Expect a surge in demand for spas, says behavioural specialist, Daphne Metland
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Expect a surge in demand for spas, says behavioural specialist, Daphne Metland

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Expect a spa boom once lockdown eases, people haven’t been able to treat themselves for a long time and now more than ever we’re reminded that we must look after our own wellbeing

The Good Spa Guide has revealed the results to its online survey which asked 5,000 UK spa-goers what they were most looking forward to, what worried them, and how their habits might change, in light of COVID-19.

Returning to spas

The survey reported that just over 80 per cent of respondents said they’ll go back to a spa straight away (48 per cent) or in a couple of months once spas reopen (36 per cent). 65 per cent cited ‘just relaxing in a spa environment’ as the main reason for returning, while 6 per cent of all respondents said they planned to visit more regularly than before.

The core market, aged 46-60, are reportedly the most confident to return, and men are reported to be most likely to return to spas straight away with 51 per cent of all male respondents agreeing.

Furthermore, 80 per cent of those surveyed expected to spend the same amount or more, than they did before the pandemic.

Speaking to Spa Business Daphne Metland, Good Spa Guide director and behavioural specialist, said: “Expect a spa boom once lockdown eases, people haven’t been able to treat themselves for a long time and now more than ever we’re reminded that we must look after our own wellbeing.

“After 9/11, spa bookings increased dramatically. Many people who thought they would get around to booking a spa trip ‘some time’ suddenly realised the future was uncertain. I think we’re seeing the same effect here and will see spa bookings increase later in the year.”

Safety measures and PPEWith social distancing measures in place, the majority feel that spas offer a safe environment, with only 13 per cent stating they were apprehensive about going to a spa.

Despite the positive outlook, spas need to put adequate protocols in place, with 82 per cent of people wanting to know about a spa’s hygiene policy in advance. Many expected that policy to include regular testing of staff and a limit on the number of guests in the spa.

Metland said: “Following the pandemic, we’ll all need more privacy. Timed use of facilities, screens in relaxation rooms, and more private areas will become the norm, so spas with private areas will win customers, as will smaller spas that can be booked by friends and families who want a private experience.”

Overall, consumers wanted therapists to wear PPE such as a mask, gloves and a disposable apron, while a smaller group suggested therapists should wear full-face protection such as a visor.

Nearly everyone surveyed (98 per cent) would be happy to have their temperature checked on arrival, followed by some respondents explaining they’d expect to be able to re-book their spa day at no cost if they were barred entry due to a high temperature.

The spa menu

The majority of respondents said they’d be happy having a treatment when spas reopen – 69 per cent felt comfortable booking a beauty treatment such as a manicure or pedicure, 60 per cent were happy with a massage and 50 per cent felt happy with a facial or eye treatment.

Spa-goers aged 61+ were the most apprehensive, expressing concern about certain treatments.

Respondents also indicated that the issue of hygiene and safety in wet and thermal areas will need to be clearly addressed, as only 44 per cent said they’d feel happy using thermal facilities after the pandemic.

The survey asked participants about what new offerings they’d like to see once spas reopen – the consumers’ most popular suggestion was a ramping up of outdoor spa facilities, as nearly two-thirds of the sample set said they'd feel happier using spa areas outside.

Metland commented: “We’re going to see more use of outdoor space at spas because meeting others outside has become the norm during lockdown, and due to scientific evidence supporting that the outdoors is safer, in terms of risking COVID transmission.

“The survey shows that spas have got to consider making more use of the outdoors with new facilities such as gardens, rooftop spas, woodland walks and even treatments in private cabins outside.”

Other popular requests included two- to three-night wellness breaks especially those focusing on sleep retreats and nutrition, ‘connection classes’ to help people reconnect after lockdown and online follow-up consultations.

No respondents said they would want mental wellbeing sessions, despite the impact of COVID-19 on people’s mental health remaining a major concern globally.

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The Good Spa Guide has revealed the results to its online survey which asked 5,000 UK spa- goers what they were most looking forward to, what worried them, and how their habits might change, in light of COVID-19.
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