The experts agree: the wellness sector is going through a period of growth, undoubtedly because our society is becoming increasingly concerned with its quality of life. Recent years have seen a gradual democratisation of the idea of the spa, which has historically been associated with a therapeutic function, according to the director of operations of Caldea, Josep Maria Pi. “The first few years were a real revelation for many people who had never had any experience of thermal baths, but what is more, they were able to take the whole family as well”, he explained.
At the end of the 90s and in the first decade of the 21st century there was a surge in the construction of new centres with this orientation: some traditional spas opened non-therapeutic facilities and the idea of the urban spa took off, with many hotels including spas as part of the services they offer. All of this helped to “socialise” the idea of spas so that their function has progressively changed and expanded to include new customer segments, including that of younger people.
It is precisely these latest trends in design, equipment, management and personal services required to establish a successful wellness centre that will be on display in the Piscina & Wellness Barcelona, show from 15 to 18 October in the Gran Via site of Fira de Barcelona.
Knowing the customer and services made to measure
Diego Gronda, founder and creative director of Studio Gronda, stresses how important it is to know exactly what type of space you want to make when designing a wellness area: a hotel spa?, part of a fitness centre?, of a health centre?, in an urban setting or in a place where people go for a weekend break? Gronda has no doubts: “the goal is to understand the client” because this enables the spa centres to offer services that are adapted to their needs and as personalised as possible, thereby ensuring that the experience is more special and satisfying.
For his part, the spokesman for Caldea, Josep Maria Pi says that new technologies are a basic tool for getting to know the client better and for detecting their needs and personal preferences. “Understanding their moods, preferences and tastes in relation with their situation in life will enable us to develop a business model characterised by maximum personalisation”, Pi concludes.
Dealing with clients who are constantly better informed and more demanding means that the companies in the sector also have to be on the lookout for new services such as relaxation activities, holistic treatments, consultation and workshops for nutrition, yoga and meditation, besides the offers of baths and traditional spas, taking the concept to a more inclusive level.
Km 0 wellness
Labels associated with ecology will become more important, along with elements that are identified with the area where the centre is located. According to Pi, local culture and food, accompanied by other elements, can transform each establishment into a unique experience, complementing these with aromatherapy based on local plants, natural resources and traditions that are related with wellbeing. Pi sums it up as “a Km0 for wellness” and also highlights the idea of setting up specific services and treatments for children, so they can learn about healthy lifestyles and guarantee the future of these establishments.
Fitness and wellness, a winning combination
There is also a growing demand for products from the fitness sector in wellness centres. In this sense, Piscina & Wellness Barcelona has adopted this trend and extended the exhibition space and demonstration areas.
For Tomàs Junquera, founder of the Thomas Wellness Group, “Fitness centres have experienced a transformation: 25 years ago, there were highly specialised gyms in every neighbourhood for activities like martial arts, boxing or weightlifting. We now have much larger, more inclusive centres with a wider variety of activities for the whole family.”
The fitness sector is becoming an increasingly professional market and industry, with more competitive installations and lower prices. Junquera claims that 11% of Spanish people go the a gym, while in other countries, especially northern Europe, this percentage is as high as 20 and 21% Even so, he also points out that the climate in our country makes it easier to do sport and activities in the open air.