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Spa Trends

by Patty Monteson, ISHC and Judy Singer, ISHC
Lodging, May, 1999

Men enjoy the "rest and relaxation" and "exercising and getting fit" offered by spas. Women, on the other hand, enjoy "being pampered," closely followed by "rest and relaxation." These are among the findings of a national survey of 2,767 spa users from 36 spas by Pompano Beach, Florida-based spa consulting firm, Health Fitness Dynamics.

It seems the historic concepts of the male athletic club - with exercise room, steam room, and 'rub-downs' - still appeal to today's male. For example, 60 percent of men in the study go to the spa to have a massage and 43 percent go to exercise.

When asked why they go to spas, 41 percent of men say they visit when they are stressed. However, 26 percent say they visit when they "feel like splurging" (compared to 45 percent of women), and only 19 percent "to take care of [themselves] " versus 39 percent of women.

Female spa-goers comprise 74 percent of 2,332 people who use a spa while staying at a resort, an increase of 5 percent since HFD s 1992 study. Conversely, male attendance decreased by 8 percent. Perhaps men are enjoying other amenities at the resort. Or, perhaps spas are focusing their message on the female market instead of on the male and couples market.

The study also examines the needs, interests, and benefits women look for in spas during different ages. It finds that 59 percent of women under 30 years of age go to a spa at a resort when they are stressed, compared to 33 percent of those over 60. Visiting spas to exercise and get fit is important to 34 percent of women over 60, versus 20 percent of those under 30. Going to a spa at a resort when one feels like "splurging" is the reason for 48 percent of the younger women, compared to 26 percent for their older counterparts.

When asked if they would choose one resort over another because of the spa, 82 percent of women and 78 percent of men respond with a "yes."

After using a resort spa, males do not seem to value the experience as much as women. Thirty percent say they want to return afterwards, versus 50 percent of women. In some cases, this may mean the spa did not deliver its promise in terms of guest service, creating a wonderful experience, having a well-maintained and well-staffed spa, or being "male-friendly."

Many Americans are integrating spa life in their activities at home. Therefore, resorts have a prime opportunity to meet the needs of guests. It is important not only to get people in the door with your spa, but also to understand the nuances of the market so that men and women will want to return to the spa during their visit and then tell their friends about the experience. Top

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Health Fitness Dynamics, Inc.
1305 N.E. 23rd Avenue, Suite 2, Pompano Beach, Florida, U.S.A. 33062
Phone: 954-942-0049 - Fax: 954-941-0854
E-MAIL: hfd@hfdspa.com