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Looking and feeling great

The top trends, treatments, and innovations to watch for in 2024

By Sean Tarry

EHL—the world’s largest hospitality university—recently released its list of the most impactful forcing functions that it believes will continue to shape the spa industry throughout the coming year. From the increased use of technology and enhanced focus around health and wellness, to the offer of elevated forms of relaxation and stress management, the treatments and concepts that are anticipated to take centre stage in 2024 seem set to meet the evolving interests and desires of today’s spa-goer, while also facilitating the continued growth of spa establishments everywhere.
Here are the top trends that EHL identifies as those to watch for within the global spa industry in 2024.

The med spa
As people around the world continue to place an increasing amount of focus on their physical health and well-being, it’s being suggested that the med spa concept, in which guests receive services and treatments meant to improve their overall physical health and condition, is set to explode. Offering treatments that are designed to serve as near-permanent solutions addressing concerns including cellulite, wrinkles, hair removal, and skin pigmentation, the med spa concept appeals to a number of different guests for varying reasons.

Increased use of technology
It might go without saying, but with the continued advancement of technology, its use is expected to increase within today’s spa environment. Supporting everything from treatments and services to the training of artificial intelligence models, technology is on the verge of sparking revolutionary change within the spa industry, enhancing the
guest experience, increasing productivity, and enabling growth like never before.

The human touch
There’s no questioning the changes that have taken place all over the world since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. And, at the heart of it all is an accelerated digitization that has
served to enable greater efficiencies, reduce operational costs, and enhance convenience. However, it has come at the expense of a lack of human interaction and, as it relates to the conventions of the traditional spa experience, touch. However, according to EHL’s trends list, physical contact, including person-to-person treatments and services, is a need that’s being driven by the younger generations, and is one that’s set to become something that is sought out over the course of the next year.

The power of nature
Since the start of the pandemic, people all over the world have also been paying significantly more focus toward their mental and physical health and well-being. They’ve also been simplifying their lives, getting back to the essence of life. These two trends are blending, or conjoining, to form a powerful movement involving the use of, or reliance on, nature and natural elements to relieve stress and anxiety. It’s leading a multitude of spas to offer outdoor facilities, including hot and cold pools, hammocks for lounging, firepits, and walks through natural environments, satisfying the needs of today’s spa-goer in a completely genuine and organic way.

Focus on mental wellness
The world has enjoyed the development and introduction of a number of different innovations and advancements over the course of the past decade or so. Many of these innovations and advancements have helped us find efficiencies within our lives and increase our capacity to do a number of different things that we weren’t able to before the digitization of our environment. However, our digital connectivity has also brought with it increased stress and anxiety and, for some, a near-smothering impact on their psyche. As a result, it’s expected that spas in countries across the globe will continue to offer classes and services involving yoga, meditation, mindfulness, and more, in order to address the growing mental wellness needs of today’s spa-goers.

Enhanced stress management
As part of a renewed focus on mental health and wellness, today’s spa-goers are increasingly seeking ways by which to better manage the stress they experience on a day-to-day basis throughout their lives. And, although spas are naturally designed and developed to help with the relief of stress, and don’t necessarily need to make any tweaks or adjustments in order to address this concern, many are redoubling their focus on the need to find peace and tranquility while in the spa environment. As a result, a number of spas in provinces across the country enforce strict “quiet” or “no talking” policies, leverage sensorial elements like soft gentle sounds and running water to invoke mindfulness, and include other stress relief aids to help visitors find a sense of serenity, away from the bustle and grind of their regular routines.

Evolving focus on food
In addition to a focus on physical and mental health and well-being through mindfulness, physical treatments, and other services, it’s anticipated that more and more spas will begin placing a greater emphasis on the relationship between wellness and food. By extending their services to include an array of different educational-based offerings that explore the benefits of a proper diet, the importance of proper nutrition, and critical role played by immune-boosting habits, spas can broaden their focus and appeal.

Relaxation and sleep
One of the many adverse effects of stress and anxiety today is lack of relaxation and sleep, which many suffer from. And, because spas are known to be facilities and establishments that facilitate peace and serenity, it’s an area of need that many spas are including within their offering, providing services that cater to deep relaxation and sleep via vibration therapy loungers and other similar pieces of technological equipment. Some are even offering “sleep retreats” that are meant to rid guests of their troubles and challenges around sleeping.

The year ahead
It’s clear sifting through this list of trends, and other similar lists, that the focus and objective of the spa industry very much remains the same—to help guests experience the results they’re looking for from their visit to the spa. It may just be the means by which operators within the industry are attempting to achieve their objectives. So, whatever your approach, or the tactics you and your team employ, in order to enhance your services, by keeping the needs of the visitor at the centre of what you do, you’re staying on top of the most important trend of all: satisfying your guests.

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