The Growing Phenomena of Manly Spas
Where to find naked men? At spas!..
According to current data, men have discovered what women have known all along - spas are a great place to visit, and a day of beauty may eliminate (or at least postpone) a visit to the doctor or the therapist. With holiday and wedding seasons upon us, spa certificates and assorted potions from exotic destinations with alluring names and unique ingredients make perfect gifts for the man who has it all.
For example: My BFFs (guys) were getting married, and I was gifting challenged. Not only was it their wedding – but it was also the Christmas holiday. What to get them that would give them a WOW conversations with friends, turned up suggestions that ran from vintage champagne (always well-received) to tickets to a zip line (OMG).
Getting nowhere fast, and the wedding date quickly approaching, I was dumb-founded. What to do? It was my good fortune to attend a Hilton-sponsored cocktail party and to have a conversation with a few Hilton gifting experts who suggested a day of beauty for my “to be married” BFFs. What a wonderful idea! These guys have everything and need nothing. From a beautiful home and furs galore, from diamonds and other assorted gems to designer clothes, there is little out there in the real world that would give these guys a WOW... unless it was a day of beauty!ME, ME, ME
Working with Tyra Lowman, Hiltons’ Senior Director of Spas, we developed a fabulous array of exotic spa products from the VitaMan line (developed for men only), and pre-paid gift cards that would enable my BFFs to pick and chose spa delights of their choice at Hilton properties worldwide. To make matters even better, the day of beauty was gifted in a fabulously large (actually enormous) gold and glitter box that would make anyone (from 6 to 60) drool with heighted anticipation, “What is in THAT box?” “OMG! It’s for ME!”
I must admit that I was surprised that these sophisticated (dare I say jaded) guys got excited by the thought that they were going to spend a beauty day at the Conrad Hilton Spa in Indianapolis. Their outright pleasure at receiving the gift provided me with the motivation to determine if men and spas was a blip on the health-tourism horizon or a growing trend.
Think Global: Act Local
Although many hotel groups have discovered that spa services for men actually adds revenue to the bottom line, Hiltons’ new spa program, entitled, "Men’s Journey," is a specific collection of treatments engineered just for guys and offers pampering with a purpose. In addition, the "eforea: Spa at Hilton" actually introduces local traditions into the treatment experience (think Thai massage or Turkish Hammam), although 80 percent of the treatments are consistent worldwide.
Not a surprise - women are the majority of spa visitors; however, in 2004, 29–35 percent of spas' total revenue was earned from men, and male spa-goers have increased by 900 percent over the past 4 years. In North America, men spend over US$12 billion on their appearance, and The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery reports that in 2002, men accounted for 25 percent of all cosmetic surgeries. Men’s skin care is growing at twice the rate of women’s, making MEN the number 1 target market in the beauty industry.
A Man’s Perception
Men view spas as potentially life-saving and even rejuvenating events, and the international executive is mindful of the need to relax and re-energize. They see the experience as a way to improve the quality of their lives, reduce stress, and create a mind-body balance. Of course, the pampering and nurturing combined with private time is a welcomed part of the experience.
The Spa Guy
The Baby Boomer guy (44-61) has an average income of US$60,000/year and spends approximately US$120 per hour at a spa. Believing he is part of the “immortal generation,” spa managers will do well to focus on his desire for eternal youth.
Generation X (23-43) has an average income of US$43,000/year and spends approximately US$100 per hour at a spa. Xers are likely to have had plastic surgery, hair restoration, deep peels, and micro-dermabraison. Believing that everything is possible, these fellows are eager to make changes – if it will improve their looks and the way they feel.
Generation Y (under 23) has an average income of US$20-US$30,000/year and will spend approximately US$64 per hour at a spa. These fellas go and go and go – to color their hair; spike it; use cosmetics, powders, and cover-up. They like to look pretty and eagerly add mask therapies to their regimen and embrace take-home spa treatments. Seeking individuality, they appreciate being made to feel like special individuals.
Spas for men have gone global with men in China scheduling spa treatments as part of their business agenda. At the Banyan Tree’s Shanghai property, the sales manager from the Angsana Spa finds that many businessmen are treating the spa facilities as a perfect venue for meetings as the rooms usually boast a private and relaxing environment.
