By Trent Munday, Senior Vice President, Mandara Spa
There is still a belief that Hotel Spas should be a place of low-tech, not high tech. The spa is seen as the place to disconnect from technology and reconnect with ourselves. Digital Detox seems to be the direction of most Hotel Spas. This approach probably makes sense in a world where spas are a place for pampering and relaxation.
However, as many Hotel Spas are finding, simply offering pampering is not enough anymore. Hotel Spas need to evolve and offer something more. And this is where technology can and will make a difference.
If Hotel Spas are to start offering more services aligned with promoting health and wellness, technology will play a key role. Advances in the technology around diagnostics in particular make them far more practical today for Hotel Spas. This will allow Hotel Spas to be a safe place for measuring and monitoring your overall health and wellness.
Anti-Aging in Hotel Spas has really been the domain of the skincare companies. Up until now, the focus of the guests and therefore the spas has been on more immediate results and largely focussed on beauty. Longevity is not something that I have seen any focus on in Hotel Spas thus far.
However, as we move towards more awareness around Healthy Aging as opposed to Anti-Aging, then Longevity will also become part of the discussion. People in general are now more aware of the impact that their lifestyle will have on the speed and quality by which their bodies will age. Indeed, it is this awareness that is driving the Wellness movement. And this is where Hotel Spas can absolutely play a role. As I wrote in my free eBook Organisational Face of Wellness*, we have the opportunity to help guide our guests into the Wonderful World of Wellness.
But Hotel Spas definitely face a challenge to remain relevant in today’s rapidly changing world. If we are just offering a relaxing massage or a pampering facial, that’s unlikely to be enough. Haptic Clothing, embedded with sensors and stimulators, is available in the market today and offers a glimpse at what the near future could offer in the way of Massage Clothing. If you can wear a shirt which senses your tension and stimulates the relevant muscles to help you relax, will you still need to go to the spa for a massage? No. Technological advances in At-Home devices mean it won’t be long before you can do perform your own high-quality facial in the comfort of your own home or hotel room. Once again, no need for a visit to the spa.
Hotel Spas need to evolve. I believe that the Hotel Spa of Tomorrow will need to be radically different from what we see today. Not every spa will look and feel the same or offer the same types of services. In one hotel, the spa may feel more like an Airport Spa, with a focus on express treatments and services. In another hotel, the spa might look more like a retail store, selling a wide range of products and offering spa treatments in rooms at the rear of the store. These would be totally different experiences, apart from maybe a 20% similarity in terms of the services offered. I have written about this in my free eBook Tomorrow Spa – The Future of Hotel Spas*.