What’s happening at the spa this Father’s Day?

With Men’s Health Month starting June 1, Father’s Day just around the corner, and men all over the world clueing into the fact that wellness is for us too, now is a great time to remember to include men in your June marketing and promotions.

A day at the spa for mom has always seemed like an obvious choice for Mother’s Day. But only recently have we figured out that the same can make a great gift for Dad too. Recent shifts in attitudes have been dramatic, if a long time coming.

As you probably know, nearly half of spa goers are now male, according to research from ISPA, and 28% of American men are spa-goers. Moreover, the 2016 Consumer Snapshot Volume VI report found that 40% of British men are spa-goers and, in Australia, while percentage is lower, it’s equal to that of female spa-goers at 38%. This is a significant increase over the prior decade.

Another more recent study by market intelligence agency Mintel, confirmed these developments. That survey found that nearly half (47%) of young men in the UK had enjoyed a spa, beauty, or salon treatment in 2017, an increase of 14% over 2015.

Kelly Heitz wrote last June in Pulse magazine, “Wellness can often be perceived as a female endeavor, when in reality both sexes should be focusing on improving their overall health. As centers of health, wellness and healing, spas are uniquely able to tap into the male market and improve the stigma that being well is a feminine concept.”

Men’s health and wellness is often neglected

This is more than frivolity, as those of us in the business of wellness are aware. Stress is associated with a host of illnesses that can lead to serious health outcomes, including cardiovascular disease, depression and anxiety, Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and even premature death. And research findings repeatedly demonstrate that treatments offered in spas, such as massage therapy and sauna bathing, are associated with better health outcomes. And that frequently visiting a spa directly correlates with better quality sleep,  reduced absenteeism from work, and fewer hospitalizations.

A shift towards attention to wellness can have significant impact on men’s quality of life and longevity. And we can be a part of that shift.

Speaking a different language

As spas work towards accommodating this market, a bit of an adjustment period is to be expected.

Spa Executive has spoken with both Michael Bruggeman, CEO of Om4 Organic Male, and Michael Conte, Spa Director at Meadowood, on the subject of marketing to men. Both pointed to significant differences in the language and terminology that appeals to men and women.

The younger male market may well be comfortable with the idea of pampering themselves, but while we wait for that cohort to grow into their role of luxury consumers, male spa menu items are better served up to the old guard in manly packaging. Think “attacking” and “obliterating” over “lumosity” and “glowing.” Even better if it involves some kind of amber alcohol.

Many spas are creating entirely male-focused menus, while others are creating male-focused menu items.

The Spa at the Four Seasons Vail offers a massage for men in which we’re invited to “Unwind in a hot milk bath while sipping on a glass of locally distilled bourbon, and then revitalize your skin with a Bourbon Bubbler scrub and nectar oil massage.”

And The Chocolate Spa in the Hershey Hotel offers a Gentleman’s Whiskey Body Scrub; “[an] invigorating scrub [that] includes extracts and essences of whiskey to smooth skin and reverse the signs of aging…”

It’s exciting to see what people are coming up with, and to see things moving in a positive direction for everyone.

So, what’s happening this Father’s Day? I’ll be hanging with my kids. But first I’ll be sitting in my sauna and decreasing my chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease and all-cause mortality.

Let’s get the word out to the dads out there that pedicures and massages are good for you. They’re also manly – and they often come with a glass of bourbon.

What’s not to love?

Roger Sholanki
CEO, Book4Time