Report from ISPA 2010, 20th anniversary edition.

Spa industry executives and vendors from around the globe are gathered in Washington D.C. for the 20th annual ISPA conference.  The conference is an annual “must-attend” for many due to the high quality educational breakouts, motivational keynotes, and networking opportunities.

Monday offered 10 Professional Development Sessions on a variety of topics.  Barry Moltz gave an impassioned presentation entitled “Customer Service is the New Marketing,” point being that now that customers are online talking about your business in so many channels, if you focus on providing high quality client experiences, the clients do the marketing for you.  Neil Ducoff gave a compensation presentation, and I was so happy to hear him mention the “sweet spot” of 30-35% of revenue for provider pay; as a country, we need to keep working on that.  There were other excellent presentations on marketing, communications, and menu engineering, and a “State of the Industry” session where ISPA shared 2010 performance statistics.  More on those in another blog!

The opening General Session is the first time during conference that all of the attendees convene in the same room, and we find a bag of spa products and goodies on each seat.  This year the bag was a little light on products, another sign of the tough economy, I suppose.  Or perhaps vendors do not feel that this mass giveaway is a worthwhile endeavor.  ISPA Chairwoman Jean Kolb greeted us, and then we enjoyed an unusual and inspirational story-telling session, using spoken words by Eric Saperston which were illustrated by the folky singing and guitar playing of Edwin McCain.  The message was, take the twists and turns your life journey presents you with and go with them.  Do what you love, follow your passion.  A story we’ve all heard before, but told in an imaginative way.

Following the General Session the Expo floor opened for the first time and we enjoyed wine and hor’s d’ouevres while greeting vendors and fellow conference attendees.  Some of the new innovations include a new treatment table, the Clodagh Libra, on which clients can receive manicures, pedicure,s facials and massages; skin and body products that smell and sound edible from Farmhouse Fresh; and exciting music management options from Imagesound Americas.

Tune in tomorrow for more on the ISPA Conference.

Oakworks Founder Jeff Riach shows off his wares

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