Although many have drawn on their resilience to find light in the darkness, there’s no denying it’s been a serious, worrying, stressful and sometimes tragic time for the majority since 11 March 2020 – the day the World Health Organization declared the most serious global pandemic of the modern age.
As we approach the second anniversary, I’ve been reflecting on the bigger picture and talking to industry contacts, family and friends to try to establish what we’ve lost, what we’ve gained and where we’re heading.
What I’ve found is that for many, life is lacking sparkle and has become more limited, more routine and a little grey. It seems we’re missing playfulness, impulsiveness, spontaneity and the opportunity for the creative self-expression that, in part, defines who we are.
Most admit these are first world problems and are grateful to have weathered the storm so far, but it’s clear that the sparks of joy that can make life more meaningful and experiences more memorable, have been in short supply.
As we limp wearily towards the end of the pandemic, with experts predicting two more winters of disruption before things start to stablise in 2024, there will be a huge appetite among consumers for playful, joyful experiences.
As a result, we’re predicting that play and playfulness will become a major growth area for the spa and wellness industry and in our next Spa Business Foresight report – due out in 2022 – this will be our number one trend.
For children, play is an essential part of development and for adults, it allows the recapturing of that spirit, with huge benefits for mental and physical health.
Right on cue, wellness community Serenbe, which is always so skilful at capturing the Zeitgeist, has announced its next development will be based on play, creating opportunities for spontaneous fun through its masterplanning, architecture and programming (page 25).
In this issue of Spa Business, our editors have travelled the world to bring you insights into life-changing experiences and it’s notable that the most vivid involve uninhibited playfulness – whether it’s Andrew Gibson howling at the moon in Norway (page 97) or Jane Kitchen playing with mud in Iceland (page 84). It’s clear that if you’re not already incorporating playfulness into your operation, it’s time to get creative and find ways to do so.