Thursday, September 28, 2017


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~ Remembering Jill Renick ~

This edition is dedicated to the life and memory of Jill Renick, ISPA Member, and Spa Director at the Omni Hotel Houston.  During the massive flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, Jill Renick, along with other hotel staff, were heroically assisting safe passage out of the hotel for its guests; as rushing flood waters entered the hotel, Jill Renick went missing; days after she went missing and unaccounted for, and after an exhaustive search to locate her, her lifeless body was located in the hotel. 

Jill Renick loved being a spa director and loved helping others experience healing and restoration as part of the spa experience.  It is tragically ironic that here was a woman dedicated to helping others in that spa experience, and who selflessly was helping hotel guests to escape to safety in a perilous situation, and there wasn’t anyone able to help her.  The spa industry has lost a truly remarkable and exemplary spa steward and human being.  May God bless her selfless soul. 

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ISPA ~ The Voice of the Industry*

Since 1991, the International SPA Association has been recognized worldwide as the professional organization and voice of the spa industry, representing health and wellness facilities and providers in more than 70 countries.

Members encompass the entire arena of the spa experience, from resort/hotel, destination, mineral springs, medical, club and day spas to service providers such as physicians, wellness instructors, nutritionists, massage therapists and product suppliers.

Mission ~ ISPA advances the spa industry by providing invaluable educational and networking opportunities, promoting the value of the spa experience and speaking as the authoritative voice to foster professionalism and growth.

Vision ~ To be the leader in promoting and enhancing the well-being of the spa industry and the people it serves.

Defining Spa ~ Spas are places devoted to overall well-being through a variety of professional services that encourage the renewal of mind, body and spirit.

Spa Industry Sets New Record in Visits, Continues to Cultivate Job Market*

For the first time in the history of the International SPA Association’s (ISPA) U.S. Spa Industry Study, the total number of visits to spas rose above 180 million. ISPA today released its annual findings of spa industry financial indicators, reporting that the number of spa visits is estimated to have increased to 184 million in 2016, up from 179 million in 2015 (2.5 percent increase). The industry also continues to experience steady growth in overall revenue, locations and revenue per visit. Additionally, as the industry grows, so do the number of available employment opportunities.

The ISPA Foundation commissioned PwC to conduct the study, which presents what is known as the “Big Five”: total revenue, spa visits, spa locations, revenue per visit and number of employees for the United States spa industry.

“We are thrilled to see our industry’s hard work and dedication truly pay off with more and more consumers enjoying spas,” said ISPA President Lynne McNees. “An increase in visits means higher demand of spa services, which demonstrates a very positive outlook. As jobs are created to meet this demand, we will continue to promote the benefits of a career in the spa industry.”

The rise in visits drove the total revenue to surpass its previously record-setting mark in 2016, increasing from $16.3 billion in 2015 to $16.8 billion (3.1 percent increase). Additionally, there was growth in the total number of locations throughout the country, increasing from 21,020 in 2015 to 21,260 in 2016 (1.1 percent increase).

“The ISPA U.S. Spa Industry Study reflects a pleasing picture of steady growth in the industry. The key metrics are all continuing their upward trend and the numbers in employment highlight the importance of the spa industry to the US economy,” said Colin McIlheney, Global Research Director for PwC.  With a modest increase in the overall number employees at 1.6% (365,200 in May 2017 up from 359,300 in 2016), there are currently 32,930 vacant positions for service providers in the spa industry.

“According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there are still seven million people unemployed throughout the country. Promotion of careers in the spa industry will be an important initiative for ISPA moving forward,” McNees said.

Employment in the spa industry can offer many benefits, such as schedule flexibility, opportunities to work in a variety of international environments, exceptional training, and career growth. Working in a spa offers many perks that freelance work does not, including a steady supply of new clientele, working in a health-minded environment, and opportunities for continuing education, as well as administration benefits like advertising, accounting, and booking. With a decrease in contract work between 2016 and 2017, the spa industry presents many opportunities for employment in a business that offers job security and career growth as it continues to flourish.

ISPA Convenes ~ October 16-18, 2017, Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, NV*

Each year, spa professionals from around the globe attend the ISPA Conference & Expo to become more knowledgeable and gain a competitive edge in the marketplace. With three days of speaker presentations covering a range of topics including business strategy, customer service and management, attendees will find solutions to everyday business dilemmas. Aside from professional development the Expo floor offers the latest spa products available on the market. At the spa industry's "must-attend" event, Conference veterans and new attendees alike join to connect with each other, gain insight and inspiration and celebrate continued industry growth.

Editor’s Note:  This year’s event will be ISPA’s 27th Annual Conference & Expo.  Since 1996, I’ve had the pleasure of attending twelve of these incredible events.

2018 ISPA Board of Directors and Officers Elected*

The International SPA Association (ISPA) is pleased to announce the 2018 ISPA Board of Directors and officers. Their terms will begin on October 18, 2017, at the ISPA Conference & Expo at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.

“We are grateful for the dedication of those that step up each year and apply to serve their association,” said ISPA President Lynne McNees. “We appreciate the volume of applicants and are incredibly excited to welcome the new board members to an already exceptional group of strong leaders serving the spa industry.”

