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Key Preliminary Findings of the ISPA 2007 Spa Industry Study

LEXINGTON, Ky. – August 21, 2007 - Journalists from global television networks, the world’s largest newspapers and most popular magazines were introduced to 25 of the world’s top spas during the 2007 International SPA Association Media Event. Held Aug. 9 in New York, N.Y., the more than 140 leading journalists in attendance were the first media to learn the findings of inaugural research on the global spa consumer as well as new statistics on the U.S. spa industry.

“The ISPA Media Event has grown from an intimate luncheon to the must-attend event for the latest spa news and trends,” said ISPA President Lynne McNees. “With nearly 100 million spa-goers worldwide, consumers crave information on the spa industry. It’s exciting to have partnerships with leading media to spread the benefits of the spa lifestyle. It’s also amazing each year to meet so many new journalists who are covering the industry as well seeing the friends we have been working with for years.”  

The diversity in the spa industry is evidenced by the varied array of media outlets that were represented this year. The diverse outlets included: the Travel Channel, NBC’s “Today Show,” CNN, FOX, CNBC, The Martha Stewart Show, The Associated Press, Reuters, PARADE, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Body + Soul, Condé Nast Traveler, Vogue, SmartMoney and Every Day with Rachael Ray. Journalists who cover lifestyle, wellness, travel, leisure, food, beauty and business were each able to find targeted story ideas for their audiences.

The Press Conference

Held at Cipriani, the event began with a press conference. Since 1991, ISPA has been the definitive leader for spa industry education and this year’s announcements held true to that reputation. The news included key preliminary findings of the ISPA 2007 Spa Industry Study from ISPA Chairman Jim Root as well as a global look at spa consumers from Jim Quilty, vice president, travel and tourism research, for Harris Interactive. Highlights included:

2007 ISPA Spa Industry Study


  • As of July, there were 14,600 spas in the United States representing a 6 percent growth from August 2006 when there were 13,800.
  • Day spas remain the most prevalent spa type.
  • The U.S. spa industry generated an estimated $9.4 billion in 2006.
  • Compared to the 2005 figure of $9.7 billion, findings point to stability in spa industry revenue as the change in revenue from 2005 to 2006 falls well within the margin of error.
  • There were an estimated 110 million visits to spas in 2006 compared to 131 million visits in 2005.
  • ISPA Chairman Root noted the new statistics indicate that the industry could now be classified as mature. “This year’s industry figures show something that ISPA has been predicting – spa sector growth can no longer be described as exponential or exploding. Instead, the industry is expanding at a healthy, steady pace. Just eight years ago, there were an estimated 4,100 spas in the United States. The previous exponential growth allowed a spot for anyone who wanted to add ‘spa’ to their sign. Today’s consumers are savvy about the spa experience and they won’t accept anything that is not a true spa experience.” 
  • The total number of employees is down 12 percent from last August to July (full-time down 5 percent, part-time down 27 percent, contract up 3 percent).
  • Root delved deeper into these figures: “As staffing remains a huge challenge for the industry, the labor figures are the first sign in this developing story. We’ll have a clearer picture in November when the complete study is released as it will include figures on how many unstaffed positions spas have open for management and technical staff as well as which positions are the most difficult to fill.” 
Square Footage
  • U.S. spas occupy more than 56 million feet, up 12 percent from a year ago (49 million).
2007 ISPA Global Consumer Report
  • It is estimated there are nearly 100 million active spa-goers worldwide. This includes research from 12 countries - Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Singapore, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom and Unites States.
  • Women continue to rule as spa-goers. However, men account for more than 40 percent of spa-goers in Australia, Austria, Germany, Japan, Singapore, Spain and Thailand. 
  • On average, spa-goers are in their upper 30s to early 40s.
  • The need to take time out spans continents, as relaxation and relieving stress are universally cited as the primary reasons for visiting spas. Nice!
  • Facials, sauna/steam baths and full-body massages are among the most popular treatments worldwide
The complete studies will be released at the 2007 ISPA Conference & Expo, Nov. 12-15, in Kissimmee, Fla., U.S.A.

The Interactive Spa Marketplace

After their heads were filled with facts and figures, the journalists then headed into the Interactive Spa Marketplace for some deadline-free relaxation. The Marketplace featured 25 ISPA spa members as well as the association’s two corporate partners. The sponsors arranged mini spas and offered treatments and demonstrations to the media guests.

Trends included:

  • Embracing Nature – Seven of the spas offered treatments using ingredients that are local to their properties. From Maine to California, the array of ingredients read like a gardener’s list including Moroccan mint, pomegranate, lavender, geranium, dandelion and cedar. These items were incorporated into scrubs, used in massages and added to hand and foot treatments.
  • A Taste of Spa Cuisine – We all love to eat and the Media Event sponsors taught the media how to do it better! Spritzers, elixirs and small bites abounded as the sponsors demonstrated that spa cuisine is healthy and tasty. At least three spas offered food and drink demonstrations and many more sponsors gave away treats as gifts. 
  • Customization and Niche Offerings – As spas are mainstream, customized offerings for the varying types of spa-goers were plentiful. With men accounting for 31 percent of spa-goers in the United States, new ideas for adventure offerings at spas were popular with the media. Athletes were not left out, as one spa demonstrated the benefits of a hand treatment for those who want to improve their golf game. And insomniacs were put to rest as journalists were invited to learn the tricks for a good night’s rest. As sleep deprivation is a common complaint in today’s busy world, tips and tactics for relaxing and taking a time out were well received.
Plans are underway for ISPA’s 2008 Media Event. Sponsorship opportunities will be made available to ISPA member spas at the beginning of the year.

About ISPA
ISPA is recognized worldwide as the leading professional organization and voice of the spa industry. Founded in 1991, ISPA has more than 3,000 members in 75 counties. ISPA advances the spa industry by providing invaluable educational and networking opportunities, promoting the value of the spa experience and speaking as the authoritative voice to foster professionalism and growth. More details on ISPA are available on

Spas are places devoted to enhancing overall well-being through a variety of professional services that encourage the renewal of mind, body and spirit.

ISPA thanks the 2007 Media Event Sponsors

Corporate Partners

Hay House - “Inspirational and Self-Help Publisher of ISPA” 
Precor – “Official Fitness Equipment Provider of ISPA”
Aspira Spa
Canyon Ranch
The Cliff House Resort & Spa
Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa
Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts
Ginn Hammock Beach Resort
The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa
KSL Resorts
Kohler Waters Spa
LXR Luxury Resorts & Golden Door Spas
Lake Austin Spa Resort
The Lodge at Woodloch, a destination spa
Mandarin Oriental, Miami
Marriott International
Mohonk Mountain House
Montage Laguna Beach
Ojai Valley Inn & Spa
Red Mountain Spa
Sea Island Resorts
Skana, The Spa at Turning Stone
The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, New York
The Spa of Colonial Williamsburg
The Starwood Spa Collection
Sundara Inn & Spa
Willow Stream The Spas At Fairmont Hotels & Resorts

Debra Locker 
International SPA Association
1.859.226.4374 and

Also See: International SPA Association Pinpoints Spa Industry Trends / February 2007


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