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Articles    H2'ed 12/9/08

'Top 10 Spa Trends to Watch in 2009'

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8. Mindful Spending
In a challenging economic year, spa-goers will be looking closely for value and tangible results. Spas will be experimenting with creative ways to attract the consumer, earn their trust and exceed their expectations. Look for concepts such "daycations" and "spacations" to move from vague catch phrases to realities. Discount massage and facial businesses will enjoy more popularity, and spa deals and added value pricing will appear on most spa websites. Luxury facilities will need to work harder demonstrating how their unique experiences and special treatments merit the greater expense. We will likely see three- and four-star hotels, where more people will be staying, get into the spa arena with competitive spa service offerings. Spas at these locations will be aiming to help first-time visitors feel welcome and comfortable, bringing many new lifelong spa customers into the industry.

9. Move Over Baby Boomers: Gen X & Y Are Spa-ing Their Way
The core spa clientele is rapidly shifting from Baby Boomers to Gen X and Gen Y, and it's more than a simple demographic switch: younger generations are now hitting the spa in record numbers, and they're shaping the experience to meet their unique desires. Spas will need to continue to attract aging Boomers, with their considerable spending power, while catering to new generations who typically reject pampering, embrace wellness, and consider spa-going a natural right. To compete, spas will need to rethink everything from design, treatment menus, and standards for use of personal communication devices. Some spas are now allowing iPod usage during massages, are adding party-size treatment rooms, and trumpeting philanthropic endeavors and their commitment to sustainability. All spas will learn to embrace technology, including encouraging online bookings through sites like SpaBooker or sending mobile alerts when last minute spa deals become available. Cutting-edge experiments can be seen at the new Ciel-Spa at SLS in Beverly Hills, with its playful social lounge experience and a myriad of light and technology options--or Zurich's forthcoming spa at the Dolder Grand, featuring 'chill-out spaces' with suspended basket chairs with headphones, and quirky features like a 'snow paradise room,' or lounges where people can bury themselves in heated pebbles.

10. Brands, Brands, Brands
With almost 72,000 spas around the world, spas that establish and broadcast a truly unique brand identity will attract more visitors at a time when consumer budgets are under pressure. Today, large companies are bringing strong branding savvy into the spa game (think Dove, Nivea and Shiseido), and high-end luxury brands are expanding into spa as well (think Bulgari, Prada, Dior). And look for the distinctions between brands to become more pronounced. For example, Shangri-La's Chi Spa brand has successfully incorporated signature elements throughout their collection (13 spas at last count), while retaining enough uniqueness at each property to make every Chi Spa a new - and yet familiar - experience. The ESPA brand has also established a strong identity across a vast number of spas and mastered the art of training spa therapists to provide highly consistent, quality treatments.

Learn more:
To learn more about SpaFinder's 2009 trends forecast, or to speak with SpaFinder Inc. president Susie Ellis, contact: Betsy Isroelit at RBI, (213) 300-0108, betsy at rbicom dot com.

Copyright © 2008, SpaFinder, Inc. Information and data extracted from this press release is to be accompanied by a statement identifying SpaFinder (Inc.) as the publisher and source.

About SpaFinder, Inc.:
The world's largest spa media, marketing and gifting company, SpaFinder, Inc. connects millions of wellness-focused consumers with thousands of spas worldwide. SpaFinder's media properties include the award-winning, SpaFinder Lifestyle Online Magazine (published in six different languages), the Spa Enthusiast newsletter and the annual worldwide spa directory, Global SpaFinder. Spa Finder Gift Certificates and its new gift division, Spa & Salon Wish, offer spa gift certificates and cards that are redeemable at a combined network of over 7,000 spas and salons worldwide and available at thousands of retail outlets. The company's software division innovates new solutions that help spas build and streamline their businesses, including the popular SpaBooker online booking system. SpaFinder Europe and SpaFinder Japan offer regional spa marketing and gifting programs, including localized, native-language websites. Founded in 1986, the privately held company is headquartered in Manhattan.

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