Mia Mackman, founder and president of the Arizona Spa & Wellness Association, on why and how to incorporate technology into your spa
As the spa and wellness market continues to expand, amidst a global emphasis on wellbeing and healthy living, an open mindset has become vital to meeting the demands of a growing industry serving a rapidly evolving customer base.
The new demographic of educated consumers with the latest information about industry trends and advancements at their fingertips has made it more essential than ever to be able to innovate and adapt.
Technology has long been a part of health research. And in the same way that cosmetic laser services, for example, once pioneered developments in spa treatments and are now conveniently accessible, today’s advanced machinery will soon give way to tomorrow’s technological breakthroughs.
For instance, over the last 20 years, continued development of cosmetic laser technology has led to a variety of new therapies utilising Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs), a form of light therapy that has proven to significantly improve circulation and range of motion while reducing pain and inflammation.
Finding the right fit
The means to measure and provide advanced services are becoming more readily available, not only as a result of rising consumer demand for innovative offerings, but also due to the speed at which new technology itself is developed and shared globally. Crowdfunding, collaborative design and information technology are three influences that are shortening the development cycle and putting ideas into the hands of the consumer faster than ever.
We are today seeing incredible shifts and strides in prevention, personalised wellness and healthcare; innovations that are quickly redefining the way we approach wellbeing. One such development is the advancement of multisensory technologies. These not only support the holistic condition of the body but also provide rich experiences incorporating light, colour and often music.
Above: Germany's Toskanaworld, comprising a group of thermal baths and wellness centres, where the Liquid Sound concept incorporates the use of colours and an underwater sound system
They also show tremendous health benefits, both when used independently and in combination. From LEDs, microcurrent and oxygen infusions to immersion tanks and colour inspired relaxation lounges; spa and wellness concepts are changing dramatically.
Different spas naturally have different repertories, budgets and markets. For example, day spas have a unique customer advantage, based on serving a local market that allows them to foster a sense of community and secure a high percentage of return customers. Resort spas, meanwhile, serve a more transient market.
However, the move to incorporating wellness technology will play a critical role for both types of spas, when it comes to remaining competitive in a market that is shifting towards inclusive wellness providers. But it is important to ensure that the technology you choose to invest in is the right fit for your marketplace and your client demographic.
As with any new offering, your staff must embrace and understand the value of it, if you hope to succeed in providing a unique experience. Just as important, however, is having a well-developed plan that strategically addresses the business environment.
You need to look at your customer base, the likely response of your competitors to the introduction of new technology in your spa, the challenges the business might face in implementing it and the organisation’s ability to address and adapt to those challenges. Spas should not implement new technology just for the sake of it, but because it helps them achieve their business goals.
Above: The i-sopod floatation tank from London-bsaed Floatworks; incorporating underwater acoustics and colour therapy LED lighting
Spas should partner with suppliers that help and support them, through measures such as leasing, trade-in programmes, collaborative development and other shared value offerings. Embracing new technology with the backing provided by a long-term partnership with a trusted company is a strong boost to the confidence of a business.
The use of technology in spas is not merely a trend; it represents a strong segment of the spa, wellness and healthcare industries of the future and training and educating employees on the benefits of introducing it will soon become critical. The key to embracing technology successfully in your spa will be to seamlessly marry it with health, wellbeing, care and relaxation.