Throughout the pandemic, the International Spa Association
(ISPA) has championed the strength of the spa community and strived to support, inform and inspire the industry as it grapples with the new challenges of operating in a COVID-19 landscape.
During 10-14 May, ISPA hosted its first virtual Stronger Together Summit in place of its annual in-person conference and expo, packed full of insightful keynotes, educational content, Town Halls and more.
After a busy week of content, Spa Business
asked ISPA board chair Patrick Huey and ISPA president Lynne McNees for their favourite moments and key takeaways.Lynne’s highlights1. We really are stronger together
It’s now been nearly two years since we were able to gather in person at an ISPA Conference & Expo, but the Stronger Together Summit was a welcome reminder that our industry really is at its best when we unite with a common purpose. 2. Tough times haven’t curbed our industry’s generosity
For much of the last year, we’ve seen spas and resource partners support a wide array of inspiring causes and initiatives, and the ISPA community carried that spirit into our 2021 ISPA Foundation Spring Auction. More than 100 items were generously donated, and our bidders came through in a big way, raising US$54,000 for the ISPA Foundation, which funds ISPA’s research efforts, scholarship opportunities and other initiatives.3. The pandemic has hit the industry hard, but there’s much to be optimistic about
Unveiling the “Big Five” statistics from the annual ISPA US Industry Study
has been a joyous occasion for much of the last decade as the industry rebounded from the great recession and soared to new heights.
This year, the figures weren’t quite as happy, but to hear PricewaterhouseCoopers’s leader of global research Colin McIlheney say there is pent-up demand for spa services was highly encouraging. We’re confident in the rebound to come! 4. Talent and workforce issues remain top-of-mind across the industry
In nearly every session, our industry’s workforce challenges were a topic of conversation among panellists and attendees alike. Those challenges aren’t new, but they’ve been complicated further by COVID-19, and ISPA is currently developing a Talent Toolkit to provide members with additional resources to optimise their talent management strategies. 5. Don’t doubt the spa industry for one second
During his Power Session, Seth Godin
shared a story about meeting Nel Armstrong, who glanced at the moon and said, “I’ve been there.” He encouraged us to remember that with less computing power than most of us carry in our pockets, NASA put a man on the moon. The impossible can be made possible, and after such a trying period, Seth’s story was such a welcome reminder of what people are capable of, no matter the scale of the task ahead of them.
Recovering from a global pandemic is a big task, but after a week of seeing our industry energised and ready to tackle the future, I wouldn’t dare bet against it.Patrick’s highlights1. The industry has changed, but the core of what we do is firmly intact and more important than ever
Starting with Seth Godin’s message on the opening day of the Summit, we heard again and again about the ways in which our world has changed. Marketing, hiring, scheduling, revenue management and so much more has been altered by the pandemic, but so has the way the world views mental and physical wellbeing. Spas bring relief and healing through human touch and a focus on holistic wellness, which, going forward uniquely positions us to bring the mission of spa to more people than ever before.2. Value in the virtual space
Although we’ve all likely experienced moments where we wanted to swear off Zoom calls forever, the summit was a reminder of all the ways we’ve been able to leverage technology for good over the past year. In fact, ISPA’s virtual offerings have been so popular with members that we’re going to continue the virtual Town Hall series with monthly events starting on 17 June.3. The pandemic challenged us, but there’s a lot of good to take away
In his Power Session, Seth Mattison
urged attendees to “reframe the story” of our experiences over the last year and think about how everything we’ve gone through might be recontextualised and used to motivate us and drive us forward.
It’s such a challenging thing to do, but we’ve already seen so many in our industry turn an awful situation into something positive through their creativity and passion for people, and I’ve no doubt we’ll continue to be amazed by the ways in which our colleagues reframe their stories. 4. The ISPA audience remains hungry for quality education
The summit’s nearly 1,000 attendees were highly engaged in the Summit’s Knowledge Builder sessions, and it seems clear our industry is ready to step into a new phase armed with all we’ve learned over the last year.5. The ISPA community is ready to be truly together again
We’re thrilled with the way the summit went, and feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. That said, I’m sure I felt the energy rise and mood lift every time a reference was made to the upcoming 2022 ISPA Conference & Expo in Las Vegas and the opportunity to once again see each other in person. We are, of course, ready for that day to come as well, and we’re eager to pour everything we’ve learned over the last 15 months into a can’t-miss event next May!To register for access to on-demand content from the summit, head to ISPA's official website