Hot Springs Initiative
Members of the Global Wellness Institute Hot Springs Initiative were asked to submit their thoughts on the trends for the industry in their respective countries for 2022. Responses were compiled into categories and counted to determine the top five key global trends.
Responses were received from countries including Australia, China, Europe (France, Switzerland, Romania, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic, UK, Poland), Japan, New Zealand, and the US.
TREND 1: Convergence of Health and Wellbeing Offerings: Hot springs are Increasingly Recognized as both Health and Lifestyle Wellness Destinations
Increasingly hot springs are being recognized and appreciated for their health and healing potential. As destinations where relaxation, escape and rejuvenation are supported by the core bathing offering, convalescence and wellbeing are a natural outcome. Thermal mineral springs are increasingly being used as a natural remedy to enhance health and improve recovery. Governments in Australia, China, France and across Europe are actively supporting the expansion of knowledge and skills in the sector. This is designed to enable health focused facilities to provide greater wellbeing offerings and for recreational wellbeing focused facilities to think more about their health and healing potential.
TREND 2: Institutional Capital, Wealthy Family Groups and International Investors are Increasingly Interested in the Hot Springs Segment of the Hotel Real Estate Market
Hot springs from across the globe will increasingly be approached by investors who are identifying the scalable proposition of this market segment that offers both a day visit attraction and significant overnight appeal. This trend was reported in US, Europe, New Zealand and Australia. It has also been prevalent in China and Japan for several years.
TREND 3: Hot Springs Plus: Connecting Visitors to Local Culture and Nature Helps Deliver Higher Yields and Longer Stays
Hot springs increasingly look to package with and promote the appeal of other activities
offered within their regions such as golf, skiing, hiking, horseback riding and biking, visiting local produce growers and wineries and much more. Hot springs lead wellness destinations focus on working with local communities and the natural environment to provide the best possible diverse guest experience. This results in extended stays, higher yields and repeat visitation for the businesses and the entire region in which they are located.
At hot springs venues this idea of adding more to and enhancing the offering has seen a surge in hot and cold bathing experiences and particularly the combination of saunas and ice-cold plunge pools.
TREND 4: Demand for Specialist Training in Hot Springs Health and Wellness Modalities Drives a Surge in Industry’s Education Sector
As the clear distinction between the learning needs of hospitality and thermal bathing wellbeing sectors becomes more apparent, educational institutions are stepping into the space to provide the specific training needed for the emerging sector. In addition to longer term courses this will also include upskilling, diversifying and enhancing employee competencies at short courses and workshops.
The massive shift in people’s work choices and willingness to change careers means sector specific training, upskilling and cross skilling of employees and potential employees have become essential. The sector’s focus on people and career development expressed through the creation of diverse education and training opportunities will enable it to attract the passionate, values driven and purpose focused people the industry wants and needs.
This surge in the industry education and the need for knowledge and learning has seen a growth in evidence-based university research looking at the health and wellness efficacy of hot springs. This growing research trend is happening in China, Europe and Australia, has been on-going in Japan and is emerging in the United States.
TREND 5: Local Populations Discovering Hot Springs as Accessible Lifestyle Wellness Destinations
Having been trapped within the COVID bubble for more than two years communities around hot springs facilities are increasingly understanding the benefits they offer at a relatively low price. People want to travel less distances and are making travel decisions at the last minute. In Japan this is known as “Micro-tourism”’ with visitors not travelling much more than one hour from their homes.