Generation Spa

March 25, 2013

Long gone are the days of when kids and teens were seen and not heard. In today’s society, youth have more influence and presence than generations past. They’re dictating the clothes they wear, the food they eat, what they want, and how they want it. These choices include discretionary purchases at the mall, at the movies, on vacation, and in the spa. In recent years, an increasing number of kid- and teen-focused services have made their way into the industry. In fact, 29 percent of spas already offer treatments specifically targeted to teenagers, and 12 percent to kids age 12 and under, according to a recent study conducted by the International Spa Association (ISPA). These figures are only set to grow.

While conducting market research for a future teen spa—the winning project at the Global Spa & Wellness Summit’s Student Challenge—the University of Denver team discovered an under- tapped market. With roughly $2,000 to $4,000 in discretionary income each year, teens were found to spend heavily on social experiences and appearance, according to the students’ advisor, professor Cheri Young. The students designed their spa for teen girls accordingly, guided by the motto “empowerment through self-care.” A central lounge, equipped with tablets, would be where girls could socialize and connect; a fitness studio would hold hip-hop, punk aerobics, and other group exercise classes; and enrichment programs—from lectures by CEOs to tips on how to dress for your body type—would be available online to maintain a forum with clients after they left the spa. Mean- while, the length of the treatments would be kept short, and price points accessible; revenue would be made in volume through the accumulation of small purchases—drinks, snacks, and other items, as well as spa services. Perhaps most important, adds Young, was creating and nurturing a parents-free environment where young people could feel com- fortable with themselves—inside and out—enough to build resilience to weather the storms of being a teenager.