Pulse November/December 2021 - Page 17

Crazy for Customization
The upheaval caused by COVID-19 has changed the way that people around the world view themselves , their health and their lifestyles . Ask any spa
director about market demand right now and you ’ ll hear the same thing : people are crazy for spa . In fact , many spas currently report that the only thing keeping them from smashing any and all revenue records is the industry ’ s profound staffing shortage , as the COVID-19 pandemic has only deepened what was already an acute labor problem felt around the United States and the world .
Tereza Zanchi spas combine a la carte services to customize the guest experience .
A greater appreciation for a customized approach to wellness is at the heart of this renewed interest in living healthier , longer lives ; that is , spa-goers are coming to spas not just seeking spa experiences , but customized , bespoke spa experiences . In a study of consumer attitudes towards wellness released earlier this year , McKinsey & Company found that “ a substantial majority of consumers around the world say they prioritize personalization now more than they did two or three years ago .” In the U . S ., more than 88 percent of consumers value personalization more than before ; McKinsey & Company also report that customers in Brazil and China are particularly willing to trade privacy for greater personalization .
It ’ s hard not to see consumers ’ growing valuation of custom experiences as connected to the wearable technology boom . In a world where everyone has a Fitbit or Apple Watch that constantly tracks their personal health in order to make personalized recommendations , why wouldn ’ t consumers expect other wellness experiences to also be tailored to them ?
It ’ s not that simple , however . Laura
Martinez , director of spa at the Four Seasons at the Surf Club , views a proclivity for custom spa experiences as a reaction against technology .“ We ’ re so connected and virtual in so many ways ,” says Martinez ,“ but at the end of the day , people still need that physical connection .” Viewed this way , the increasingly digital world in which we live is precisely why consumers are craving physical treatments now more than ever . Todd Shaw , Chief Experience Officer of Fountain Life — an integrated platform for healthcare and wellness — sees these increases as the product of existing organic trends within the industry .“ I think we ’ re all just sick and tired of being sick and tired ,” Shaw says .“ My parents ’ generation is trying to stay as healthy as long as they can , my generation is trying to be healthier , and the younger generation is making even healthier decisions . It ’ s this movement that ’ s happening organically .” Part of that , adds Shaw , is the realization of how much harm has been done by choices we now know to be deleterious to one ’ s health , such as smoking or consuming added sugar : the knowledge of our past sins inspires us to be better in the future .
Preparing a treatment room in the Four Seasons at the Surf Club
Diverse Approaches , One Goal
Many spas have offered custom experiences for years , while others have started offering them only recently . Yet virtually all spas are now trying to offer more customized , personalized , or bespoke spa experiences with the same goal in mind : a transformative experience for the spa-goer .
In the past , hotel spas in particular often resisted offering customized services out of a desire to present clients with a standardized high-quality experience that they could rely on from location to location . “ Many years