New York, NY (PRWEB) July 09, 2012
The Global Spa & Wellness Summit (GSWS) today reported that its recent conference in Aspen, Colorado attracted a record 325 delegates from 40 nations. Held for the first time in collaboration with another organization, the international think-tank the Aspen Institute, delegates at the sixth-annual conference gathered to explore and debate the most innovative, imaginative ways forward for the worldwide spa and wellness industry.
The eclectic, idea-packed agenda of 50 presentations and panels was purposely designed to shake the industry up. Delegates heard from a former President, an Academy award-nominated actress, a former U.S. Surgeon General, a top Google exec, the Governor of Colorado and Disney Imagineering’s former chair. They learned about “big picture” economic and geopolitical trends set to transform the world. They identified emerging industry opportunities from coaching to mental wellness, while receiving crash courses in the latest brain, willpower, “happiness” and telomere science that suggest entirely new industry directions. And they learned from “innovation teachers” like famed expert, John Kao, whose dynamic presentation using jazz piano taught delegates how to unlock the creative process.
Although the conference is designed as an intimate, invite-only event, the Summit’s mission is to support the growth of all 75,000 spas worldwide. So, the GSWS announced today that PowerPoints, session notes, video and numerous research reports are now available to all at: http://www.globalspaandwellnesssummit.org/index.php/summit-2012/presentations-2012
“So much talent, from so many different perspectives, industries and cultures, was assembled in Aspen, challenging us to think in profoundly new ways. A true idea-fest, it provided some much-needed inspiration and conceptual grist to start imagining what ‘Spa 2.0’ might actually look like,” said Philippe Bourguignon, co-chair of the 2012 conference agenda. “Experts and entrepreneurs from outside our sector were stunned by our industry's size, complexity and opportunities ahead – while at the same time pointing out how limiting the word/concept ‘spa’ may now be, given the vastly expanded health and wellness opportunities before us.”
Looming Geo-Political Sea-Changes Demand Innovation: Keynotes from economic and political heavy-hitters like Elizabeth Stephenson of McKinsey & Co.; former U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Richard Carmona; Former co-chair of the World Economic Forum, Philippe Bourguignon; former President of Costa Rica, Jose Figueres-Olsen; and Colorado Governor, John Hickenlooper all explained diverse “big picture” economic, demographic and environmental changes looming over the next decades. Delegates digested the radical shift in economic power towards emerging markets that’s underway: i.e., 50% of GDP growth in the next decade will come from non-OECD nations, while global per-capita-income in 200 emerging markets will double by 2020. They digested future environmental realities, like the 30%+ increase in total, global resource consumption (oil, water, etc.) expected by 2020 - and the health crisis realities, including the spread of preventable, chronic diseases worldwide, which will cost the U.S. alone $5.5 trillion over the next few years. And they learned that if population growth has been the #1 driver of economic (and spa industry) growth in mature markets these last decades, this will decidedly not be the case going forward. Growth will have to come from innovation.
Industry Opportunities Identified: Dozens of innovative spa/wellness industry opportunities were presented, and hot-button ones included:
Dr. Joseph Hutter, Fellow at the Institute for Health Care Delivery Research and a panelist on the Aspen Institute session, summed up many of these industry ways-forward: “Spas have got to stop selling a checklist of isolated services, and start offering a total way to live. And when they become more complete and accessible wellness advocates, educators and providers, this industry could go from being mere enclaves, to beachheads, of innovation.” Leading thinker on innovation and enterprise transformation, John Kao, agreed: “Spas need to move from the ‘event-driven’ model and create much more sustainable connections and experiences.”
New Research: With last year’s delegate poll revealing that “training/education” was the industry’s #1 obstacle to growth, for 2012 the GSWS sponsored SRI International’s “Spa Management Workforce & Education: Addressing Market Gaps.” The key piece of research unveiled this year, its findings represent an industry wake-up call:
Industry as Job Creator: Keynote speaker Colorado Governor Hickenlooper noted, “…that 49 out of 50 U.S. governors, and the vast majority of senators are concerned about jobs” – and unemployment is, of course, also a serious problem in the eurozone. As the spa/wellness sector grows, the demand for more (and better trained) spa management professionals, therapists and aestheticians is also booming. So, starting to aggressively tackle the serious industry education challenges would represent not only a huge boon to spas, but to economies worldwide. More findings from the new SRI research will be released next week.
Other research reports released at the Summit include:
Civano Living, “Boomer Values Realignment Study”
Euromonitor, “Understanding the Global Consumer For Health & Wellness”
GSWS, “Industry Briefing Papers” (perspectives on industry innovation from around the world)
IDEA, “Fitness Programs & Equipment Trends”
The IHRSA Global Report (health club trends)
McCann Group, “The Truth About Beauty”
PKF, “Trends in the Hotel Spa Industry”
Smith Travel Research, “Data, Dollars, and Decisions” (benchmarking data for luxury hotels/spas)
SpaFinder, “2012 Spa Trend Report”
India & Innovation Awards in 2013: In 2013 the GSWS moves to India, one of the ancient “spiritual homes” of the global wellness movement, and also one of the fastest-growing economies, technology sectors and spa industries. Dates and the exact venue will be announced in coming months. To further incite industry innovation, the GSWS Board of Directors has announced that a new awards program honoring the most innovative spa/wellness concepts will launch at next year’s Summit.
About the Summit: The Global Spa & Wellness Summit (GSWS) is an annual event that attracts executives and leaders from around the world with an interest in the spa and wellness industries. Delegates from diverse sectors, including the hospitality, tourism, finance, medical, real estate, manufacturing, technology, consulting and product industries attend this invitation-only gathering. The GSWS has been responsible for some of the most important spa industry research, including the “Global Spa Economy Report,” “Spas and the Global Wellness Market,” “Spa Management Workforce & Education” (all conducted by SRI International), and “Wellness Tourism & Medical Tourism: Where Do Spas Fit?” The organization also recently launched SpaEvidence.com, the world’s first online portal to the medical evidence for common spa/wellness therapies. The Summit was honored as "Spa Event of the Year" for the last three years by AsiaSpa magazine’s awards program.
*SRI International, “Spas & the Global Wellness Market,” 2010
**WHO data 2010; Int’l Obesity Taskforce data, 2008