TagsIndustry Trends, Jenny Lo
There’s more to current spa trends than medical tourism, the wellness movement, alternative therapies, cosmeceuticals and sustainability. We outline the game changers that will have a significant impact on spas:
Neuroscience – the mind is one the remaining frontiers and new studies continue to yield interesting findings that could prove the efficacy of spa treatments. Recent studies used EEGs and MRIs to visibly map and measure emotions and intangible states-of-mind, from optimism and spirituality to happiness and memory. If researchers apply these methods to spa and wellness therapies, the findings could validate the treatments and finally, compellingly link together ‘body, mind and spirit’?
Robotics — Can they replace therapists? It’s a rather unsettling notion, but it may not be so farfetched. Machines are outsmarting man thanks to the “singularity” trend where technologies like robotics, nanotechnology, brain-computer interfaces and artificial intelligence are converging. Human skills and functions are radically being replaced by formulas and algorithms. It would be interesting to debate our future roles in spas. As New York Times writer Thomas Friedman said in a talk recently, “the future is for creative creators; those who can continually re-invent their jobs roles in a constantly shifting world.”
Food – Taste is arguably the most under-engaged sense in the spa experience. Spa cuisine, for all its creativity, leaves a lot to be desired. Yet food is the most talked about and shared topic in cyberspace with movements like “farm to table”, slow food, locavore, sustainability and provenance currently top of mind. Looking ahead, food will increasingly be at the crossroads of science, technology, and environmental issues as we look for new sources of nutrition. Expect trends like insect cuisine because of its high nutritional value yet low impact on the environment (‘Don’t do drugs. Eat bugs!’), food as medicine, and rooftop farming in urban centers becoming more mainstream.
Aging Global Population – A decade ago, 40 was the new 30. Today, 50 is the new 30. We’re living longer, aging slower, and looking better, and while aging baby boomers triggered the modern day spa boom, their needs are eclipsing what spas and wellness offer today. A significant percentage of the population in developed and developing countries will be part of the greying market in the coming decades. This will have huge implications on how spas create and market their wares, on potential new product categories, fitness and destination marketing. This goes beyond conventional “anti-aging” thinking. It’s about preventive health and longevity programs, quality-of-life offerings (think sex and sports therapies) for the over 60 set. The silver set could very well be the silver bullet of future spas.
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