable and repetitive. Rituals in the spa are also more popular with spa-goers enjoying services that tie back to ancient methodologies and cultures.
  • SOS (Save Our Society) is about creating a better world through how we purchase items. Consumers are choosing spas and wellness centers that overtly care about their community and employees.
  • Consumers want real value, whole products, communication, benefits and the truth. Organic products are more popular than ever and consumers are demanding more product information before purchasing items.