Mandarin Oriental’s Group Director of Spa, Jeremy McCarthy gives HM the lowdown on what to expect in the wellness sector in 2016.
One of the biggest consumer macrotrends that I think is affecting all industries is “Wellness Everywhere.” Consumers are no longer content to carve out small pockets of wellness in an otherwise unhealthy lifestyle. Today, they want wellness to find them wherever they are, at work, at home, or when they travel. This is tied to the trend towards wearable technology. As consumers are using their smartphones, smart watches, and other wearable devices to monitor their wellness everywhere they go, there is a rising expectation that their environment and lifestyle should support their wellbeing everywhere they go.
02 Wellness is more holistic
For the last several decades, when you talked about “wellness” you were primarily talking about diet and exercise. Today, a more holistic view of wellness is emerging that places greater priority on the importance of rest, recovery and sleep; the need for psychological wellbeing, including positive emotional experiences and resilience to stress; and the power of personal relationships and social support to enhance health and wellbeing. These trends are great news for the future of the spa industry since we offer experiences that are restorative, pleasurable and social. This holiday season, for example, the Spas at Mandarin Oriental offered a “Silent Night” promotion, inviting people to enjoy the spa in silence (no music, no talking) for one night in December. During the hectic holiday season, our guests appreciated having a place to go for an evening of digital detox and contemplative.
03 Movement is the new fitness
When I was a kid, I would look at pictures of bodybuilders like Arnold Schwarzenegger and say, “someday, I’m going to look like that.” But kids today are growing up in a video age. They are not looking at static images. They are looking at viral videos of athletes, gymnasts, freerunners, and martial artists and saying, “someday, I’m going to move like that.” So fitness today is less about how you look or how much weight you can lift and more about what you can do with your body, or how well you can move.
04 Real beauty
The phrase “real beauty” was coined by the highly successful Dove marketing campaign that showcases how the beauty industry puts incredible pressure on women and young girls to modify their appearances to meet unattainable standards that are set by drastically photoshopped glamour images. There is a growing backlash against the glamourized portrayal of beauty with many celebrities joining the cause by sharing unedited photos of themselves and being more honest about their own flaws and insecurities. Marketing for spas tends to showcase the glamour and the beauty, but in reality, our therapists see people of every different body type and defect. Spa is for everyone and we need to do a better job of getting that message out.
05 From Personalized to Personal
In the last decade, the spa industry has be moving from being more standardized to being more personalized. The spa experience is no longer about being “consistent” but about offering more bespoke services that are customized to the needs of the individual guest. At the Spas at Mandarin Oriental, we are trying to go from being personalized to being personal. We recognize that not only is every guest different, but also every spa therapist is different. We want to recognize and cultivate the unique diversity of talents among our therapists so we are matching the best of what each therapist has to offer with the needs of the guest.