A Letter From The Industry – Spa Publications

Last week we saw one of the few remaining Spa Publications in Asia closing its doors. Blu Inc Media, a subsidiary of Singapore Press Holdings and the publisher of AsiaSpa Magazine announced it would be ceasing operations, effective immediately.

I highlighted this news in Episode 699 of my Trent365 show. Here’s that episode, in case you missed it…

What if the Spa Industry spoke as one voice?

It reminded me of a series of Letters To The Spa Industry, that I penned a few years ago now. The idea behind these letters was to imagine if the Spa Industry had one voice. What would that voice have to say to the various stakeholders within the Industry? To date, these letters have not been published. Hopefully, one day soon.

After hearing the news about AsiaSpa, I went back to the vault and re-read the Letter I had written to Spa Publications. I thought it might make for interesting reading. I hope it might generate some thoughtful discussion.

My Letter to Spa Publications

Dear Spa Publications,

Just like our friends the Spa Conference, you too have been with us from the very early days of the industry. Interestingly, much like Spa Conferences, the number of Spa Publications, both consumer and industry, has declined over the years. This is also likely attributable to an overall decline in the publishing business in general. In this environment, only the strongest and most relevant survive, and you have. So congratulations.

Today, we feel there is a good balance in terms of the number of industry publications available, be they online or offline. Though there are multiple industry publications in some of the bigger markets, in most spa markets, there is usually just one. We think that makes sense.

Particularly interesting, however, has been the decline of consumer spa publications. Presumably the rise of social media has played a significant role in this, but it is our belief that a lack of innovation and excitement in our industry is also to blame. If each issue, month after month, quarter after quarter, features the same basic content with only minor variations, why should consumers read your magazine?

Given the current state of our consumer offering, Spa does not necessarily warrant it is own dedicated consumer publication in many markets. Here it seems we must be content with being a section or a feature within a broader publication covering lifestyle, hotels or travel.

Overall, there is not really much else we can ask of you. It is, after all, our job to create the stories for you. Your job is really just to report on them. So, if we are not happy with the quality of the content that you are putting out, it is our fault. We need to look to ourselves to give you something worth writing about.
Having said that, we would appreciate if you could give some thought to the following suggestions…

  1. Provide a more critical analysis of some of the stories you cover. Our industry has a reputation for making vague claims. A more investigative approach, digging in to find the facts behind the claims, could make for valuable and compelling reading. We understand if you feel this is not your role or that to do so would risk your readership and sponsorship. It is merely a suggestion. We leave it for you to decide.
  2. Introduce experts from industries outside of our own to offer their perspectives on issues that we all face. Education, Legislation, Marketing, Social Media, Customer Service, etc. Many of the issues that affect the Spa Industry are the same issues that impact other industries. Learning from what others are doing would be helpful for those in our industry. We have a tendency to be insular in our thinking. An initiative like this, from Spa Publications, could help address that.

As mentioned earlier, in many ways you are a reflection of ourselves. We may not always like what we see, but that is on us, not you. As we move towards the Tomorrow Spa, we look forward to providing you with more interesting, innovative and engaging stories to tell.

Sincerely,

Trent Munday

(on behalf of the Spa Industry)

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