The ISPA Board of Directors will be led by elected Chairman Todd Shaw, spa director at The Peaks Resort & Spa. Todd Hewitt, corporate director spa, health clubs and recreation, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, was elected to serve as Vice Chairman and Garrett Mersberger, director of wellness and Kohler Water Spas, Kohler Co., will serve as Secretary/Treasurer. Michael Tompkins, executive recruiter, Hutchinson Consulting, will continue to serve in the Immediate Past Chairman role.

Newly Elected Board Members:
Damien Craft, senior spa director North America, Four Seasons Westlake Village
Brennan Evans, vice president spa operations, Trilogy Spa Holdings
Kelleye Heydon, spa director, The Edgewater Spa
Re-elected Incumbent Directors:
Kristine Huffman, president, Huffman Hospitality Concepts
Laura Parsons, director of operations – The Americas, ESPA International US, LTD. (Spa Division)
Eric Stephenson, director of education, Well World Group
Frank Pitsikalis, founder and chief executive officer, ResortSuite, and Sharilyn Abbajay, founder, Abbajay & Associates LLC, will continue to serve in their roles on the ISPA Foundation Board of Directors as Chairman and Vice Chairman, respectively. 

These individuals will join the current directors who are in the middle of an active board term including: Noel Asmar, president and chief executive officer, Noel Asmar Group, Inc.; Scott Duncan, president, Spa Gregorie’s; Blake Feeney, vice president – business development, Living Earth Crafts; Patrick Huey, group spa director – Asia, Minor Hotel Group; Julie Oliff, director of operations – residences, St. Regis Aspen; Robert Vance, managing director, Well & Being Spa at the Fairmont Princess; and Lynne McNees, president, ISPA. Dr. Brent Bauer, director of complementary and integrative medicine program, Mayo Clinic, will continue to serve as ISPA’s medical advisor.

Michael Harmsworth and Dawn Tardif complete their service on the ISPA Board of Directors. The ISPA Board of Directors is indebted to Michael, Dawn and all ISPA volunteers for their contributions and dedication to the spa industry.

Each person was selected from an impressive pool of candidates following an extensive nomination and interview process. The application process for the 2019 ISPA Board of Directors will launch in Spring 2018. At that time, a call for candidates will be announced to all ISPA members. Currently, ISPA members may participate in the association’s growth and success by applying to serve on the 2018 ISPA Volunteer Committee. The application will open in late 2017.

For more information on ISPA, including additional press related information (*), visit

~ Miscellany ~


Spa Week ~ Spa Week is a bi-annual event that occurs every April and October; it’s a terrific way for spa aficionados and newbies alike to enjoy and experience the spa and wellness lifestyle at hundreds of participating spas throughout North America.  Some of the most popular treatments offered will be featured and specially priced at only $50.00.  Treatments offered will vary depending on the participating location, and there are usually two to three different full-services offered to choose from.  Now is great time to book your treatment experience, as bookings fill up fast. For more information, visit

~ In Closing ~

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I’m not one to get into hype or trends, but if you’ve heard the term “forest bathing” in recent months, and were wondering what the heck is was, stop wondering.  Back in the day, when I was a kid, this was commonly referred to as “communing with nature”.  Forest Bathing is nothing more than taking time away from one’s frenetic schedule by spending time in a forest to decompress, and reconnect with nature; the solitude of introspection and self-reflection is easy to attain as one is surrounded by the “quietude” of a forest.  It’s a time to reacquaint oneself with the simpler basics of life, through nature; it’s also a time to appreciate that life is more than deadlines, schedules, and goals, and that the pace of slow is more beneficial to one’s wellbeing than the pace of hectic. 

Taking time for oneself isn’t hedonistic.  It’s an investment in the care and nurturing of self, of wellbeing.  So, go and find a forest and do some restorative bathing, or find a spa and experience a restorative treatment.  Either one (or both) will make you glad you did so, and your psyche will definitely thank you.  That’s it for this edition.  Until the next one, remember to take care of yourself and those you love.

By Terry Herman

TERRY HERMAN is a recognized expert in the industry, and regularly covers issues that include business, management, operations, customer care, treatments, products, and trends. In the 1990s, she authored an extensive "Glossary of Spa Terminologies" and holds two copyright registrations on her authored work.  Consumer and trade publications have also interviewed her as an expert.  She also conducted an extensive nationally broadcasted interview tour on aspects of creating an at-home spa, interior design, music, stress and time management.  Her work has been published extensively in print and digital in both consumer and trade publications.  In addition to writing, reviewing and being interviewed as an expert, she is also a management consultant and motivational speaker.  She also served on the International Advisory Board for the former EXPERIENCE | PREMCHIT Journeys In Retreat To Wellness; the Advisory Board was comprised of ten international experts in various fields of wellness and spa.  She also served each of the Five Pillars Task Force groups for the Asia Pacific Spa & Wellness Council (APSWC).  She has been a Group Manager for the popular LinkedIn group, The Spa Buzz, and is currently an Administrator for three Facebook Groups, Wild Food Society, Spa College, and North Shore Opera Hour.  In addition to her blogs, her social media outreach includes Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest.  Be sure to read her food, wine and culinary digital magazine, TERRY’S SECOND HELPINGS.  Don’t forget to “Like” her Facebook Page, Terry’s Second Helpings.  Please note that the “Comment Section” has been disabled.  For additional information, email her at


(Photo credits as indicated, or as represented by the specific brand.)

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