We selected some inspiring predictions for the 2021 post-pandemic scenario, these are trends that suggest services and investment options that can put your Spa at the forefront.
Considering many information sources, institutes and associations linked to the wellness industry, as the Global Wellness Institute trend report “The Future of Wellness” and the Ernst & Young report “Future Consumer Index: How COVID-19 is changing consumer behaviors“, curated by its consultants, Ambery Spa Advisors put together a list of behaviors who must be observed to the reopening. With a focus on the Wellness and Spa industry, we present some trends for 2021, driven mainly by the post-pandemic scenario.
Even not having a deadline for the mankind to finally be able to breathe with total relief and comfort, it is known that the gradual opening and the return to outdoor life is about to come true, thanks to the results obtained by the lockdowns and by the evolution of immunization through the vaccines.
The reopening with a permanent normality, will show what behavioral changes will be incorporated to life and to the routine of people. We known that the priorities in health, wellness, quality of life and self-consciousness will be considered even more important.
On this scenario, Spas and Wellness centers must be in line with this new reality. The support of a specialized Spa consulting company who understands and acts in harmony with these requirements is fundamental to succeed.
Considering the trends that we now present, Ambery Spa Advisors is prepared to provide services starting from the creation and the development of new Spas to the recovery of existing ones that are pursuing new concepts to keep its leadership.
1. The expense boom for travel and experiences
When the pandemic is left behind, all the desire for personal experiences, for adventure, fun, travel, which were contained in the period of isolation, will face a significant boom. The Spas, which have been particularly limited by all restrictions, will see a significant return from its customers, eager and avid to make up the time that they were locked at home, deprived of their moments of entertainment and personal satisfaction.
A kind of ‘revenge spending’ time must portray what will be this moment of consumption. There are billions of Euros that were not spent on products, services or leisure, just because they were not necessary when people were at home or, because of the restrictions, could not be acquired, such as Spa services.
Although some caution after the pandemic is expected, it is certain that consumers will start traveling again. According to the study of Ernest & Young, more than 70% of consumers are planning to spend in a “carefully extravagant” way into two categories: leisure activities and travel vacations. These two topics exceed by a wide margin most other intentions, with the restaurant meals appearing in a distant third place. Clearly, people are excited to travel again and also to have different types of leisure experiences, it is natural to expect a high increase in the tourism flow as soon as it is safe.
Hotels and resorts should be well prepared, considering an update or a refresh on its facilities and Spas to be truly aligned to the new times that emerge could put them into the spotlight, far ahead of the competitors.
2. 2021: The travel redefinition
A very interesting trend for tourism are the “slow travel” trips, where a high tendency to the wellness tours takes place. This also represents a trend for more sustainable and closer destinations experiences.
Travelers are more likely to plan trips nearby the place where they live, preferring regional locations, sometimes more rural and sustainable than larger, crowded and distant cities.
In Europe, we have already seen this trend over the past summer, on the Continent, occupancy rates in regional markets fluctuated between 40% and 60%, while in major destinations they never exceeded 20%-30%. In the United Kingdom, regional markets recorded occupancy rates of 51% on average, while large cities registered 29%.
Airbnb reported an increase in accommodation on local holidays during the pandemic, however the percentage of bookings within a 300-kilometer radius of renters’ homes skyrocketed from a third in February 2020 to more than 50% in May of the same year. In the United States, local tourist bookings were higher between May 17 and June 3 than in the same period in 2019, without the company investing in any campaigns.
Airbnb also reported a similar increase in domestic reserves in Portugal, Germany, South Corea, New Zealand and in other countries.
According the New York Times prediction made still in mid-2020, the holidays “will probably be more like the 1970s”, time when air travel were much more expensive. We will probably remember the days when the highways were filled with a lot of cars full of bags and equipment and with the children to ask: “have we arrived?”
As travel in a post-pandemic world changes from the planes to the cars, from big cities to nearby towns, the travelers will discover by themselves interesting and closer destinations that probably they would not visit.
At least in the middle term and as long as travelers no longer feel confident and safe to face the queues at airports and departure terminals, as well as staying in a pressurized cabin for a long period of time, this trend will not change.
3. Protection is the priority
Protection and health are at the forefront of consumer behavior. Companies in all sectors are developing effective hygiene initiatives in response to concerns driven by the Covid-19 virus. Cleaning credentials have become a key selling point, as hygiene and decontamination will continue to be the most relevant factors in consumer decisions. Disinfection protocols are likely to remain an important factor in customer choices in the coming months and even years.
A safe and reliable brand image will be a great asset for companies.
It is not acceptable to visit a company physically or digitally without knowing about its practices and protocols against the virus and this will last at least until 2022. People are looking for goods without touching them whenever possible and want to see employees and other customers following all measures of security.
