Everyone is feeling anxious about returning to public spaces including spas following the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the new ISPA Consumer Snapshot Initiative.
“We know that COVID-19 has created a lot of uncertainty in many industries, including the spa industry,” says ISPA President Lynne McNees, in a news release. “This new research offers clarity at a time when we know it’s in short supply, providing key insights into real-life consumer attitudes as our members make plans for reopening their spas in an unprecedented climate.”
Thirty-eight percent of respondents reported that they would be very nervous to take a flight, while 30 percent would feel that way about attending a work-related conference or convention. Fully 25 percent say they would feel very nervous about visiting a spa after the crisis ends, the survey found.
When spa-goers return, however, they are likely to do so with a new set of expectations for the spa experience. Concerns about the need for social distancing and a heightened awareness of sanitation in public spaces are likely to drive consumer decision making, with 60 percent of spa-goers noting that they will likely ask about hygiene and sanitation practices when they next visit a spa.
“Following an event like the COVID-19 crisis, consumers are going to have concerns, and it seems clear that ‘business as usual’ won’t fly,” adds Colin McIlheney, global research director at PricewaterhouseCoopers. “But having these insights into specific consumer concerns and expectations gives spas the opportunity to be proactive in addressing them and making guests feel more comfortable from the moment they arrive.”
The pandemic has also led to an increased consumer focus on at-home wellness, which spas may need to address by emphasizing the value and quality of the professional treatments and services they provide. If they can communicate that value, the data suggests that consumers will respond, as more than 80 percent of respondents say they plan to spend as much or more on spa visits once the pandemic ends, indicating that demand for spa services may be high upon reopening.
Respondents’ increased attention to wellness, in general, is also a positive sign for the industry. Forty percent agree that they are getting more physical exercise during the pandemic, 41 percent say that they’re eating more healthfully and 55 percent are doing more to look after their well-being, which may indicate a greater desire for investing in their health and accessing spa services once guests are able to return.