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Archive for November, 2011

Impressions of ISPA

By Shari Rosenberg

ISPA’s 21st annual conference was held earlier this month at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, bringing together spa professionals from around the world.  As a press attendee, and not a spa professional or product vendor, I’m able to share a big-picture snapshot.

The keynote speakers played to the conference theme “inspiring happiness,” and were, well, quite inspirational. The first speaker was Bert Jacobs, chief executive optimist for the Life is good Company, who shared his message that “optimism can take you anywhere” and the importance of giving back; he also presented the word-of-mouth marketing tactics that helped him transform his T-shirt company, which he started with $78, into a $100 million business. Jacobs was also the winner of this year’s ISPA Alex Szekely Humanitarian Award for his work with the Life is good Kids Foundation.

On day two we heard from best-selling author and futurist Faith Popcorn of the BrainReserve.   She shared some cultural and business trends, recognizing that spa is “perfectly placed at the nexus of health, reward, indulgence and pleasure.”  Popcorn identified what she called the “female revolution” that will continue over the next decade, as women are owning more businesses and “have all the money, globally” as we experience a “he-cession.”  Popcorn expressed the changing consumer desire for substance over superficiality, and how businesses must use their feminine side to embrace change. (Read her full presentation here.) Like Jacobs of Life is good, Popcorn reiterated the idea of using your power for good or “Wellness Through Community,” citing the Heifer method of sustainability and Jon Bon Jovi’s New Jersey restaurant Soul Kitchen, where patrons pay what they can through his Hope is Delicious movement.



Note: If you enjoy trends, look for SpaFinder President Susie Ellis’ Top 10 Spa Trends set to debut in early 2012.


Last up was Tony Hsieh, CEO and author of the best-selling book Delivering Happiness. He shared his ideas on developing a culture of happiness in the workplace, underscoring customer service as a focal point for a service business and how excellence can make your business stand out.  Employees at his company (often ranked high as one of the best places to work for by Forbes, CNN Money, et al.), are encouraged to be themselves, while professional, and to give back to their communities. Hsieh has seen the results of a happy workplace that creates greater productivity.

ISPA attendees can walk the floor of the convention center and get samplings of hundreds of new and noteworthy products.  Here are a few that caught my attention as an editor (and you can expect to see these covered on our Club Spa blog).

OSEA Malibu, is an organic seaweed-based product and the story of how the seaweed is harvested from the pristine Argentinian waters off of Patagonia, not used for commercial fishing intrigued me. OSEA works with a local partner in Argentina to ensure eco-responsible harvesting. The benefits of seaweed are vast, and I loved my OSEA facial I received – at first tingly, but my skin looked plump and youthful immediately after.

Though not a product, Belly Friendly is a program that focuses on a pregnancy-friendly environment and creating properly trained staff, far beyond the skills involved in pre-natal massage. Pregnant women are a sub-culture that Stacy Denney, the founder, has figured out.  (Also, look for our Q&A with Stacy in an upcoming Partner Update.)

Mineral makeup is all the rage.  Three major brands were represented at ISPA: La Bella Donna, gloMinerals and jane iredale.  The last is infused with vitamins and anti-oxidants.  It’s makeup that feeds your skin and popular for post-surgery patients.

Clarisonic was highlighting its new Opal device for the eyes. People swear by it and after sampling it, I see why.

I had a lot to share with our food & wellness editor upon my return. BodyCoffee, a body product line intrigued me because it’s as stimulating for the body as when you drink it.  Plus, it’s popular in cellulite treatments. Big name spas like Hotel Hershey, Lake Austin, Canyon Ranch and the Spa at Norwich use their product.
Teatulia is woman-owned, sustainable company that harvests tea in a single garden in Bangladesh. EVOO by Caren are skincare/bodycare products that are aloe-based and infused with extra virgin olive oil, so great for post-cancer patients whose skin gets very dry. We’re also excited to review the arugula soy candle and more from Archipelago Botanicals, which is part of the brand’s new culinary collection.

The wildly popular hair care product line Moroccan Oil introduced its move into body care, with its argan-oil based line.  We’ll be looking for it to be launched in 2012.

From our ISPA booth #224, SpaFinder was able to connect with many of our spa partners, as well as many properties who were recipients of our 2011 Readers’ Choice Awards.  Winners took photos with Mariel Hemingway, renowned actress, wellness advocate and our spokesperson for Wellness Week 2012.

