Planning a Spring Get-Away or Partner Retreat? Think Spa

Every year, spas become more relevant to everyday Americans, as more and more people -- and more and more different types of people -- embrace spas to improve the way they look and feel.

Spa Finder is at the very center of this unfolding story, representing the largest network of spas in the world and interacting with the largest audience of spa consumers. From this unique vantage, Spa Finder has taken the spa industry and consumer pulse and compiled a listing of the top-10 spa trends to watch in 2004 -- covering everything from the new "it" spa products and treatments, to a new spa consumer focus on health and wellness. Spa Finder's Top-10 Spa Stories to Watch in 2004 are highlighted below.

AccountingWEB has also complied a list of top destination, spas, golf retreats etc. This is accessible to Premium Members at Top Vacation Destinations Around the World

Spa Finder's Top-10 Spa Stories to Watch in 2004:

  1. Medical spas provide a prescription for health and wellness -- Consumers flocked to spas for medical services in 2003, albeit primarily for cosmetic treatments (e.g., Botox injections). In 2004, baby boomers will take advantage of medical spas for truly medical purposes -- namely preventative health treatments and regimens, and education for long-term health.

  2. America mixes business with (spa) pleasure -- Businesses will increasingly use spas to build relationships, motivate employees, and manage employee health. Spas will become fashionable business meeting places for metropolitan firms. Gift certificates to spas will become the new gift basket -- the ultimate "thank you" to important clients and partners, and a compelling employee incentive. Innovative businesses, including insurance providers, will underwrite regular spa visits to promote employee health and productivity and to lower medical costs.

  3. The "Destination Day Spa" hits the radar -- According to Spa Finder, a hot new spa experience that's going to get even hotter in 2004 is the "destination day spa." Moving beyond the itemized beauty and spa treatments that are the focus of the typical day spa experience, destination day spas offer a holistic mind/body/spirit experience that's more akin to a day at a destination stay spa, minus the hotel room. Visitors check in for a one-day mini retreat that can include education programs, fitness programs, and healthy meals, in addition to spa/beauty treatments.

  4. The spa experience becomes even more affordable and inclusive -- 2003 was a boom for spa/beauty products, as millions of Americans who couldn't comfortably afford to go to spas sought to recreate the spa experience at home. With the continued explosion of affordable spas geared toward middle-income earners, however, more and more Americans will now be able to forego the aromatherapy candles and bubble bath and head to a nearby spa to enjoy professional treatments and wellness programs. In short, 2004 will be the year the spas truly go mainstream -- with record participation across the economic spectrum.

  5. International spa tours replace international spa treatments -- In 2003, international spa treatments were all the rage (Thai massage, Balinese rituals, Ayurveda, etc.) In 2004, with a revived economy and stock market, more and more upscale consumers will opt to go straight to the source -- i.e., people will move beyond the Thai
    massage and indulge in a "spas of Thailand" tour.

  6. Spa cuisine goes mainstream -- Spa cuisine will continue to break out of the spa and into America's dining rooms, thanks to hot-selling spa cookbooks and popular recipes. High-end spas will race to enlist celebrity chefs, expand their menus, innovative branded diet programs, and accommodate special diets (Atkins, South Beach, etc.). The spa/cuisine crossover will play out at the opposite end of the divide as well, as popular diet programs (for example, Pritikin) roll out spa properties.

    Spas become the primary consideration for more travelers -- For years, the fastest growing segment in the hospitality industry has been hotels with spas. In 2004, that segment might have to be reversed to read "spas with hotels" as the spa becomes an even bigger factor in consumers' traveling decisions. In the year ahead, spas will become more than just bullets on resort/hotel marketing collateral -- they'll be the deciding factor, the primary draw.

  7. Spas become even more accommodating for pets -- Spas will keep pace with the "empty nester" pet phenomenon by investing in kennels and dog runs, offering pet treatments and programs -- in short, by encouraging spa goers to bring their pets (and leave the guilt of vacationing without them at home).

  8. ... and men -- In 2004 spas will continue to attract men with male-focused offerings -- including golf, outdoor adventure activities, male cosmetic treatments, and high-octane fitness programs. Spa Finder predicts men -- and not just "metrosexuals" -- will hit spas in record numbers, and that more and more day and stay spas will offer equal facilities for men and women.

  9. ... and the entire family -- Last year saw an influx of teenage girls at spas, who were drawn by the beauty treatments and the glamour of a luxurious spa experience. This year, Spa Finder anticipates even younger visitors, including boys. But, unlike the teen girls of 2003, these young spa-goers will hit the spa with the whole family, and the focus will be health and wellness. Spas will keep pace by offering more family-oriented activities, spas-for-kids, and/or kids-only spa programs.

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