Consulting Best Practices Initiative

2021 Trends

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