While no-one definitively knows what the future will bring, it's possible to examine other industries as intelligent indicators of what the future may hold for spa and wellness.
Genuine change always comes from outside or the 'outliers'. We need only to look at the development of assembly-line robots in the 1980s to see this. Invented by technology students and developed from visionary start-ups, these robots were soon used in industries allover the world and now, industrial production without robots is unimaginable.
Barely 20 years later, the next revolution began with the first smartphone. Since its launch in 2007, consumers have become every-increasingly mobile, smart and independent.
Whether we want to withdraw money, book a car, a flight, a hotel room or buy tickets, today, it's a normal activity that we do by ourselves. In contrast to the robots of the industrial revolution, the digital revolution is purely based on us and our comfort.
Some may see this as alarming, but the flip-side is that we are ready to use any new technological offer, as long as it speeds up service and simplifies our lives.
Genuine change always comes from outside
Without doubt, spas cannot escape this digital revolution and the services spas offer will be put under the digital microscope to find streamlining potential. The spa industry needs to find a successful path towards these hyper self-organised consumers, who prefer Apps instead of speaking to humans, and jettison the obsolete within their operation.
In truth, there will soon be a time when we no longer need receptions at the entrance of a spa. What will it be good for in the future when guests already booked a treatment? I also predict that spas will no longer work mainly with permanent employees, because they don't want to wait for guests to come to their spas. Instead, spas will schedule a meeting in-time for both the guest and therapist.
Another consequence of digitalisation could be that communication skills in spa service will also change dramatically. It is conceivable that digital therapists could replace some of a spa's team members, freeing up other therapists to devote more time to the needs of their guests.
In a post-digital revolution era spas should be prepared to adapt to an ever-changing workplace landscape. Some may be frightened but, instead of fear, let us see what the future holds for the spa industry and embrace what comes as the fantastic opportunity it is.
Peter Urban is a specialist in communications and presented some fascinating insights into the changing nature of business at the recent Spa Life UK event.