Since Spabreaks.com launched in 2008, the spa industry has changed phenomenally, and it’s continuing to change at a rate of knots. The perception, the opportunity, the offering is all a much more exciting, interesting and diverse place than it has every been, and it’s all thanks to the people who work hard within it.
Well, it would be wrong to say that we never get to test the merchandise, but no, definitely not. It’s hard work making sure other people can relax and unwind, just ask Spabreaks.com’s product managers Danielle and Sarah!
“We’re always in spas, but it’s very rarely for the purpose of having a treatment. Our jobs are lovely jobs and it’s a beautiful industry, but there’s a lot involved – working with spas to tailor experiences for customer requirements, looking after our relationships with more than 800 spas in the UK and overseas. Anyone who works in the spa industry works hard.”
The biggest thing about the spa industry though, that many may not realise, is how much it’s changed in the last eight years alone. From changing the perception of the industry (that it’s for women with too much money and too much time on their hands), to increasing its accessibility, variety and the options available, it’s been a big decade and it’s not over yet.
From the spa perspective, Product Manager Danielle says, “it’s grown a lot for starters! There was this idea once upon a time that it was a rich person’s thing and a girl’s thing. Now it’s very different, you can go on a spa day for £35, people go with their friends, boyfriends and men are starting to go by themselves as well. I think that’s something that will continue to change in the coming years.”
Danielle also points out that what the spas offer has changed a lot, partially in response to customer demand and partially because they too have grown to understand the consumer better. For example, short, 25-minute treatments are becoming less widely available as consumers start to understand what they want from their spa experience, and realise the significant benefit of investing in a 50-minute treatment.
People understand it and are more willing to spend a little more to have a longer treatment because they understand the idea behind it. “The important thing is that the spas are moving to a position where they can cater to anyone,” says Danielle. “You can go with a friend, treat your mum or treat yourself after a hard week. It’s about variety.”
It’s a point that supported by Senior Product Manager Sarah, who also thinks that the ease with which you can travel to a UK spa rather than the rigmarole of passports and flights for travelling overseas accounts for some of the popularity of short UK spa breaks. That, and perhaps some of the uncertainty of Brexit in more recent months.
Sarah also notes the importance of cultural trends. Halloween has become bigger than ever for example, and thematic and seasonal spa treatments that are beautifully packaged are becoming more widely available and especially popular – for good reason!
As Danielle says, “It’s always interesting to see what’s popular in America, because within a couple of years it comes to the UK as well; the next big thing is babyshower spa breaks.”
“Spas are becoming more creative,” she continues. “Five years ago it was just a ‘spa day’ now it’s themed treatments and the importance of the whole experience. It’s more bespoke, and it’s about offering something different.”
From the customer perspective much has changed as well: “more people understand the spa industry and want to access it than ever before. As a result, many are keen to do an overnight break or stay longer. Before, people wanted a spa day and leave it at that. Now two-night breaks are our fastest growing category when it comes to popularity. I think people are really starting to understand the benefits of a spa break, whether it’s fun away with friends or an intense health retreat.”
As a society we have a greater understanding of wellbeing. That it’s not just about slogging away in the gym, but about having time out on a regular basis. “I think a spa break for a couple of days is a lot more accessible for people than longer holidays. If you’re a couple or a group of mummy friends for example, it’s hard to ask someone to look after the kids for a long holiday, but it’s more feasible if you’re having one or two nights away and have it as your adult time together.
Danielle predicts that there will be an increasing move away from 25-minute treatments in order to give customers a really beneficial experience, as well as the increasing popularity of seasonal themed spa breaks.
Sarah agrees, adding that babyshowers are definitely on the increase, as well as the rapidly growing market for two night breaks. In particular, she predicts this now that the spa market in Ireland as been opened up at Spabreaks.com, and it has so much to offer.
One thing’s for certain, the world of spa may well be pretty, but it’s certainly not fluffy, and whatever happens, it’s an exciting place to be, for all of us.
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