Companies that incorporate strict sanitation standards in products and services, while communicating this precaution, will have priority in consumer choices, naturally obsessed with safety. The pandemic generated innovations that, in many cases, prioritized hygiene as fundamental characteristics of the product. Just to take two examples, global sales of vacuum cleaners, especially steam models, have skyrocketed and some manufacturers are developing a self-sterilizing air conditioning model, among so many other products adapted to the new times.
Many analysts and business leaders have noted that 2020 has brought us 10 years of digital advancement and business practices in just 10 months.
In this scenario, e-commerce was widely used and achieved a high growth rate, since visits to physical stores and unnecessary human interactions were minimized.
Now, we need to understand which of the many new habits will remain – at least until 2022.
There is no denying that the wellness and Spa industries have more consumer attention than ever. Spas consulting services, whether for the launch of new ventures or for the rehabilitation of existing spaces, must prioritize the post-pandemic scenario, and thus, develop projects that are attentive to new requirements and also innovations that allow safer and reliable treatments.
4. Self-Care: Assuming the control of your own health
The noteworthy fragility of health systems during periods of lockdown has led many to be concerned and to assume control of their own health and well-being like never seen before. Health maintenance is the watchword and preventive medicine gains even more importance.
Self-care trend has intensified the demand for body care products free of harmful chemical ingredients to health. The consumers are much more aware to the package labels, observing the details that previously were not taken in account. The power of social media is an ally that helps considerably in obtaining information to let people be able to differ what is recommended from what can be harmful to health.
Even sophisticated beauty brands, given the concerns with Covid, in an effort to ritualized the act of hands disinfection and meeting the demand of their target audience, were concerned to add in their portfolios the hand sanitizers, inspired by aromatherapy and other more refined elements.
A future where health and well-being converge is a trend – and medical prescriptions will not be indicated only on occasions when there is a pathology, but it will be combined with hyper-personalized guides for optimize health permanently.
In the professional field, if new habits, such as working at home, initially let people free from dressing up and making up, probably when everything returns to normal, everyone will realize that fully taking care of yourself has an inexorable connection with your performance and quality of life. This is yet another reason that full attention to self-care is justified.
In our industry, Spas are moving to offer good practices that also motivate the search for self-care, such as long-term treatment options, the availability of health professionals such as nutritionists or Ayurvedic medicine specialists, the COVID-19 tests to the list of services, in addition to the usual small gifts offer.
5. The rise of Medical Spas
Even before the pandemic, there were many discussions among experts and professionals related to the wellness industry about the connection between health and well-being and how both could merge. We now see a trend in the search for consulting Spas projects that focus on combining holistic practices from traditional Spas with preventive medicine services predicting more effective results.
Numerous “Medi-Spas” are emerging with the orientation to create a synergy between Spa treatments with the capabilities of health professionals and the facilities of dermatological clinics in which they are inserted, leveraging a variety of services in line with the needs desired by users in the post-pandemic. This type of crossover continues to be on the rise for years to come and will become more and more common.
“Sanum per Aqua”
It is clear that the demands on health systems that have been overburdened around the world in the face of the pandemic, prove that a paradigm shift is necessary for the future of general heath.
In addition to curing diseases, preventive health is being highly regarded and should be increasingly tangible, as it presents itself more directly and with moods of leisure. Due to the nature of its origin (SPA = in Latin ‘Sanum Per Aqua’, or health through water), Spas are a clear and reliable option in the search for health maintenance.
A contemporary Spa must be prepared to attend within this new perspective, standing out in the market. We also must consider that health maintenance treatments have to be continuous to be effective, making clients who seek this approach to visit the Spas regularly, using programs organized and guided by expert professionals.
6. Natural ingredients
In addition to taking care of their own health the concern about the environment is becoming dominant in the buying decision of more conscious consumers, emphasizing what they consume and how they could live with less excess, seeking a way of life less harmful to the planet and healthier to themselves by avoiding chemical additives.
What was just a preference, is establishing itself as a requirement vis-à-vis manufacturers, thus, cosmetics made up only of natural ingredients have a purpose aligned with more sustainable and contemporary attitudes.
However, designating a product as natural is not enough, it doesn’t turn it a synonymous of quality. Some so-called artisanal products may have formulations that are not recommended or approved by regulatory bodies.
A good natural cosmetic product must show its list of ingredients clearly on the label, providing a correct interpretation. The consumer now, in addition to the conviction of his options, is very informed and can easily identify what he is really looking for, not being deceiving by the brands that bring an empty “green speech”.
To stand out a good Spa must be in harmony with this trend, offering treatments made with natural products, free of chemical additives, compatible with all skin types and, mainly, that are sustainable not only by recycling their packaging, but since the moment of cultivation and extraction of raw material, respecting the communities and individuals involved throughout the process of the entire production chain.
