The spa industry saw a dramatic revenue decline in 2020 as a result of the pandemic’s effects, but leaders of the International SPA Association (ISPA) are upbeat about recovery as wellness becomes even more important to travelers, according to a virtual presentation of the 2021 ISPA U.S. Spa Industry Study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
Russell Donaldson, manager of research at PwC, said one important message is not to compare this crisis with the Great Recession of 2009-10 when there was a similar drop in business. At that time, he said, the problem was a demand issue; now it is a supply issue as consumers aim to make up for lost time in visiting spas.
Changes driven by the pandemic might or might not be permanent, said Donaldson. Operational adjustments like different kinds of menus; curbside or outdoor treatments; and “touchless” treatments may or may not withstand the test of time depending on whether they were a direct result of the pandemic or simply accelerated trends already in place.
While the industry is not out of the woods yet, said Colin McIlheny, director of global research for PwC, “what is clear is that there is widespread pent-up demand to get back to wellness and spas as long as they open safely.”
McIlheny said this is now an opportunity to review how the industry works.
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