Lastly, I was excited to visit some of the newest, and most talked about, Vegas spas including: Cosmopolitan, Encore, Canyon Ranch and QUA Baths at Caesars. (Look for my Vegas Spas feature on Club Spa next month.) Vegas is not just for gambling anymore, as the town is becoming quite a center for luxury and group spa experiences.

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Who Took Top Honors in the Readers’ Choice Awards?

SpaFinder has recently unveiled its 2011 Readers’ Choice Award winners, and we wanted to send a shout-out to some of your colleagues in the spa and wellness industry. In addition to such spas as “favorite new getaway,” “best for romance” and “best for yoga,” readers have voted on those they deem the best of the best for “favorite spa manager” and “favorite spa professional.”

We congratulate you!

Favorite Spa Manager:

Favorite Spa Professional:

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Generate More Business with SpaFinder’s Travel Agent Program

Have you heard? SpaFinder recently unveiled its new (and improved!) Travel Agent website – if you haven’t seen it yet, we encourage you to check out this dedicated Travel Agent site. It’s the premier place for travel agents in the know to discover expert advice, helpful tools and tips, check out commissionable deals and learn more about you, our getaway spa partners and your properties. We even have a team of travel agents dubbed “Spa Specialists,” some of the best in the business who have been certifiably trained by SpaFinder.

We urge you to send us your most current travel agent information, so we can upload it to our site for our network of travel agents to see – and bring more business to you.

Fill out the following information and email to our Travel Editor Kate Phillips at, and we’ll get your responses updated on our SpaFinder travel agent site as soon as possible. It only takes a few minutes to fill out the following:

  • Percent commission offered (REQUIRED):
  • Cancellation policy details:
  • Added value offers (e.g., room upgrades, free robe, or bottle of wine) for Spa Finder customers:
  • Exclusive offers (e.g. additional commissions, travel agent incentives, etc.) offered to Spa Finder Travel Agent Affiliates. Please also provide start and end dates for each offer.
  • Travel Agent Rate:
  • FAM Trip Specials:
  • Please provide separate contact information for travel agents, if different from main number:

If you have any questions, please feel free to email or

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#1 New Survey Trend: Traveling to Spas Specifically for Health and Wellness

Results from the annual SpaFinder State of Spa Travel survey are hot off the press, and we want to share a few of the significant findings with you. The survey, now in its fifth year, provides annual insight into what travelers are looking for when booking spa travel, along with the developments in the spa travel industry, including such sectors as the overall health of the market, traveling demographics and popular locations/amenities.

Here’s a quick snapshot of what travel agents have to say about the spa travel marketplace:

Hottest Trend – Health & Wellness Spa Travel: Travel agents ranked “increased interest in spa travel specifically for wellness & health” as the #1 fastest-growing spa travel trend. Additionally, 79% of agents report clients are more interested in spa vacations with a strong health/wellness component in 2011 over 2010, while another 18% report the trend remains just as strong.

Rounding out the top 5 trends: 2) “social spa-ing”; 3) people traveling solo to spa destinations; 4) spa travel for younger people (under 40); and 5) increased interest in international spa destinations.

Even More Aggressive Deals in 2011: Despite more bullish reports for travel generally, 55% of agents reported that hotel/resort/destination spas are actually offering more aggressive deals, attractive pricing and value-add packages in 2011 over 2010 – with only 8% seeing any declines in the deals this year.

Price-per-Night Firms at Higher End: At the same time there seems to be some distinct price firming at the higher end of the market. In both 2009 and 2010, 75% of spa travel booked fell under $299/night, but that dropped to 62% this year. And, while in 2010, only 10% of bookings topped $350/night, this year that jumped to 21%. For 2011, the most commonly booked price-per-night is $250-$299, but 38% of bookings now fall in the $300+ range (up from 29% in 2010).

Baby Boomers Still Rule the “Spa Pool”: Baby Boomers (aged 46-65) remain the age demographic most likely to book spa travel, accounting for 68% of bookings in 2011; however, the younger “Gen X” demographic is also a critical client base, with 31% of bookings this year gs coming from those aged 36-45.

Spa Access Remains #1 Traveler Consideration: Agents ranked which offerings/amenities at destinations are most critical to their clients; the 2011 rankings: 1) spa facilities/access; 2) proximity to beach; 3) sightseeing; 4) nature-based activities, like hiking, etc.; 5) shopping; 6) golf facilities; and 7) skiing access.

