Pulse August / September 2022 | Page 50



BEYOND THE BIG FIVE A Deeper Look at the 2022 ISPA U . S . Industry Study

THE BIG FIVE STATISTICS from the 2021 ISPA U . S . Spa Industry Study demonstrated the degree to which the COVID- 19 pandemic had affected revenues , guest visits and staffing at spas across the country . After the widespread shutdowns and occupancy restrictions spas faced in 2020 , it wasn ’ t surprising to see U . S . spa industry revenues , for example , fall from $ 19.1 billion in 2019 to $ 12.1 billion in 2020 .
But as ISPA research partners Colin McIlheney and Russell Donaldson of PricewaterhouseCoopers noted during the virtual ISPA Stronger Together Summit last year , the results produced by that study only told part of the story . By the time the Big Five were released last year , most spas had returned to full-scale operations and demand for services had risen sharply . Many spa leaders were ready to put the struggles of 2020 behind them and look ahead to the moment when we would understand the industry ’ s ability to bounce back .
The first glimpse of the scale of that recovery came at the 2022 ISPA Conference , where Russell Donaldson shared that U . S . Industry revenues had rebounded sharply to $ 18.1 billion as part of a V-shaped recovery . Spa visits increased by nearly 40 percent to 173 million , while revenue per visit rose to an all-time high of $ 104.5 . The total number of spa employees , meanwhile , increased by 13.2 percent to 345,000 , or 90 percent of the pre-pandemic total . Though it would be premature to say that the U . S . spa industry has fully recovered from the trials and travails of 2020 , there is no doubt that 2021 represented a major step in the right direction . But beyond the Big Five , how did the industry evolve as its recovery picked up steam throughout last year ? To answer that , let ’ s look at some key highlights from the full results report of the 2022 ISPA U . S . Spa Industry Study , released in July . while just under three in 10 ( 29 percent ) were operating at reduced hours . * Just two percent of spas remained temporarily closed at that time .
Of the 31 percent of spas operating at reduced hours , a wide array of causes were cited , with staff shortages ( 70 percent ) being the most frequently reported . More than four in 10 spas ( 41 percent ) said that staff illness played a role in their reduction of operating hours . COVID-19 restrictions ( 26 percent ) and a lack of customer demand ( 16 percent ) also played a role at some spas .
That staffing played such a significant role in keeping some spas from operating full-time will likely not come as a shock to many spa leaders , given the industry ’ s well-publicized and longstanding staffing struggles and the slow recovery of hospitality-related jobs in general . And while many spas may still not have been able to fill as many positions as quickly as they would like , nearly two-thirds ( 63 percent ) of survey respondents reported an increase in their staff count
* In this case , “ full-time ” means these spas were not forced to operate at reduced hours for any reason .
STAFFING AND EMPLOYMENT One of the most significant challenges spas contended with at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic was the disruption to business due to temporary shutdowns and occupancy restrictions . By and large , those concerns had dissipated by the beginning of this year . By February 2022 , more than two-thirds of all spas ( 69 percent ) were open and in operation full-time ,