UK consumers are counting the days until spas reopen, according to the results of a new survey. Many might expect COVID-19 to have knocked confidence in the industry, but the desire for a stress-busting massage seems stronger than ever – with men leading the charge to the treatment tables. But when they do return, things will look quite different.
The Good Spa Guide – the UK’s leading editorial and spa listings website, asked 5,000 spa-goers what they were most looking forward to, what worried them, and how their habits might change.
Overall it’s good news for UK spas, with 80% of respondents keen to visit now or in the next few months, with little regional variation to the question. Most (65%) cited ‘just relaxing in a spa environment’ as the main reason for returning, suggestive of how difficult people have found the pandemic. 6% plan to visit more regularly than before. Furthermore, despite financial pressures, they expect to spend the same or more than they did previously, with the core market, aged 46-60 being the most confident. Men are most likely to return straight away – and splash the most cash.
Caitlin Dalton, Editor at Good Spa Guide, said: “It’s great to see such consumer confidence. Spas are already among the most hygienic spaces with incredibly vigilant cleaning processes. Ahead of reopening they are reviewing and enhancing their protocols to ensure the safest environment for guests.”
Socially Distanced Facilities
With social distancing measures in place, the majority feel that spas offer a safe environment. Only 14% said they wouldn’t want to use thermal facilities, just 5% would be unwilling to swim in a chlorinated pool and 4% said no to relaxation rooms. An overwhelming majority said they’d probably feel happier outside, so spas are expected to ramp up their outdoor facilities.
Caitlin Dalton, Editor at Good Spa Guide, said: “It’s inspiring to see how spas have responded to the crisis, and are pivoting their offering. We expect the industry to change quite a lot, but for the better. Spas are being forced to innovate. Good spa managers see this as an opportunity to be creative in the way they deliver quality guest experiences in the new circumstances. They’re developing a whole new toolbox, and that’s really exciting.”
Despite the positive outlook, spas need to put adequate protocols in place – 82% of people wanted to know about a spa’s hygiene policy in advance. Many of them expected that policy to include regular testing of staff and a limit on the number of guests. Nearly everyone (98%) would be happy to have their temperature checked on arrival.
Spa-goers aged 61+ were the most apprehensive, expressing concern about certain treatments. Overall, people would like therapists to wear PPE such as a mask, with a smaller number expecting them to wear gloves and a disposable apron. To increase safety measures, some brands are introducing machine-led facilities and no contact products, from massage beds to facial tools.
The majority of respondents said they would be happy having a treatment when spas reopen. 69% felt comfortable booking a beauty treatment such as a manicure or pedicure; 60% were happy with a massage and 50% felt happy with a facial or eye treatment. Two- to three-night wellness breaks will remain popular, especially those focusing on sleep and nutrition. Other requests include ‘connection classes’ to help us reconnect after lockdown, and online follow-up consultations.