During the fair, there is an excellent one-day spa conference, which is held far from the hubbub of the show floor. Approximately 100 attendees spent the day listening to panels and keynotes from a variety of speakers on current topics. This year, Andrew Gibson, VP of Well-Being, Luxury Brands for AccorHotels, kicked off the conference with a discussion of current trends, specifically for hotel spas. Gibson stated that the main drivers of change in our industry are financial awareness, the fitness renaissance, guest demand, and societal attitudes toward health. His list of trends is as follows:
- Wellness is the new word for spa & fitness in hotels.
- Wellness is impacting spa & fitness design, with guest rooms becoming multi-use, and some rooms being fitted with wellness amenities and/or proximity to the spa, for a higher rate.
- Hotel gyms are becoming more like health clubs, with fun activities and social elements.
- Technology & gaming are affecting the deployment of human resources and equipment design.
- Beauty regimes are involving more new technology and devices including HydraFacial, body sculpting, skin mapping and oxygen facials.
A panel on Workplace Wellness discussed methods in which spas and hotels are addressing this issue for their staffs. Beyond the typical provision of healthy meals and yoga classes, some of the properties have organized running or soccer teams for their staff members, incorporated design that includes an abundance of natural light, provided vegan meals, and encouraged group participation in community volunteerism activities. Another panel—Technology in Spas—discussed how the latest innovations are working in spas. A third panel tackled the topic of Successful Spa Expansion; as you might expect, this devolved into a discussion of the global issue of therapist and manager supply, which most spa and hotel businesses cite as a leading challenge in growing their businesses.
Neil Jacobs, CEO of the rapidly expanding Six Senses Resorts & Spas, delivered a keynote address about how his brand is evolving and their process of integrating wellness into daily hotel operations. The company goes so far as to make their own beds & linens, has their own lighting company, and grows their own herbs in onsite gardens, even in their new property which will open in New York City in 2018. I was the second keynote speaker, and spoke to the crowd about Integrating Wellness Into Spa, focusing on both the myriad opportunities but also the challenges of incorporating new modalities and a wider variety of licensing and equipment requirements, along with an expanded staff.
The Asia Spa Awards run concurrently with Cosmoprof Asia. Started by AsiaSpa Magazine 12 years ago, the annual awards were envisioned to recognize the innovation and dynamic growth of the region’s spas and now include 24 award categories. A who’s who of spa leadership in the Asia Pac region gathered at the W Hotel in Kowloon to network and have fun while enjoying cocktails, passed hors d’oeuvres, and deluxe goodie bags, and to applaud the winners as they were announced. A complete list of the winners is available here; some are brands and resorts you will no doubt have heard of, while others are up and coming in the spa world, and you will be hearing of them soon!
– by Lisa Starr