The opportunity for spas to help with the ‘age of loneliness’ that we’re seeing globally was highlighted, in-depth recently in Spa Business (see SB15/2 p86). However, there were a couple of points I’d like to bring to the table that weren’t covered.
Firstly, I feel technology is what’s driving this change. Although we’re connected to each other over the internet – we spend more time, on average, in front of our various screens than we do sleeping – we’re interacting far less in person. This is particularly the case in the developing world, with India, China and Brazil’s singleton populations growing the fastest.
Secondly, while the article focused primarily on how destination spas could tackle loneliness, I think it’s day spas that have a bigger role to play. Those wellness properties closest to our homes, in our own backyards, have an opportunity to become the new ‘third place’. Just like the ‘Starbucks phenomenon’, where the local coffee shop became a favoured destination between the office and the homes, so too can day spas, yoga studios and wellness centres.
We’re seeing this hyper-social behaviour already emerging in the fitness industry, with brands such as CrossFit and SoulCycle bringing together individuals to sweat it out. These brands have found a way to foster a culture of community along with wellbeing (or at least one aspect of it), resulting in clients who not only work out together but who even vacation together. Arguably it’s technology that helped formed that community – aiding offline, as well as online, connections.
If this is something the spa industry – particularly day spas – can tap into, it could be one way to reach out to lonely people.
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