Health & wellness is not a niche category but a key aspect in the lives of the luxury consumer demographic. An APAC-wide insight report by Reuter: Intelligence, the leader in luxury insights & research, has been created in partnership with ILTM, the luxury travel business event specialists. Mindstyle: The Next Generation of Health & Wellness Travel, discovered that health & wellness is top of mind in diverse areas of daily life.
With wellness both the mindset and lifestyle, the defining word is ‘mindstyle’, which means ‘the cumulative attitudes and consistent habits of thinking that a person develops about her or his chosen lifestyle’.
Mindstyle is the ideal label to frame the wellness world – put simply: during luxury travel, your customers expect the same health & wellness experiences – or further elevated versions thereof – as they already have around them in daily lifestyle.
This excerpt looks at the evolving spa sector. Find the full report here, available for free download:
As a pillar of wellness travel, the spa industry (projected to continue growing at the rate of 5.7%) is continually innovative. Not resting on its laurels that luxury travellers are looking for simple ‘me time’, the industry presents new treatment trends each year that should soothe guests into a state of bliss and serve as a wake-up call for any hotel or resort not at the forefront of spa innovation.
Luxury travellers are well-versed in the spa experience as a regular habit, continuing the key element spread throughout this report – that their luxury travel experience must go beyond the quality they are already experiencing at home. Fortunately, the spa industry continually creates exciting new treatments, technologies and types of spa as a whole.
New Regional Themes
At home, affluent Asian spa – goers often opt for Korean bath houses or Traditional Chinese Medicine, yet when they travel to luxury resorts of a western brand, they are presented with a western ideal of an eastern spa – with Thai or at least South East Asian accents. The East – Asian or Korean – led spa experience is vastly different from a western idea of a spa.
The Turkish Hammam is another distinct option for travellers who have seen Thai and Balinese repeatedly. The Middle Eastern style of a steam bath house is seeing introduction by early adopters, such as the Anantara Palm Dubai.
Popular Alternative Treatments
- Reiki is a form of alternative treatment, also known as energy healing. Originating from Japan, Reiki practitioners use a technique called palm healing to transfer ‘universal energy’ with a goal to encourage healing.
- Sound massage incorporates sound to promote deep relaxation – a stand alone session not part of a system of treatments. Edition Hotels and The Standard use sound healing in their programs.
- CoolSculpting is a procedure that freezes ‘stubborn areas’ of fat, so that the dead fat cells are removed from the body by the lymphatic system. Cutting edge spas even use cryotherapy as part of treatments, in which guests enter a cryochamber in order to encourage cell renewal and strengthened muscles.
- Precious Metals are back, with gold, silver and diamonds said to promote deep hydration, and improve dark eyebags. The Four Seasons in London uses black diamond powder as a cleansing treatment.
- Guided Meditation with Virtual Reality is a real thing – at the Wellness Spa Movil Center they start with a questionnaire that asks guests about the flavours, scents and sounds they prefer and then with 3D glasses and aromatherapy, virtually place the guest in different locations while a therapist guides meditation.
The Amanpuri Holistic Wellness Centre houses a certified medical team from the Thanyapura group. Highlights are professional-level sport and aesthetic
ESPA partners with Joali in the Maldives, with hi-tech treatments that include extensive heat experiences and vitality pools. More than private rooms, they
have private luxury pavilions for day-long relaxation at the spa, including private ocean terraces.
Fivelements urban retreat in Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay, Yoga & Sacred Arts retreat, opens in 2019 as a centre for yoga, plant-based diet programs and
integrated wellness that focuses on “self-exploration”.
Expert voice: Dervla Louli, Founder, Compare Retreats:
“What’s happening in the luxury spa industry is three fold. On a holistic level, sound healing, tea ceremonies, energy healing, crystals, Watsu, TCM, Ayurveda and nature bathing are all becoming more mainstream as the benefits of eastern wellness practices become more widely researched and understood. The Mandarin Oriental spa in Hong Kong has been incorporating these natural therapies into their treatments and spa facilities since they opened and remain a leader in this regard today. The crystal sauna that’s located behind a hidden door in the Landmark Mandarin spa is a firm favourite too.
There is a movement towards non-invasive technological procedures such as HiFu or Cool Sculpting that’s moving spas into the MediSpa category. With so many invasive and non-invasive procedures widely available to view on Instagram, services like Botox and Fillers are being offered by doctors inside spas. Last but not least, integrated wellness centres that offer holistic and medical solutions such as traditional massages alongside IV drips are becoming more popular in both luxury spas and spa resorts.
The biggest difference we see from Compare Retreats clients in APAC is a desire to travel more frequently for shorter times, so we encourage our luxury wellness property partners to create two, three, and four-night short-break options for our clients in this region. Clients in APAC have very high expectations from luxury properties and are very demanding and savvy about finding the best deal. They often book last minute, are always looking for added value and benefits and often travel with child-minders so appreciate a property that takes this into account. When APAC customers check into properties they often book their spa treatments in advance and spas are often the first point of call for guests to book in their appointments after they check in.”
Where it was:
Massage room and body treatments
Where it is:
Wider variety of treatments and techniques
Where it’s heading:
Distinctly themed spa branding, unique regional highlights, cutting edge technology and a holistic approach bordering medical care.
Find the full report here, available for free download.