The actual state of spa travel


Just like any other economic field, the spa industry was also forced to deal with the consequences and effects of the global financial crisis. In spite of this, a recent report published by SpaFinder Wellness, one of the top spa and wellness media and marketing companies in the world, found out our industry is growing healthy. The following are some of the most important findings of the 2012 State of Spa Travel report. Let’s take a look.


Overview of the Report

This is the sixth year SpaFinder Wellness publishes its State of Spa Travel report, an annual survey that provides useful insights regarding the health and defining trends surrounding the spa industry. The 2012 State of Spa Travel, which was completed in the fourth quarter of 2012, was carried out by more than 160 agents all over the world.

In order to better understand the findings of this survey, it is important to know how this report uses the term ‘spa travel.’ According to SpaFinder Wellness, spa travel represents “all bookings for travel/vacations/packages with a strong spa component.”


Main Findings

The first most important finding is that our industry is growing healthily. This good news was supported by nearly 70% of the agents involved in this project. A significant increase if compared with the previous year when only 37% of the agents reported growth in the number of clients choosing spa travel.

Such a significant increase was propelled by the high-end of the market. According to SpaFinder Wellness, “the majority of bookings now fall above $300-a-night, up significantly from 2009-2011, when only 25-40 percent fell in that range.”

Geographically speaking, the Mexico/Caribbean region “was the number one global spa travel destination in 2012” moving ahead of the 2010 and 2011 leader, North America. Similarly, the Baby Boomer generation (people aged 48-67) remains the most important segment of the spa travel business. However, it is important to note the increasing interest of younger generations in spa/wellness travel. According to the report, “31 percent of agents pegged the younger, 26-45 age group as now most likely to book spa vacations.”

Additional findings include the ongoing popularity of spa discounting, the strong booking of spa travel through agents, and the dividing opinions regarding the impact that ‘Groupon’-like sites have had on travel agents’ business.


A Health Conscious Traveller

Besides the global economic rebound, this healthy growth is tightly related to the emergence of a ‘new’ customer who is actively looking for health/wellness travel options. “With more than two-thirds of agents reporting that people are now more interested in travelling to spas specifically for programmes like stress-reduction, fitness, and weight loss, the results are a clear indication that more travellers are deciding they simply can’t afford exhausting, unhealthy vacations,” stated Susie Ellis, President of SpaFinder.

Similarly, the 2012 State of Spa Travel report highlights wellness-focused spa travel as one of the hottest trends in the spa industry. We believe this and other similar trends will continue to grow towards the future. The recent findings we shared here are good news for our industry. If we continue to shape our services around health and wellness with a preventive and innovative approach, our industry will be able to flourish for years to come.

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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