Mike Bruggeman on new trends and challenges for spa operators
According to the Global Wellness Institute, Asia-Pacific had the greatest number of spas opened from 2013 to 2015, with China contributing US$15,721.6 million in spa revenues in 2015 – second only to the US – putting it in second place in overall ranking of the top 20 markets. With such tremendous growth comes new challenges, and Mike Bruggeman, chair of the Beauty Initiative, Global Wellness Institute, believes Asia spa and wellness product and service providers face a unique challenge.
“Today’s wellness tourist is seeking authentic experiences that are culturally-relevant and historically-grounded. Rather than viewing Asia as a homogenous whole, it will be important that each country develops a unique voice in leveraging what I call an indigenous identity,” he says, adding that the health and wellness issues of today must also be considered in finding this unique voice and creating bespoke treatments.
Many of these wellness issues, such as depression and anxiety, are mental health-related. “I believe the mental wellness trend is the new frontier for spas and wellness service providers,” says Bruggeman, who cites a recent article in Scientific American which states that depression in the US costs $210 billion per year. “And this is only one mental health concern,” he continues. “These challenges present a significant opportunity for contemporary and relevant spa and wellness product and service development.”
Spas have to provide evidence-based treatments that respond to these growing demands in order to stay competitive. “The changing demographic of the spa-goer requires spas to make a clear link between product and services offerings and wellness outcomes,” he says. “Those who make the leap are powerfully enabled to meet the health and wellness needs of today’s hyper-connected consumer, but only when there is a realisation that consumption patterns look different for baby boomer versus millennials.”
By offering treatments that have evidence-based benefits and provide a sense of place, local cultural traditions and history, Bruggeman believes spas can not only “become the new venues for social change in public health outcomes, but also social change as incubators of evolved human consciousness”.
Join Bruggeman and other industry experts at this year’s Cosmoprof Asia Spa Conference on November 15–16 to learn about new trends, happenings on the world stage and highlights from the Global Wellness Institute’s 2017 Global Beauty Meets Wellness roundtable discussion. Don’t forget to visit the new dedicated Wellness & Spa zone for the latest beauty products, equipment and furniture for spas at Hall 3F of Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre.
Writer Véronique Lo, AsiaSpa