7. Spas should consider integral health
According to a study carried out in the United States, almost a quarter of Americans (23%) have started to meditate or are meditating more since the beginning of the pandemic.
Through workshops, treatments and practices, Spas should make available to customers alternatives of self- knowledge and improvement practices, including techniques for good sleeping, concentration and meditation, in addition to suggesting functional foods to nourish brain health.
We have listed some practices that will remain on the rise and that can be easily introduced into a Spa.
Take a Breath!
A good breathing provides instant well-being and good health however It used to be associated only with immediate relief to stress, but it is proven that the way we breathe has a profound impact on our physical and mental health. There is a new virtuous trend in developing breathing activities to new and important dimensions – from activities with this approach, new techniques, many enthusiasts and even innovative technologies.
A long period in front of a laptop screen due to work and the anxiety of the pandemic can booster insomnia problems. To help the customers to enjoy a good sleeping night, massages developed for this purpose must be made available. In general, all types of massage can reduce fatigue and improve sleep, but specific massages to this role will promote a deeper relaxation. The massages trigger a release of melatonin, which is a hormone responsible for regulating the sleep-wake cycle. The Spa can use more sleep-inducing oils and essences for relaxation. Sleep massages are also a healthier alternative to pills, as they relax and do not have the side effects of drowsiness, which often occurs afterwards.
In a fast-paced world, we are always easily distracted by something or worry too much. As a good solution to help with deceleration and concentration, Spas can implement guided meditation as a regular service. Anyone can benefit from meditation – regardless of their experience. Guided meditation immerses the senses in ambient sounds and music to draw them more deeply into the session. It disconnects you from the real world, relieves stress and promotes mindfulness – no matter how short the session.
Many people have been practicing Yoga for a long time, some have started practicing in the pandemic time. Once the benefits of Yoga are experienced, it is a kind of activity that becomes present in the lives of its practitioners, considering that it brings self-knowledge and emotional control, which is very appreciated in these times of great uncertainty and anxiety.
The implementation of these services must be taken into account, these are techniques that do not require high investments, but that can bring an air of freshness and renovation to the Spa.
8. The importance of touch
The wellness industry is being encouraged to undergo a major evolution and will continue to thrive because people need to feel good. A relaxing massage is much more than just a physical action. It is a way of having more confidence, feeling better about yourself and having the autonomy to face the world.
One of the reasons why Spas continue to be appreciated is because the basis of its services are related to the physical and personal nature and occur through touch activating this sense, a real stimulant for people who in the modern era of technology are often deprived of human contact.
The wellness industry, therefore, will continue to connect professionals dedicated to its clients, however it must change the interface between them, the contact between both will occur only at the necessary moment when there is a purpose.
With the touch becoming rarer among people, Spas must after the pandemic present itself as a unique refuge, where you can experience the feeling of touch, in a hygienic, specialized and safe environment. Spas will have to establish a high level of trust to their customers so that they feel safe in using their services.
9. Reinforcing immunity is the new mantra
One of the crucial shields against Covid-19 and against future diseases, will be to stimulate people to develop good levels of immunity so they can better fight infections. Home remedies, magic formulas and different foods will be tried in order to strengthen the body against invasions of harmful viruses and bacteria.
There will be a quest to strengthen immunity, either through healthy nutrition, with functional foods, or through regular physical exercise, or taking regular sunbaths, or seeking to breathe fresh air and have a more regulated and less stressful life. There is even some evidence of a reduction in alcohol consumption, simply in individuals who have the primary objective of preserving their health.
The consumption of immunological supplements will increase significantly. Data in the United States show that 17 of the top 20 products in the vitamin category are related to the immune system. In this category, the main products are vitamins C, D and multivitamin complexes with immunological support. More people tend to turn to vitamins and supplements to keep themselves healthy.
Organic Food Will Increase Its Importance
More and more people are clinging to the intrinsic benefits of organic foods for health maintenance, considering that they are free of pesticides and chemicals and are rated as healthy and nutritious. In the whole world there is a solid demand for natural foods, many forecasts indicate that its consumption will double next year.
The practice of sports has always been considered the synonym for health, now physical activities take on an even more important outline, even by those who have little sympathy for movement.
Considering that the quarantine had a severe side effect, caused by the involuntary idleness to which all were submitted, there was a frequent recommendation for regular physical activity even for elderly people, as a factor to stimulate immunity.
Whether through greater engagement with sports or through uncompromised activities, such as simple walks, the need to keep the body active and consequently healthy will be given greater importance.
It is known that some of these trends related to wellness were already occurring even before the virus appeared. However, some processes were accelerated and new habits emerged only because of the pandemic.
It is important to emphasize, however, that wellness starts to occupy greater importance in the search for the physical, mental and emotional health maintenance. The Wellness and Spa Industry will have a fundamental participation in the routine of people concerned with a better quality of life.
Let´s be aligned to the new demands for a health world!