What do human rights protests in Hong Kong, a 16-year-old girl sailing across the Atlantic and a Trump fundraiser have to do with the spa and wellness industry? Turns out they’re the canaries in the coalmine, the predictors of forces which will define and shape the future of our industry.
Unrest in Hong Kong led to the relocation of the Global Wellness Summit to Singapore this year – an unprecedented move which shows how unexpected events in even the most established markets can change business models almost overnight.
As awareness of Greta Thunberg’s Atlantic crossing and climate emergency message spreads, flying will become less and less socially acceptable to the many people who have – to this point – see it as a desirable lifestyle choice.
Operators who rely on inbound tourists are advised to incubate new business in local markets as flying becomes toxic.
There are already signs this is happening and in this issue, we talk to Rosewood (page 48) about how its latest spa concept has been designed with an 80/20 focus on local customers.
The unpredictable state of our global political set-up is also reshaping business at an accelerating pace – just ask high-end fitness and wellness operator, Equinox, which has had a tough couple of weeks.
Right in the middle of the launch of two major initiatives – its first wellness hotel and first range of home workouts – the company was hit with a reputational crisis as it was revealed that the ultimate owner of the business was about to host a fundraising event for Donald Trump.
This wouldn’t have mattered so much if Equinox hadn’t spent decades building its tribe of liberal, left-leaning customers. The outcome has been a boycott by members.
So how do we respond to this age of uncertainty? By raising our eyes to the horizon, tuning in to every worldshifting change and adapting what we do to survive and thrive while being true to our values as an industry.