The Need for Collecting, Analyzing and Sharing Research in the Spa and Spa Resort/Hotel Industry

THE HOTEL / RESORT / SPA EDGE: A Challenging Experience

BE attended a Hotel/Resort Spa panel discussion at Cornelia Day Spa presented by The Cornell Hotel Society - NYC chapter ( Moderated by Professor Mary Tabacchi, the panelists were challenged with questions about the most pressing issues that face the Hotel and Resort spa industry today.

The world of "spa" is one of the areas where we, in the beauty industry, gather inspiration to develop new products and fresh treatment ideas that creates aspiration for our customers.

While listening to the discussions, we asked ourselves... How do these issues that face the profitable and luxurious hotel and resort spa industry affect us as beauty marketers?...Are there opportunities here?...Are there possibilities to join forces and expand our brands into new areas of distribution so that we both win?

Knowing some of the challenges that the luxury Spa world faces, BE poses thoughts and ideas of the possibilities of new areas for product development!



1. Being Green and Going Green in a Spa environment 2. Creating a universal definition and experience of "Spa" 3. Collecting comprehensive data that will create a successful Spa benchmark 4. Deciding which comes first? Branding or the client Spa Experience? 5. Meeting the demands for today's healthy, wealthy, baby boomers

According to Susie Ellis, President of SpaFinder, "It would help to have an agreed-upon definition of what we consider a ‘spa’. "One big issue is the lack of meaningful benchmarking in our industry. We need consolidated market intelligence, as well as standards by which data from diverse sources can be compared."


If a universal concept of Spa is defined, we as beauty marketers may need  to change our thinking about how we developaspirational products and our customer's thinking about how she uses and experiences the products we develop.

THE EXPERIMENTAL EDGE: Branding vs. A Spa Experience

While branding and communicating a spa culture was the constant theme throughout the discussions, the client's experience is just as important, as noted by audience guest and consumer trend specialist, Roben Allong  ( Roben states that "The "massification" of the Well-being trend and its growing placement in the mind of the average consumer makes the "spa experience" no longer exclusive only to the rich jet set but available, attractive and attainable to Joe and Josephine Average living in Topeka, Kansas shopping for well-being, natural treatment products at their local Target or Wal-Mart."

Evident through the discussions was that while the hotel industry is clearly branded, the spa industry may not concentrate so much on branding, as the goal of spas is to be unique.  Globally, techniques and expectations of treatments and services vary.  Additionally, spa dwellers in general need to better comprehend the difference between a $90 body massage and a $200 body massage.

In an effort to better understand and flesh out challenges in this industry, the first Global Spa Summit was held last year in NYC.  This year's summit is scheduled for May 18-20th, 2008 and is  by "invitation only" (   With an all inclusive price of $2290, for attendees, spouses and significant others are encouraged to attend all social functions and conference sessions at an additional $495.

EdgeNote: See Well-Being: Redefining a Mega Trend, the 2008 HBA/RealityCheck study that evaluates the emotional drivers for Well-Being and a look to the future of this mega trend. Available via podcast on both and websites shortly.


Where can babyboomers and 24/7 healthy wanna-a-be's go to "have it all"?  A Spa Lifestyle Community could be the answer.   According to Mary Gendron, “The trend toward incorporating spas into real estate communities makes perfect sense and is in line with the Baby Boom generation's concern with health and longevity." It also aligns with the value that younger generations are placing on work-life balance.


» Canyon Ranch Living     » Miraval Living

EdgeNote:  Are Spa Communities the opportune place for larger companies to co-brand?...or identify a new distribution channel?

THE PANELISTS: Information and Contact Links

While all of the solutions may not yet be answered for the luxury spa industry, there certainly seems to be opportunities to join forces with another division of beauty. Feel free to contact the panelists directly for further questions and BeautyEdge for all of your innovative product development needs.


Susie Ellis: Susie is president of SpaFinder, leads the world's most prominent spa marketing, media and research company, and is recognized worldwide as a top authority on the spa industry.


Sandra Sadowski:  Sandra is the Director of Spa and Fitness la prairie at The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Board of Directors Member of NYSPA (New York Spa Alliance), Ritz-Carlton Spa Advisory Board Member, New York Spa and Resort Expo Advisory Board Member, ISPA member and SpaBuzz Member.


Deniz Omurgonulsen:  Deniz is the Director, Membership Development at The Leading Hotels of the World, Ltd. Leading Spas is the first and only global accreditation program for luxury spas.

» Leading Hotels of the World Spas


Matthew Melville: 

Matthew is a Senior Associate with the New York Office of HVS, a global hospitality consulting and services firm.

More information on Mr. Melville's background can be found via the following link:

» Matthew Melville


Steven O'Neal: 

Steven is the General Manager of Cornelia Day Resort; David Evangelista Salon at Cornelia Day Resort. With 8 years in the spa and fitness industry, Steven has held senior level roles  with Hilton Hotel’s luxury portfolio premiere Hotel-Spa, NYC’s Peninsula Spa and Equinox Fitness and Spa, respectfully.

» Cornelia Day Resort

Mary Gendron:

Mary Gendron is president of Middleton & Gendron, Inc., an award-winning New York-based public relations and brand communications firm that specializes in luxury hospitality, travel, and luxury goods and services, including spas. She was a founding board member of ISPA and currently serves on the board of New York Spa Alliance.

» Middleton & Gendron, Inc.

Anne R. Lloyd-Jones:

Anne is Senior Vice President of the New York office of HVS, the premiere global hospitality consulting firm. Ms. Lloyd-Jones’ particular areas of expertise include market studies, feasibility analysis, and appraisals. She has extensive consulting experience with an array of specialty hospitality properties, including spas, destination resorts and conference centers. More complete information can be found at:

» Anne Lloyd-Jones

Professor Mary Tabacchi, PhD, RD:

Doctor Tabacchi has been active in the spa industry since the early 1980s. Mary began teaching spa management and development in 1985 at Cornell University's Hospitality Management program and continues to do so presently. She has published hundreds of spa research papers and contributes frequently to Spa Business, Spa Asia, Asia Spa and Destination Spas.