JoAnn Kurtz-Ahlers, President of Kurtz-Ahlers & Associates Forecasts Spa and Wellness Trends for Luxury Travel in 2012 - 2013

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JoAnn Kurtz-Ahlers, President of Kurtz-Ahlers & Associates, shares her understanding of the luxury traveler mindset with a round up of spa and wellness experiences that are trending for 2012-2013.

Since launching Kurtz-Ahlers & Associates ( over 10 years ago, JoAnn Kurtz-Ahlers has represented some of the world’s most revered hotels, luxury yachts and first-class, destinations, providing these hospitality groups with individually designed services, including marketing, sales representation, and consulting. As President and Founder of the company, with over two decades of experience as an industry-leading Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Ritz-Carlton, Ms. Kurtz-Ahlers has a unique understanding of the mindset of the luxury traveler. For travel in 2012-13, Ms. Kurtz-Ahlers has released a roundup of experiences that are gaining a new wave of popularity amongst wellness travelers.

“Over the past two decades, the concept of spa has become much more than massages and beauty treatments in a calm and relaxed setting. Today, a new class of ‘wellness travelers’ are now turning to spas and retreats as a comprehensive solution to their physical and mental health goals,” said Ms. Kurtz-Ahlers. “According to the American Spa Association, stress is the number one reason people seek out spas. In this new era, wellness Spa retreats throughout the world are responding to these stress-related, health issues by offering guests unusual treatments and benefits that go above and beyond the traditional spa experience to help this new generation of wellness traveler achieve a wide array of goals, emotional, physical and aesthetic, in new and unique settings around the globe.”

Ms. Kurtz-Ahlers’ insights on guest expectations and passion for healthy living have contributed to her company, creating carving a a specialized niche in the contemporary wellness travel arena. With a portfolio of over 45 properties in 20 countries, Kurtz-Ahlers & Associates represents top wellness retreats including Chiva-Som in Thailand and The Ranch at Live Oak Malibu. “These properties provide an experience to guests that can be life-changing and inspire a dedication to healthy and mindful living.” By analyzing rising lifestyle trends in the U.S., in combination with her wide range insider’s perspective of the travel industry, knowledge, Ms. Kurtz-Ahlers notes the following spa and wellness offerings:

Sleep Retreats
According to surveys completed by the Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Centers, the average good night’s sleep is 6.5 hours per night. Once held at a standard of nine hours per night, it’s no secret that Americans are not getting the sleep replenishing rest they once did. Spas are responding to travelers’ needs by providing experiences that help induce relaxation and healthy and abundant sleep.

  •     The Spa at Aria in Las Vegas offers a Shio Salt Room, featuring zero gravity lounge chairs that gently vibrate in sync with the serene music that plays through via headphones that are provided to each guest during their relaxing, therapeutic sessions with well-qualified staff. The salt is intended to excrete toxins from guests’ skin while relaxing.
  • The Mayflower Inn & Spa, Washington, Connecticut provides a Sleep Well program, where guests receive private sleep consultation which offering offers tools and tricks on and knowledgeable tips on getting the most out of a night’s sleep and ways to reduce disturbances.

Total Focus
Through recent studies done at Harvard University, reports show that leisure time for the average individual has declined by as much as one third since the early 1970s. Wellness retreats are combating this trend beginning to take notice of these statistics by offering Total Focus programs.

  • Pritikin Longevity Center features a customized consultation which provides guests with unique strategies that allow them to learn how to maximize their working and leisure time as well as work from point A to point B with the little time available. , enabling guests to Guests use these teachings in their daily life to achieve lasting results.
  • Canyon Ranch in Tucson uses an integrated approach that is based on five primary areas of health to achieve a balanced lifestyle: Spiritual, Psychological, Physical, Nutritional and Aesthetic. The philosophy is intended to integrate all of the areas to promote positive mental health and wellbeing.

Total Detox & Healing
SpaFinder ( reports that more than 4 in 5 people are “extremely” or “very interested” in improving their personal wellness. Approximately 1 in 3 Americans currently uses complementary and alternative therapies/medicine as an adjunct to achieving a healthier lifestyle. That trend is manifesting itself in this new generation of wellness space. Today, thirty-six percent of spas offer alternative medicine therapies while another 38 percent plan to do so in the near future.

  • Guests of The Farm at San Benito in the Philippines can retreat to an idyllic and virtually hidden world for special detox and colon cleansing programs. For treatments to be effective, guests are asked to vow silence during the treatments, and must remain quiet to avoid unnecessary conversation and interruption, and interruptions during their visits, while also getting plenty of sleep during their stay. Their diets are carefully monitored to achieve a new balance within their physiologies, which is both therapeutic and educational for their daily routines after their visit, and are offered highly regulated foods.
  • Chiva Som in the Himalayas features pavilions of ancient Eastern medical practices and philosophies where practitioners educate guests with fresh methods new ways of approaching mental and physical health problems. Combining ancient Ayurvedic practices in food, treatment and philosophies provides travelers with a new way to feel experience the Western world. ( maybe we can figure out a quote to go after Chivasom my favorite place in the world!)>

Manning Up
And, these aren’t just your mother’s spas anymore. It’s a new world in wellness travel, and men are following the trend as well. Today, Americans spend more than $4.8 billion-per-year on men's grooming products; and wellness spas are increasingly upgrade their offerings to accommodate this new class of male wellness travelers, but beginning to take notice, offering a variety of specialized treatments especially for males men. In fact, this new wellness traveler means men are embracing wellness travel ranging from exhaustive fitness, to relaxing spa getaways, where the spa menus may offer deep scalp treatments, golfer’s massages, gentlemen’s facials and shaves, as well as anti-aging treatments and even customized manicure and pedicures.

  •     The Spa at Rancha La Puerta has designed designed hiking programs for men, to expand the male horizon to encompass the world as a way to work out beyond the indoor classes and gyms.
  •     Canyon Ranch in Tucson features a 50-minute Gentlemen's Facial focusing that focuses on relieving skin irritation due to razor burn. And, their manly mani-pedis use guy-friendly ingredients like sandalwood, mustard seed, eucalyptus, and thyme.

“I envision a world where wellness travel soon becomes a predominate part of the market,” Ms. Kurtz-Ahlers says. “Just as ‘green’ and ‘adventure’ travel have become a fresh way to think about how leisure time is spent, wellness travel is, I believe, the next wave of interest for a whole new audience. Travelers want to gain experience, not just miles and destinations, from their voyages. Their travel now is increasingly integrated, and filled with meaningful time enhancing both the mind and body. Within this burgeoning market, more and more travelers are gaining knowledge, health and overall wellbeing in ways that will only grow in the coming years.”

About Kurtz-Ahlers & Associates
Founded in 2002 by JoAnn Kurtz-Ahlers, Kurtz-Ahlers & Associates specializes in sales representation and consulting for exceptional hotels, yachts and destinations. Kurtz-Ahlers’ portfolio is comprised of over 45 properties in 20 countries, as well as several Wellness Resorts worldwide including luxury boot camp, spiritual retreat in the Himalayas, and a renowned Thai Destination Spa. Kurtz-Ahlers Wellness properties provide an experience to guests that can be life changing and inspire a dedication to healthy and mindful living. For more information, please visit

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