KISS: Keep it Simple Sir
The guys putting their money into treatments don’t want to be intellectually challenged during their spa moment. They dislike the word “beauty” and prefer treatments that focus on “skin fitness.” Deeply appreciative of products designed for their “macho” side, the products should proclaim “for men only.” At best, the reception and treatment spaces shout “male” and if this is not feasible, then the interior design must be gender neutral. It is best if the business name has a corporate/manly focus and not even hint that the experience will enhance their “feminine side.” The unique brand of the Hilton’s eforea spa conveys the journey to a spiritual place that brings about balance and wellness.
Hilton markets their male spa experiences as a "Men’s Journey" and the trip is accessed by the 30 percent of their client base. To make the male visitor comfortable, staffers provide an analysis of the guys’ skin condition, and then focus on solutions and anticipated results. A brief discussion of the benefits of spa treatments to both personal and professional lives takes the edge off any qualms they may harbor about the amount of money/time being spent. Program/treatments specific to “male” activities also make the guys more comfortable (i.e., golf, tennis, runners, and body-builders).
When Skin is Not Skin
Men and women have different skin requirements and a successful spa incorporates treatments and products that enhance the guys feeling of “manliness,” enforcing the idea that the treatments they are receiving are definitely for “men only.” The good news is that the male spa enthusiast is very loyal and will return again and again if he truly feels better and can see results.
Men on the Menu
The most popular male spa treatments worldwide are massages (80 percent), facials (10-15 percent), and body scrubs/mud masks (5-10 percent). Popular services also include scalp treatments/massage, neck/shoulder massage, foot scrub/pedicure, hand scrub/manicure, and foot reflexology.
Just the Facts
When it comes to spa-products, the guys just want to know: when, why, and how to use the potions, and, as long as a problem has been presented, they are ready for the solution. Whether their skin has been damaged by the sun and wind or deeply lined from corporate stress, they are anxious to deal with the issue, acquire the services/product(s), and then want the problem to disappear. While women are often emotional buyers – visiting spas when they feel good (i.e., received a promotion) or when they feel bad (i.e., lost a job), guys are primarily interested in solving a problem! Find the issue, suggest the solution, and the sales are likely to be made.
According to Hilton’s Lowman, “It was a no-brainer to develop a spa brand to meet ... guests’ needs on a global level,” and the 'eforea: Spa at Hilton' combines an organic experience with high tech treatments for instant results.
Accor research finds that at least 20 percent of Europeans are looking for active, health-oriented holidays. These findings are similar to a study released by the European Travel Monitor (TEM) indicating that health holidays have grown in marketing share due to an increasing number of health and fitness enthusiasts, as well as travelers simply in search of a few days of tender loving care (TLC).
Germany has the biggest share of international spa and health business, representing 30-40 percent of total European demand. A 1996 study indicated that 2.3 percent of German adults aged 14 and older were regular clients of spas and health resorts, with an additional 20.7 percent occasionally visiting these facilities.
While relaxation is a primary reason offered for seeking a spa experience, many spa goers are also interested in weight loss programs, exercise and fitness opportunities, as well as medical treatments that may not be available in their home countries.
What Real Spa Men Desire
It is no longer a mystery - what “men really want” includes:
1. Clear menu of services for “men only”
2. Experiences with limited touching (i.e., hot stones or Thai massage)
3. Prefer to first work out or play golf, then head to the spa
4. Attentive service; not obsequious
5. Location/destination spa recommendations from a trusted source rather than an adv
6. Strategic plan: what they have, what they need, frequency of treatments
7. A KISS – list of instructions
8. A follow-up phone call within 48 hours of the visit for the opportunity to offer feedback and schedule appointments
9. Men-only lounges; robes that are clearly for “men” and not for men and women
10. Exclusivity, privacy, confidentiality – without the presence of women
That men are heading to spas is good news for the women in their lives. Most guys I know definitely need to be exfoliated, spackled, wrapped in seaweed, mani- and pedicured, dunked in an herbal bath, and have their love handles rubbed with oils and creams while the reflex spots on their feet are being kneaded. It is also good news that men are finding these services to be addictive, and it is likely to add the missing sine qua non to the most intimate of relationships.