With the rapid growth of the Indian wellness and spa industry, a globally accepted and well equipped spa is the need of the hour By Archana Sharma
The idea of ‘wellness’ has become increasingly ingrained in conventional notions of what constitutes a healthy lifestyle, complementing existing scientific and medical approaches to health. Keeping this in mind, the global spa industry has responded by innovating a broad spectrum of offerings that can fulfill increasingly savvy consumer demands. In India, the concept of ‘wellness’ can be found interwoven into various aspects of local culture, through the traditions and practice of Ayurveda and yoga, though the preferences and attitudes of modern Indian spa consumers are now evolving, becoming more aware about the quality and value of products and services they purchase and more open to experimenting with new and different offerings.
A research by SRI International, the non-profit research partner of the Global Spa & Wellness Summit (GSWS) showed that the global spa industry grew 58 per cent from 2007- 2013, reaching a value of US$ 94 billion, with a 47 per cent growth in spa locations. Wellness tourism, meanwhile, also expanded to US$ 494 billion in revenues, rising 12.5 per cent from 2012-2013, when the SRI had originally forecasted a growth of nine per cent only.
Both domestic and global visitation trends in India have demonstrated relatively steady growth during the past 10 years, with domestic visits surpassing one billion and foreign visits reaching 21 million in 2012, according to India’s ministry of tourism (MoT).
International health and wellness tourists, particularly from the Middle East, are flocking to India in record numbers. In 2012, India hosted almost 1.66 lakh medical tourists from all over the world and has shown a 20 per cent annual growth rate, according to MoT.
India is also poised to become the fifth largest consumer market globally by 2020, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) report. According to a Hilton Hotels & Resorts survey, 45 per cent of respondents indicated the existence of a spa attracted them to a particular hotel, and 69 per cent expressed that there was a good chance they would use the spa during their stay, proving India to be having most of the demographic advantages of an ideal market for leading global spa and wellness brands. PwC valued India’s total wellness market at US$ 9.6 billion in 2011 and forecasted that it would surpass US$ 16.3 billion during the next four years. However, such growth requires regulating the spa industry to international standards. “Being leaders in the hotel arena and market place, we have to position our spa and salon and recreational facilities on a global level with international standards, policies and procedures,” states, Hayley Louise Dack, director, The Imperial Spa and Salon. Believing in forging stronger ties with their clients and providing the best for them, Dack added, “We encourage strong and healthy business relationships that are mutually viable for both parties and it is also in our best interests to provide guests with the best standards.”
According to Gaurav Halwasiya, partner, Wellness Spa India, “There is a huge potential for owners to capitalise on the development pipeline by designing full-service spa facilities in tandem with anticipated hotel growth and demand.” Brands like Esthetica, Doctor H2O, Evavo Wellness and Wellness India, Fit & Spa Solutions, etc, are already providing high quality equipments to salons and spas, through exports. “Apart from this there are a lot of small players in the market who are operating in their respective local markets and providing spa and salon equipments to beauty care centres,” adds Halwasiya. Wellness spa India provides complete solutions for setting up a spa and wellness centre, having already supplied wellness products to more than 300 spas across India and are centrally contracted with some leading hotel chains and hospitality business houses for their requirements.
At The Imperial Spa and Salon, procurement is a process where the department head and spa director works closely with the director of purchasing and vendors. “This has been one of the main reasons why we have won many awards and acknowledgments within the industry such as world luxury spa awards and Asia Spa Geospa Awards,” adds Dack. With changing lifestyle, people are spending more on beauty solutions leading to the increase in demand for salon and spa equipments. According to Vishal Sapra, director of rooms, Hyatt Regency Gurgaon, “All spa equipments such as treatment beds, hot stone warmer, hot towel cabinet and facial steamer, etc have been sourced internationally to strictly adhere to Hyatt International specifications, as at Shvasa Spa we believe in inspiring one to retrieve the balance of body, mind and soul by offering health and well being therapies.” The facilities at Shvasa Spa have been planned to accommodate hotel guests as well as visitors from outside the hotel and an exclusive limited membership from other parts of the city.
According to Halwasiya, striking a balance between the price and visual appeal is an important matter. “For commercial setups, there are many factors which define the investment required like concept, locality, equipments, interiors, operator, products, etc,” he says.
Also taking into consideration the training costs, Dack says, “You need to be extremely selective with your employees as their skills will impact your business. In India, availability of skilled therapists or masseurs is not very easy. At The Imperial Spa and Salon, we ensure that our staff is properly trained to look after the needs of guests.”