Consulting Best Practices Initiative Trends
TREND 1: Shifting Treatment Menus
Many spa and wellness businesses have significantly streamlined their treatment menus, often due to either staffing or supply shortages, and many of these changes are becoming the norm. Menus are shifting to digital presentations through QR codes, providing for rapid editing of items and prices, and the option of presenting treatments specific to staff skill set and licensing. Dynamic availability, as well as dynamic pricing, will be seen more frequently at high-demand times in an effort to maximize returns.
TREND 2: Design Trends: Communal, Flexible & Outdoor
Communal spaces are definitely trending. Spa experiences with friends, the opportunity to meet new people, and educational experiences are becoming more important. Spaces that are robust and provide self-catered options can also warrant a facility fee, generating revenue and allowing the serving of guests even if treatment rooms are booked, which eases demand on staffing. In countries with favorable weather conditions, we see the continued trend of blending nature and therapy. This includes options such as outdoor aqua hydrotherapy experiences & vitality pools, rain showers, reflexology pebble paths, forest bathing, meditation decks and pause areas, and the incorporation of botanical elements. Treatment pods constructed outdoors can also help to increase occupancy when traditional rooms are at full capacity.
TREND 3: Energy Medicine
A very important trend that we see gaining traction in the wellness field is the use and implementation of energy medicine methodologies to improve health. Whether sound and vibration therapies, quantum healing, tuning fork balance, biofields reading, voice printing, or any other therapies, there is a merge with ancestral medicine energy therapies including reiki, shamanic healing and aura field cleansing, but from the bioenergetics and biofield perspective.
TREND 4: Transformational Wellness
A “transformational” treatment is regarded as “successful” if it at least ignites some kind of change in the consumer. In the best-case scenario, a guest would leave a wellness session (or length of stay) transformed in some way, which would be very personal and different for each person. Transformational wellness is more of a process, accomplished in increments, rather than a singular treatment or product.
TREND 5: Digital Literacy
Software innovations used in the pandemic to enable contactless interactions will become routine parts of doing business. Spa clients are being sent forms electronically ahead of their visit, and check-in, check-out and personal preferences can be collected via mobile device. Incident reports, treatment protocols, internal documentation, MSDS sheets and more will be stored in the cloud. Consultants must be prepared to provide guidance to clients in systematizing these continued shifts away from paper.
TREND 6: Consulting Expectations
One side-effect of a rapidly shifting business landscape is the sometime optimistic expectations clients have from consulting engagements, as well as from their business. Envisioned revenue targets may therefore lead to unrealistic goals or timelines of consulting engagement deliverables that are not practical. Additionally, the recent accelerated pace of change has resulted in some businesses moving into reactive modes, rather than sticking to well-thought-out business plans. We believe that when the dust settles there will be some sorting out and realignment work to regain focus and reexamine core company values.
TREND 1: Specialization of Consultants in Specific Silos
This is especially true for larger development projects, which may have a consultant who handles medical spa aspects, another for the overall design, and someone else focused on operations, for instance. Consultants may also focus on specific silos, including luxury yachts, casinos, wellness destinations and outdoor wellness.
TREND 2: Collaboration with Other Consultants Is a Byproduct of the Aforementioned Silos
As consultants become more specialized and developers attempt to mitigate risk and control costs, multiple consultants may be working together on different aspects. As banks have tightened financing, there is a bigger emphasis on rapid paths to profitability and avoiding over-capitalization on developments.
TREND 3: Remote Consulting
As with all industries, the pandemic greatly increased instances of remote consulting; meetings over Zoom between consultants, designers, architects and owners that used to take place in person, but also design collaborations done through digital means in real time; Facetime walk-throughs of construction sites, and even design packages that don’t include site visits. Some of these work fairly well and are obviously more cost-effective.
TREND 4: Coaching Retainers
Existing spas are relying more on coaching retainers; regularly scheduled digital or telephone meetings amongst consultants, owners and management teams, helping to ensure focus and maximize performance during turbulent times.
TREND 5: General Spa & Wellness Development Trends that Consultants Are Seeing
- New spas are being designed with more social spaces and social treatments, including outdoor spaces that have been climatized
- Biophilia and natural resources incorporated into the design, as well as sustainability features in both front and back of the house
- Holistic health components such as spaces for meditation or alternative therapies
- Space is a necessity, but with ROI in mind
- Increased focus on specialties such as lighting consultants to ensure proper lighting and controls are being utilized in treatment spaces and lounges, and incorporation of landscaping professionals as spas and wellness businesses utilize more outside space
- Durable textiles and surfaces that can be easily and continually sanitized and cleaned
- Medical wellness: Spas are beginning to offer cutting-edge treatments such as PEMF, hyperbaric chambers, IV infusion therapy, hypnotherapy, nutritional counseling and hydrogen therapy, some of which require medical specialists and some which are equipment-based.
- Mental wellness: A big trend both in and out of spas, we are seeing spas provide counseling professionals as well as meditative and calming treatments, including Somadome meditation pods, Vibroacoustic Electromagnetic and Infrared Therapy (VEMI), and sound healing.
- Increased activities/workshops /events that attract members and clients as well as the community at-large
- Immune-supporting products and treatments
- DNA and quantitative testing for nutritional and anti-aging treatments
- Resort spas with healthy food and nutrition woven throughout the experience
- Continued interest from operators in low-touch equipment and treatment options
- Wellness aspects are being infused throughout properties, whether or not they’re considered a wellness destination
- Likely a side effect of the increased scrutiny on expenses and capital spending, vendors are coming to market better equipped with information such as the ROI on equipment
- Policies and protocols around safety and sanitation for guest reassurance will continue to be featured
- Attention on employee wellbeing, such as the design of the back of house space and availability of health and wellness testing and resources