Shooting from the hip

Spas must widen their horizons

16th Jul 2018
Spas must widen their horizons

As a Board Member of the Global Wellness Summit, Dr Franz Linser is a passionate strategist and pioneer in modern-day hotel spa and wellness projects. Here he is 'Shooting from the hip' about how spas need to widen their focus from the 'momentary wellness' services currently being offered.


Spas have to be seen as a mirror of society; a spa offers what life outside can’t. It is crucial for the sustainable success of spas to understand the customers’ lives outside. We need to find out what the real desires of potential spa customers are.


Our working and living habits have changed dramatically. Unsurprisingly, people have reacted to this change: having worked hard and not having taken enough care of themselves, people have developed a strong desire to take time out, to relax and to reload. Inhaling the warm atmosphere of a spa, breathing in the relaxing smells and feeling the healing hands has been seen by many the antithesis to the cold and dehumanised world outside. The pampering spa, perfectly designed to make people forget about the outside world.


Future spas will have to widen their horizons, knowing that life is about much more than momentary wellbeing


But the kind of wellbeing achievable with this strategy is wellness only for the moment. No sustainable improvements to take home. Times have changed. The problems have changed. Our reasons for feeling unwell and getting sick have changed. Socio-cultural and psychological features influence our health more now than mere physiological processes. In addition to healthy workouts, nutrition and relaxation we need – more than ever – a healthy relationship with ourselves and our surroundings as well as healthy social contacts.


Can a spa provide programmes for that? One is tempted to say no. Scientific knowledge indicates many of today’s sicknesses originate in mental and social deficiencies, with physical and aesthetic problems being the only visible symptoms.


People who understand why to change will adopt change


Health and wellbeing must therefore be redefined. Wellbeing is about the acceptance of the rules of nature. It is about a deeper understanding of the interaction of body and spirit. It is about strategies to balance emotions, work and leisure, social interactions and personal desires. Health today is about life. And he who can’t manage his life can’t manage his health.


People who understand why to change will adopt change and in this way it will become a positive strategy for their very personal goals. People will want to change. Otherwise, change will be merely a fight against one’s own body and will be likely to fail.


Consequently, future spas will have to widen their horizons, knowing that life is about much more than momentary wellbeing. Life is about embracing all spheres; life is about happiness. Hence, a successful spa strategy has to be holistic, treating people as a whole. In other words, modern health management is lifestyle management. 


A successful spa strategy has to be holistic, treating people as a whole


The successful spas in the upcoming decade will be those that accompany people along this truly passionate and emotional way to their individual self. Their success will be based on the simple fact that they deal with lifestyle as a whole and not merely with selected (aesthetic) facets.


And if it is true that markets always react to the real desires of customers, it is to be expected that in addition to aestheticians and therapists there will be psychologically trained staff and lifestyle coaches joining the spa teams of the future. They won’t be dressed in white nor will they be curing sick people. However, they will be there, ready to talk and help and they will be an integrative part of the lifestyle management programs of the future spa.

About Dr Franz Linser:

With more than 20 years’ experience in the wellness and spa industry, Dr. Franz Linser is Founder and CEO of Linser Hospitality, an international consulting firm based in Austria. He is a sought-after consultant who develops innovative, state-of-the-art health and wellness projects. Franz is a passionate strategist and pioneer in modern day hotel concepts and a member of the Board of Directors of the Global Wellness Institute

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