The 2012 Post-Mortem of the Spa Industry


Last month, we shared some insights about the trends that the spa industry consolidated in 2012. We would like to welcome 2013 by taking a look at the way our industry evolved last year. In particular, we would like to focus on the three trends that we saw unfold in 2012 and will continue to rise within the spa and wellness fields during the next 12 months.

Taking as a source of inspiration some of the reflections provided by Susie Ellis, President of Spa Finder Wellness, in her blog, this article discusses the role that medical evidence for spa and wellness treatments, family-based services and coaching played in 2012, and will continue to play in 2013, in the evolution of the spa industry. Let’s take a closer look.


Medical Evidence for Spa Treatments

Since the launch of, the world’s first portal providing medical evidence for various spa and wellness treatments, our industry has been embracing transparency as an ideal channel to get closer to the health industry. This initiative has, in fact, allowed our industry to take a huge leap forward, especially in 2012.

Moreover, the transparency provided by medical evidence supporting spa and wellness therapies highlights the prevention-related benefits our services can bring to the health industry.

As a result of this increasing awareness, there is already solid evidence of the ties our industry has forged with the health industry. For example, a survey mentioned by Susie Ellis found “that of the 41 million Americans that use mind-body therapies like yoga or Tai Chi, 6.4 million are now doing them because they were “prescribed” by their medical provider.”


A Family Affair

The idea that spas and wellness centres are places for relaxing far away from children is getting more and more obsolete by the day. As stated by Susie Ellis, this trend is no longer occasional: “Whole families are spa-ing together and more spas are finding creative ways to welcome the entire clan.”

One of the main reasons behind the current popularity of this concept is childhood obesity. In fact, more and more parents want their kids to embrace healthy lifestyles. Similarly, the broad connection that exists today between spas and wellness has been responsible for consolidating this trend.

Innovation has played a significant role in family-based services. They can include everything from ice cream pedicures and spa parties for teens to yoga programmes using music and puppets and massages for kids with healthy snacks. These kinds of services will continue to attract more families to spas and wellness centres. As stated by Susie Ellis, “this phenomenon will foster entire new generations of people with sophisticated spa, wellness and beauty habits.”



With an increasing ageing baby boomer population, everyone wants to look well and feel well. And the current economic climate has only brought that out more: The need for people to feel well and look good.

We believe the preventive focus offered by most spa and wellness treatments will help our industry to further explore this business opportunity especially in terms of health coaching. However, in order to succeed we need to redefine our interactions with our consumer. We need to be able to “establish more personal, post-visit connections with clients that could actually help sustain the changes.” Similarly, coaching networks are just getting started and greater specialization is still in the early stage. That said, we think 2013 will see a significant progress in this area.

As we have discussed, medical evidence, family packages and coaching played a big role in the evolution of the spa industry in 2012 and will continue to do so in 2013. We believe these concepts are currently “trendy” because of our industry’s own desire to embrace and encourage transparency, prevention, innovation and new synergies with the health field. If we can embrace all this, we are sure 2013 will be a fruitful year for the spa and wellness industries.

By Sonal

Sonal Uberoi creates and delivers smarter spas around the world. Spas and hotel groups hire Sonal to help them design, set up and manage their wellness businesses. Her finance background and worldwide operations experience in the spa, wellness and hospitality sectors make Sonal the go-to expert for business optimisation solutions. Connect with Sonal on LinkedIn

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