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Lynne McNees: Spa visits will become part of broad approach to global wellbeing

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“It’s tempting to think that 2020 changed everything in the spa and wellness industry,” said Lynne McNees, president of the International Spa Association (ISPA), “but in many ways, it also reaffirmed so much of the core of what our industry is about.”

Reflecting on 2020, she told Spa Business that spas’ commitment to healing and wellness has become crucial to so many during a tough 2020, as the pandemic illustrated how essential spa treatments and services can be to global health and wellness.

“Mindfulness, meditation, the importance and healing potential of human touch and the need to seek relief from stress – all of these were critical in the lives of so many people this year,” she explained.

In 2021, as the industry’s recovery continues, McNees is optimistic that visiting spas will continue to be seen not as a luxury, but as a vital part of that shift toward a broader approach to wellness.

Stronger together

ISPA has been busy supporting the industry throughout 2020, having created a comprehensive reopening toolkit, conducting industry research and surveys, along with hosting a plethora of virtual events to inspire and inform the industry.

“From the beginning of the pandemic, we believed collaboration and a unified response to those challenges was key,” she said, “ISPA’s HQ team, board and numerous volunteer committees came together quickly to establish priorities and develop the resources we knew so many in our industry would need.”

For McNees, 2020 has reinforced that the spa industry is at its stronger when it works together.

“That collaborative spirit was inspiring amid the turmoil of the pandemic, and we can’t lose sight of the value of working together as we move forward.

“When we do that, the industry benefits as a whole and individual spas and vendors share in those benefits as well.”

She illustrated her point by using the example of the strengthening of relationships between spas and resource partners throughout the year.

She said that because suppliers showed a willingness to help spas navigate things relating to products and services, these close partnerships will continue to bear fruit as spas recover from the pandemic.

A silver liningIn McNees’ opinion, the global crisis exemplified the industry’s strength and adaptability.

“The pandemic forced spas to innovate and react creatively to everything, ranging from occupancy restrictions to bans on indoor services to staffing overhauls.

“And even though some of the solutions to those challenges will likely disappear as the COVID-19 threat is reduced, so many spas have developed new treatment types, new ways of reaching and staying connected with guests and new retail initiatives that will stick around going forward.”

Recognising excellence

In 2021, ISPA will host its Innovate Awards to highlight the remarkable amount of creativity and adaptability the industry showed throughout the pandemic.

“We’ll be recognising organisations in four categories: New Business Practices, Spa & Resource Partner Partnerships, Technology and Philanthropy,” McNees said.

The submission window for ISPA members is open on ISPA’s website until 12 January 2021, and one organisation from each category will be honoured at the 2021 ISPA Conference & Expo in May.

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“It’s tempting to think that 2020 changed everything in the spa and wellness industry,” said Lynne McNees, president of the International Spa Association (ISPA), “but in many ways, it also reaffirmed so much of the core of what our industry is about.”
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