New ISPA Survey Of Spa-Goers Shows A Big Market Waiting To Be Tapped

TAMPA, FL? There is a large untapped market for spas, both day facilities as well as those operated at hotels, resorts and on board cruise ships, a recent study commissioned by the International Spa Association indicates. Only 7% of adults in the United States visit day spas, yet 32% are interested in going to one, according to the survey called ?The American Spa-Goer: Market Habits, Preferences and Intentions.? Conducted by Yesawich, Pepperdine & Brown, the survey consisted of 357 telephone interviews with consumers who reported going to a day spa one or more times in the past year and 351 interviews with consumers who reported visiting a resort, hotel, destination or cruise spa during the past 12 months. Results of the poll were presented at the ninth annual conference of the International Spa Association (ISPA). ?The data very clearly indicates a high level of interest in spas,? said ISPA President Jane Segerberg, who is also spa director for the Sea Island Spa at The Cloister in Sea Island, GA. Noting that the future looks ?very bright? for the spa industry, Segerberg said, ?That is largely thanks to baby boomers who, by the year 2000, will be mostly middle aged. This group knows they?re going to live longer than any generation before them and they want to stay healthy so they can enjoy it.? While Segerberg could not estimate the total amount spent at spas on an annual basis, she noted that 40% of ISPA?s 1,300 members have annual sales in the $1 million to $5 million range and 27% do between $5 million and $10 million. Segerberg also reported that members have seen 16% growth in spa visits this year, with 33,000 visits the average on an annual basis or 90 visits per day at each spa. Relaxation is the major reason survey respondents gave for visiting a spa. Other key reasons are pampering and stress reduction followed by weight loss, health reasons, exercise and fitness. Deep muscle massage is the most desirable offering of a day spa, according to 74% of those polled. Warm weather climate was the most important attribute of a resort or destination spa and was named by 70% of respondents. Of resort/destination/cruise spa-goers, 56% reported healthy meal choices to be important in the selection of accommodations. Spa facilities were important to 42% of those surveyed, and workout facilities were important to 37%. Other highlights of the survey: ? The majority of both day spa-goers and resort/destination/cruise spa-goers consider themselves to be in good or excellent health. The majority also worry about health concerns, including what they eat and getting enough exercise. Some 66% of day spa-goers and 65% of resort/destination/cruise spa-goers take vitamins, and 58% of day spa-goers and 61% of resort/destination/cruise spa-goers limit the amount of fat they eat. ? Among day spa-goers, 47% consider themselves average weight and 44% said they are above average in weight. Of resort/destination/cruise spa- -goers agreed with the statement: ?I am always looking for new ways of reducing stress in my life.? ? 51% of day spa respondents and 41% of resort/destination/cruise spa-goers agreed with the statement: ?My looks are important to me.? However, only 17% and 15%, respectively, agreed with the statement: ?I will do whatever it takes to look as young as possible.? ? 63% of day spa-goers and 71% of resort/destination/ cruise spa-goers reported that taking long, vigorous walks is the activity they do on a regular basis. 50% of both groups reported that they ride a stationary bike on a regular basis. ? Among day spa-goers, 12% used the Internet to obtain spa and/or pricing information within the last 12 months while 4% used the Internet to purchase spa products. Of resort/ destination/cruise spa-goers, 52% used the Internet to obtain spa and/or pricing information within the last 12 months while 6% used the Internet to purchase spa products. ISPA?s 1,300 members include health and wellness facilities and providers in 38 cou