McLean Robbins' Five Favorite Spa Trends of 2010
This Luxist writer has spent more than her fair share of time in the spa - working hard to provide readers with the best information possible, naturally. A combination of exploration and research (plus a week at the International Spa Association's annual conference) has yielded the following favorite five spa trends of 2010:
Mini Treatments Rule
Spa-goers are busy and budget conscious. Booking mini-treatments, whether in "sample packs" of several different experiences or single-service models, allow visitors to experience a variety of services without blowing their budget. Since many spas offer extra amenities, like steam rooms, saunas and relaxation areas, a single service can often allow visitors to spa "all day" at a low base cost. These quick treatments have also become popular lunchtime breaks, where working women (and men) can escape for a pick-me-up facial, Botox treatment or shoulder massage and get back into the workday without missing a beat.
Natural, eco-friendly and "green" treatments are growing increasingly popular among consumers. After all, they already shop at Whole Foods and Trader Joes, recycle, and drive hybrid cars -- why shouldn't the environmental consciousness translate into their spa routine? Paraben-free and organic products have exploded in the marketplace. Salt-based treatments, either in the form of scrubs or ultra-modern detox rooms made of salt blocks have also risen strongly in popularity.
The med-spa has gone mainstream, and even "regular" spas are offering treatments like Endermologie and laser hair removal. Some argue that the recession has spurred spa-goers to seek results from what was once a luxury, but others point towards the increasing education of consumers and advancement of technologies and products to spur a consumer movement towards the results rather than relaxation-oriented treatment. No longer is it simply enough to feel pampered - spa-goers want to emerge from their afternoon feeling skinnier, younger and of course, hair and wrinkle free (in all the right places).
Spa Where You Are
Another movement affected partially by the recession, the mega spas of yesteryear are dwindling. Spas have become increasingly focused on treatments rather than size and are moving towards offering rooms that can be converted for multiple needs (facials, massages, and body wraps all in one room) as well as in-room treatments at resorts and hotels. Chains like Massage Envy have also done extremely well by offering a volume discount, ease of access service model and no-frills aesthetic.
Branded Experiences and Local Immersion
Spas are headed in one of two directions. Many have opted to adopt the "Starbucks" mentality, offering a consistent branded experience, either in product lines or treatment menus, comforting consumers with the idea that they can get the same service level across the globe. Other spas have moved in the opposite direction and embraced a farm-to-table approach and are incorporating the natural bounty of their land, incorporating local herbs, salts, sands and muds into their treatments, while others have moved toward using only natural products and oils in their product offerings.