4 key takeaways from the Global Wellness Summit 2018
The Global Wellness Summit, held at Technogym Village in Cesena, Italy, brought together 600 experts from the fields of wellness to discuss the key trends shaping the beauty, spa, health, wellness and nutrition markets.
The conference, which take place across three days (October 5–8), held a wide variety of discussions, including raising capital from the right people, real wellness in the hospitality sector, personalisation in food and China’s impact on wellness tourism.
Here’s the four wellness trends discussed at the summit that you need to know about:
1. Investment is good if it’s aligned with your values
The topic of “How to attract investment, scale and make serious money” for day spas, hotel spas and resorts was a hot panel discussion on the first day of the summit and it raised some interesting questions that went further than how to secure an investor.
The panel put a lot of emphasis on the importance of finding the right investor, with Susan Docherty, chief executive of Canyon Ranch, US, stating: “Too many founders focus on the cheque book. What you want is to find an investor who shares your values – if they don’t than it’s a deal breaker. Plus, remember, it’s hard to keep running a company when you’re tapped out because of the fundraising, so you need people you can trust.”
Joshua McCarter, principal, strategic operations at KSL Capital Partners, US, who did three rounds of capital fundraising for his company agreed, adding: “What matters most is not the company you chose, but the person at the company you chose. You need someone who believes in your approach and way of life, and who can pull your company forward to the vision you have of it in 12 to 18 months’ time.”
2. Wellness in the hospitality sector needs to deliver a strong message
How can we shape the future business of wellness and wellbeing in hospitality and travel was a hot roundtable discussion on day two of the summit and moderated by Mia Kyricos, SVP and global head of wellbeing at Hyatt Hotels.
Heated topics such as can large global hotel groups do wellness well or do they just have great ideas that aren’t exercised well and is technology the greatest threat to our wellbeing right now were discussed. The panel agreed that hotels can deliver wellness well but it’s more challenging because the guest is only on site for a limited amount of time – on average one night, so it’s about delivering an experience that stays with them.
The fact that many hotels also don’t factor spa facilities into the spa’s ROI, just treatments, was also discussed, with many panellists agreeing that this measurement is flawed unless it encompasses everything. The overarching message was that facilities deliver an experience and revenue as much as treatments and all should be included on figures around return on investement.
The panel included the likes of Neil Jacobs, CEO of Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas; Jeremy McCarthy, group director, spa and wellness, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, Hong Kong; Lindsay Madden-Nadeau, global director, wellbeing, AccorHotels, UAE; Teresa Flyger, director, global brand wellness, Hilton Wellness, US; and more.
3. China is a big player in wellness and tourism
Catherine Feliciano-Chon, founder and manager director of CatchOn & Company, Hong Kong, discussed the impact China is having on the spa and travel markets. Total spending by Chinese tourists visiting other countries is now valued at $261 billion, more than US tourists at $124bn. However, this figure is pretty impressive given that only 7% of Chinese citizens have a passport – 73 million are female and 57 million male.
The top five most visited destinations by Chinese tourists are: Thailand, Japan, Singapore, Vietnam and Indonesia. In the top 20 destinations, many locations are known for their golf resorts and this is because “fitness and sport are now viewed as the new real luxury,” said Feliciano-Chon.
When it comes to the spa market in China it’s highly competitive, with 39% of new openings vs 34% closures, Feliciano-Chon told us. High labour costs, lower than expected revenue and difficulty in recruitment are all key factors in the high closure rate.
The value of China’s beauty and spa market currently stands at:
- Beauty and body shaping – $52.6bn
- Medical beauty – $26.3bn
- Nail and eyelash treatments – $17.5bn
- Hotel and resort spas – $3.3bn
4. Personalisation in food
Nutrition was high on the agenda this year with more consumers becoming aware of the impact diet can have on their physical and mental health, mood and overall wellbeing. There were many discussions on the topic, including “Food. It just got personal” with Neil Grimmer, founder and CEO of Habit.
Grimmer discussed a future where consumers will have such a deep understanding of their digestive health thanks to technology that they will be able to walk into a supermarket and immediately know what foods are right for them individually. “What can be more personal than food – it brings us together,” said Grimmer. “There’s a saying, ‘food is like medicine and medicine is like food’, but I want to adapt that to ‘precision food is like medicine and precision medicine is like food’.”
David Bosshart, CEO of Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute in Switzerland, was also a key note speaker on nutrition, exploring digestive wellness, why there’s an overreliance on “athletic eating” aka functionalised food; and the impact social media has on what we eat – that it needs to look good in a photo for us to have it, for example, naming the symmetric meal trend.
Image: ©GWS 2018