Should your spa be a place for digital detox and a technology free space?
That’s a great question in this day and age, when studies are released regularly stating that overexposure to technology, screens, and social media can create stress and possibly affect our mental health.
Studies consistently show negative affects of too much screen time
Among these is a study released this month by acupuncture supply company Lhasa OMS finding that more than half of millennials (56%) feel that technology or media overload make life stressful, and that almost the exact same number (55%) are stressed due to social pressure online. And another study was published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry this month finding evidence that using social media (where much of our time staring at screens is spent) for more than 30 minutes a day was linked to increased mental health risks in teenagers, while the most powerful effects were seen in teens who used social media for more than three hours per day.
Also, another study by researchers at the Universities of East Anglia, Greenwich, and Auckland, released in August, found that there are numerous benefits to taking a digital detox vacation.
But wait. A separate study released this month found that screen time does not negatively affect teens’ mental health. In fact, in some cases, technology use actually reduced feelings of worry and symptoms of depression. So, it’s important not to get carried away by study results. More than half of psychology and social psychology studies fail to produce reproducible results, anyway.
And let’s not forget what a big place technology has in wellness. From wearables to therapy robots and bots to smart homes and more…many would argue that technology deserves more respect than it gets.
What do your customers want?
Most places allow tech in some areas and not in others.
Recent research by ISPA found that a small number of spa goers (13%) are slightly more likely to feel that technology policies in spas are too liberal and do not allow enough privacy. They also found that 28% of everyone surveyed said a technology ban would make a spa more attractive, compared to just 10% who said it would put them off, while more “regular” spa goers (39%) said a technology ban would encourage them to visit.
Interestingly, more men than women would prefer a tech-free spa environment – 32% vs 24%.
Benefits of a tech free environment
There are benefits to a tech-free environment, even beyond the wellness and mindfulness elements. These include the potential for social interaction in communal spaces, and the aforementioned feeling of privacy. When nobody has a cellphone, nobody has to worry about someone snapping pictures and posting them online. Note that this action doesn’t always have to be nefarious. Sometimes people just take pictures of their surroundings, and then unwitting – and unwilling participants – wind up with their images posted online.
On the other hand, there are also benefits to allowing people to use technology in your spa. Among these: if it’s what they want it will make them happy and more comfortable. But also, if they are allowed to snap pictures of their surroundings and their experience, they may also post these images on their social media accounts, which is free advertising for you. Something you literally can’t buy.
Consider a compromise or a test
You might consider tech free times, like Sundays from 12 -5, rather than a ban. And see how that plays out. And, of course, you should ask your guests what they want. Consider sending a survey to gauge how they feel about a tech ban.
In the end, it comes down to whether a tech-free environment is right for your space. Only you know the answer to that.
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