Read the entire press release here.

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Happy Older People Live Longer: How to Market to Silver Spa-ers

Are you marketing to your boomer-and-beyond clientele? If so, you may just be helping them live longer.

Older people who are happy, even for a little while, have a 35% lower risk of dying than those who were least happy, according to a British study, of which the results were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study is a part of the longest-running British study on aging.

Because the findings emphasize the importance of emotional well-being for older people, we’re thinking that the spa can definitely be one way to make older people feel great — not only emotionally, but physically as well. And we all know that good health plays a pivotal role in how great you feel about your life and yourself.

Not only can spa have a great effect on their lives, with the immense 65-plus demographic and their buying power, these silver spa-ers also have a massive impact on the spa industry.

Savvy spas should be rethinking everything to address these all-too-often-ignored niche’s specific needs: from facilities, to equipment, to programming, to marketing and staffing. Physical therapy, rehabilitation, recuperation and just plain old pain relief have increased on spas’ menus, to meet the needs of clientele with back, neck, knee and mobility issues. Hosting a special happy hour of sorts for seniors, perhaps during the mornings when business might otherwise be slow is another way to further reel this group of clients in. Many spas are even using bigger print for their spa menus!

Here are a few other forward-thinking examples from SpaFinder’s 2011 Spa Trends Report:

  • Fairmont’s Willow Stream Spas are adding an extensive muscle and joint program promising pain relief. We’ve been seeing more spas (modeled after a Canyon Ranch) featuring exercise physiologists, sports medicine professionals, chiropractors, orthopedics, naturopaths and physical therapists on staff (or on call).
  • Spa bathing, known for pain-relief benefits, relaxation and at times, detox assistance, is experiencing a resurgence in general, and is a perfect fit for older clientele. Some examples of specialized bathing experiences include the Scandinave and Le Nordic models in Canada, the Hakone Kowakien Yunessun in Japan, or the lucrative Glen Ivy Hot Springs in Southern California. Prior research has concurred that the number-one reason people go to spas is to “relax and de-stress,” but in some regions of the world that may soon be replaced by to “relieve aches and pains.”
  • Using the term “corrective” — “corrective” massage, “corrective” facials, etc., and for the already used-to-death term “anti-aging” can help boomers pinpoint which treatments they may be interested in due to age.
  • Integrating specialized offerings such as the Biofreeze Pain Management massage; infrared saunas, which function at far-less searing heat (but penetrate heat further into the body than a traditional sauna); and new chilled loungers that accomplish what cold plunge pools do, but are more comfortable and safer for older guests, can also bring in more silver spa-ers.
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Readers’ Choice Awards Announced: Best Medical Spa Program

Hailing from all over the world, our readers have spoken and the new group of spas voted to have the Best Medical Spa Program has been announced! Our 2011 Readers’ Choice Awards , which marks the awards’ ninth anniversary, had more global votes by spa-goers, making this the most international and diverse group of spas in the history of the awards. From Thailand to Texas, readers voted for their favorite spas in 32 different “Best For” categories, including Best Medical Spa Program – check out the winners below:

Best Medical Spa Program
Canyon Ranch (Lenox, MA)

Canyon Ranch (Tuscon, AZ)

Chiva-Som (Hua Hin Thailand)

Cooper Aerobics Center (Dallas, TX)

The Greenbriar (White Sulphur Springs, WV)

Pritikin Longevity Center & Spa (Miami Beach, Florida)

Sanoviv Medical Institute (Rosarito, Mexico)

Terme di Saturnia Spa & Golf Resort (Grosseto, Italy)

WellMax Center for Preventive Medicine (La Quinta, CA)

Clinique La Prairie (Clarens-Montreux, Switzerland)

A complete list of winners can be accessed at 2011 Readers’ Choice Winners. Crystal and Country/Region award recipients will also be featured in the NewBeauty SpaFinder: Guide to Global Spa, Wellness & Beauty, arriving on newsstands now!

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Readers’ Choice Awards Announced: Favorite Day Spa

Our 2011 Readers’ Choice Awards have been announced, marking the awards’ ninth anniversary! Worldwide, more votes were cast by spa-goers this year, making it the most international and diverse group of spas in the history of the awards, in addition to beingthe most complete and useful peer-to-peer recommendation in the global spa market.

