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Susie Ellis

Spas have an opportunity to position themselves as places for connection, community and gathering

Published in Spa Business 2023 issue 3
Susie Ellis, Global Wellness Summit and Global Wellness Institute / photo: Global Wellness Summit
Susie Ellis, Global Wellness Summit and Global Wellness Institute/ photo: Global Wellness Summit

How has the industry evolved?
In 2003, wellness wasn’t a word used in the spa arena frequently. Facilities were seen as elitist and the medical arena, workplaces and governments didn’t understand what they were about. Our organisations (GWI and GWS) started using the term ‘wellness’ in 2010 and now that it’s part of the industry landscape everything has changed.

Who have been the biggest industry influencers?
Deborah Szekely, Mel Zuckerman, Nerio Alessandri, Rick Stollmeyer, Liz Terry, organisations such as our own, ISPA, Biologique Recherche and Global Wellness Day.

What business models are the most exciting?
True wellness real estate communities where you can live alone or as a family and be assured of a healthy life are extremely exciting. Today, that only really exists at Serenbe in Atlanta, Georgia, however there are more in the works.

I also love affordable and meaningful wellness. These days, some of the thermal resorts, such as Therme Bucharest, charge as little as US$35 a day to access many of its experiences.

Finally, there are evidence-based medical wellness models which offer true preventative diagnostics and work with people to avoid becoming ill in the first place.

What societal trends are having the biggest impact on spas globally?
Since COVID, it’s the recognition of the profound effect connection, community and gathering can have on mental and physical health. It’s something the industry should be more cognisant of and embrace and engage with because we have the opportunity to truly ‘own’ that space.

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Birthday message to Spa Business

"With its trusted, high-quality and unbiased communications, Spa Business has been a very uniting factor in our sector. In fact, there was no global spa and wellness industry until Spa Business began and helped aggregate the various players"

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