This article first appeared in The Spa Business Handbook, 2018/19 edition. 

There has never been a greater need to differentiate your spa by creating a compelling concept that tells a story. There is no denying that the global wellness industry is changing and the market place in which we work has evolved. North American spas have seen a gradual change in the competitor set.  Single service sites are gaining a foothold in market share, and now the competitive landscape is evolving again. Fitness brands, such as Equinox, have entered the hospitality arena, co-working spaces such as We Work are competing for market share with day spas, fortune 500 companies such as Google are looking at how they define their workplace wellness and influencers are taking your consumers on retreats. Whether you consider them friend or foe the landscape is changing.

With all these new entries to the field, spas are feeling squeezed. How do we stand out and capture the consumer who has access to apps, influencers and a tool kit of wellness information close to home?

A popular path to brand awareness has been creating innovative programmes. Yet when this is also coupled with an authentic story a more compelling message is told. A story that resonates with the consumer and builds corporate identity.

Aulani Disney Resort

A good example is a client of ours, Aulani Disney Resort. A brand that is renown for story telling didn’t choose the obvious message. Instead they built a compelling story centred on the Hawaiian people and culture. For the spa, the rainbow was chosen because it is revered in Hawaiian history and culture. The message of the rainbow is woven throughout the spa; from stories passed through the generations and native rituals, to physical manifestations that represent the Hawaiians duality with nature.

Well & Being Spas

Well & Being Spa’s “Live It Well” concept is another example. Integrating nutrition, healing therapies, fitness and traditional spa. An evidence based approach to nutrition and exercise plus a rotating menu of services and activities is paired with a pre arrival consultation to personalise your programme. A level of service rarely seen in spas.

To compete in this increasingly crowded space spas must be authentic and innovative.