“SpaFinder was the first to offer people the opportunity to vote for their favorite spas in diverse categories, from cuisine to hiking to golf to romance, providing a fast, accessible way for spa-goers to make decisions based on what’s important to them,” said SpaFinder President Susie Ellis. “They have become a valuable consumer guide, as well as an industry accolade.”

The Awards were based on votes submitted by SpaFinder’s global consumer websites, including and by readers of SpaFinder publications. Readers were asked to only vote for spas they have visited in the last three years.

In addition to the Crystal and Country/Region Awards, readers voted for their favorite spas in 32 different “Best For” categories, including Favorite Day Spa – check out the winners below:

Favorite Day Spa

Blu Water Day Spa (Rockville, MD)

Depasquale Spa (Morris Plains, NJ)

Eden Day Spa (Boca Raton, FL)

Elmwood Spa (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

Glen Ivy Hot Springs (Corona, CA)

Great Jones Spa (New York, NY)

Sanctuary Spa (London, UK)

Soho Sanctuary (New York, NY)

Spa Gregorie’s (Newport Beach, CA)

The Spa Ritual (Calgary, Alberta, Canada)

A complete list of winners can be accessed at 2011 Readers’ Choice Winners. Crystal and Country/Region award recipients will also be featured in the NewBeauty SpaFinder: Guide to Global Spa, Wellness & Beauty, arriving on newsstands now!

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Personalized Cell Therapy Presented at Annual Meeting

During the last American Society of Dermatological Surgery Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., clinical trial data was presented demonstrating the effectiveness of a new FDA approved injectable, LAVIV™. LAVIV is made from a patient’s own skin cells, making it the first and only personalized cell therapy.

“LAVIV is a first of its kind treatment that works by expanding a patient’s own collagen-producing fibroblast cells. This data confirms the effectiveness of this innovative cell therapy,” said Stacy Smith, M.D., the study investigator who presented the results to the ASDS, in a published report. “Since LAVIV is made from a patient’s own collagen-producing fibroblast cells, the safety profile is excellent.”

Developed by Fibrocell Science and named one of Allure Magazine’s 2011 Beauty Breakthroughs, Laviv is made up of collagen-producing cells called fibroblasts, which are isolated and grown from the patient’s skin cells, and a mixture of water, sugars, vitamins, amino acids and salts. Antibiotics, amphotericin and gentamicin, bovine serum and dimethyl sulfoxide are used during processing, and trace amounts of these ingredients may be present in LAVIV™, the company’s website says.

Since Laviv uses the body’s own resources to create a more youthful appearance, the body recognizes the cells as its own and the chance of an allergic reaction greatly declines. There is less upkeep since results typically last longer than more conventional fillers; however when patients are ready for another treatment, a bank of their cells is available at the Fibrocell lab and can be overnighted to practitioners.

Safety data was presented at the Annual Meeting as well, with the most common negative side effects being mild to moderate reactions around the injection site. These side effects were reported by more than one percent of patients treated and included redness, swelling, bleeding, bruising, papules, pain and irritation. In all adverse effects reported, 94 percent were resolved within one week.

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Cash In on Going Green: The Growth of Natural & Organic Beauty Product Sales

With consumers learning more about the importance of sustainability and “going green,” the demand for products that fit into this lifestyle is ever-growing. In fact, global sales of natural and organic beauty products are projected to reach $9 billion by the end of this year, with product sales to reach $14 billion by 2015, according to Organic Monitor’s upcoming Global Market for Natural & Organic Personal Care Products report. Currently in the United States, Germany and Australia natural and organic product sales capture 10 percent of market share, due to high consumer awareness.

Many big-name product lines are launching green products to keep up with this rising desire from consumers and there are many other already-natural lines that are now competing with well-known brands, such as [any examples?]. The success of a brand comes from great marketing and distribution, Organic Monitor says, adding that creating specialized retail shops and “concept” stores play a role in success as well.

We believe that going green can not only increase your bottom line, but it’s a win-win for the consumer and for the earth as well. Tell us, has your spa acquired more green products in the past five years or so and do you have plans to do more in the future?

The Sustainable Cosmetics Summit will host the latest findings of this study as well as dedicated workshops designed to encourage increased sustainability in the beauty industry. Organized by Organic Monitor, The Asia-Pacific edition will be held November 7-8 in Hong Kong and the European edition will be held November 28-30 in Paris.

Research Publication: #7001-60 The Global Market for Natural & Organic Personal Care Products (Publish date: Dec’11)

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