Live Love Spa founder and CEO, Lisa Michaelis, talked with Spa Executive about recent changes in the industry and how events will change in the future.
The event landscape in all industries, including spa & wellness, has undergone a massive shift in recent months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Gatherings of all sizes have moved onto digital platforms to allow people to connect while keeping our distance.
We wanted to know what the spa and wellness event world might look like in the near and far future, so we connected with Lisa Michaelis. Michaelis is the CEO of Live Love Spa, a community for spa professionals to connect, discover and learn about new trends, products, experiences and emerging insights within the wellness space. She is known in the industry for her wonderful event hosting and community building. We asked her what Live Love Spa is doing to cope with the new challenges brought on in recent months, and what the coming years will bring.
First let’s talk about what Live Love Spa does.
I started Live Love Spa because it’s a way to connect people in this industry. Directors really need to experience all of the amazing wellness products and services out there in order to understand what they can in turn offer their customers. I wanted to create a whole experiential event instead of going to a traditional trade show where people could come into a spa and actually get into the shoes of the guests. They can try and experience treatments, talk to the brand on a more intimate level, and they actually became the guests for the day. That’s the core of what Live Love Spa regional events are. We connect spa buyers to the most innovative trendsetting products and treatments.
Now that things are a little bit different, we can’t do experiences. But we’re all kind of in the same boat and we have to figure out how to be creative and still message connect and create community.
What does the event landscape look like in the foreseeable future?
Obviously, in-person events have stopped almost completely. What’s good about this is it has made us push forward with new, innovative and creative ways to connect. I don’t think anything will take the place of an in-person event, especially in our type of industry where it’s all about connection and being with people, but I do think we have found some really amazing cost effective and creative solutions through virtual events. We’re really excited about those things, but we also can’t wait to see everybody again.
Talk about some of the things you’ve got coming up and how you are making virtual events fun and exciting.
Right now we have 11 new virtual events on the calendar, held by region. These last 90 minutes to two hours. We send out a care package in advance with all of the latest in trend setting products to our spa partners. We do a fun wellness drink or a cocktail and a live unboxing together with a brand leading as everyone gets their product out of their box. We also give the spas some ideas on what they can do with their own virtual events, because they are also having to turn around and create unique ideas to keep in contact with their customers. We’ll have an energizing break and some type of a virtual activity. We’ve held a floral design class and for another event we’ll have a spa night at home with a Halloween quiz. So, we have a lot of ideas!
Our events are not only designed to get people connected, create community, and discover products, but also to help others find revenue generating ideas and ideas on how to maintain connection with their teams and customers.
Have you found anything in the virtual events that is better than before and that you’ll try to take into the world in the future?
It’s very cost effective to do something virtual. You’re not spending money on flights, hotels, or food and beverage. You’re saving a lot of money. That is great. The experience is not going to be the same but there are some big positives. Because of that, I definitely think virtual events are here to stay. I think it’s a great platform.
What do you think this industry will look like in one year, two years, three years?
I think it might take a year or two to get things back to the level that they were because people still think of spas as a luxury. But I think our spas will get a lot more savvy on staying connected with their community and making sure that their customer sees them as a valuable place to go. Not only to get their spa treatment, but for skincare products and wellness advice. I think that spas can really enhance their offerings and how the customer perceives them.
A spa is not just a place to go get a wax. It’s a way to connect and communicate on how to live a better life and be healthier. So, I think it’s going to take a little time, but people will need wellness more than ever.
What else are you excited about?
I’m excited about digital connection in general. We started ShopLiveLoveSpa.com as essentially a discovery platform for buyers and spa professionals to learn more about brands. It’s like a trade show in the cloud. There’s a membership program, so people can discover items before reaching out to the brand for wholesale. It allows you to really see what’s out there and it’s digital and available 24 /7 from the comfort of your own home. I have a background in the computer industry and I’ve always thought this industry could be more connected all the time. We also have an app that allows people to contribute content and education. There are a lot of ways that our community can stay connected and together, and I am really excited about those things.
Spa Executive is published by Book4Time, a global leader in wellness and recreation management solutions for the hospitality market, and the only enterprise SaaS technology in the hospitality wellness industry. Learn more at book4time.com.