Green spas in a nutshell
Tuesday, June 03, 2014
The series of articles on green spas has shown that being green is a trend that will affect the spa industry globally. On the one hand, consumers start demanding eco-friendly spa experiences, and on the other hand spa owners and managers create green philosophies in order to save resources and protect the environment.
Being green is associated with numerous advantages (innovation, image boost and eco-efficiency), but also with disadvantages and challenges (like high costs of implementation and the lack of a universal benchmarking system) on several levels.
The biggest problem the spa industry has to overcome is the phenomenon of green washing. Evidently, some spas claim to be green in order to attract more guests, when in fact they are not.
These spa owners do not consider the consequences their dishonest behavior can cause, putting themselves at a high risk that guests will find out the truth about their business philosophy and activities. In the end, that can lead to a bad reputation not only for the spa but also for the entire industry.
One first step toward stopping green washing would be to focus on education about what being green and sustainable means. Many people do not have knowledge in this field; it would help a lot for the further development of green spas to educate people on this topic. Besides, the better educated people are — not only guests but also spa professionals — the fewer frustrations can occur, and less green washing will take place.
Also, the development of a universal standard and certification program would be beneficial for the entire industry and help to create more transparency on the market. Customers can compare green spas and inform themselves about the "green" stage of individual spas. Also spas can get guidelines and standards they can and need to stick to in order to be taken seriously about their green philosophy.
Various organizations like the Green Spa Network are a great help and often act as counselors who try to make the green spa industry more transparent, give helpful tips to spa professionals and serve as information exchange platforms. As a consequence, these networks will get more powerful and influential within the spa industry and will be an essential help for further developing and internalizing the green movement.
As a last point, every spa has the possibility to do something good and sustainable for our Earth, our community and its guests. One can start with creating an action plan including green activities the spa wants to implement in the future. Some changes like focusing on buying locally, not wasting water, reducing plastic and recycling can be made easily but make a huge difference.
If you want to get more detailed information about green spas, I would be happy to share my research results with you. Click here to read my master thesis: "Green Spa" — Marketing strategy or authentic and sustainable business concept? Exemplified by Deer Lake Lodge & Spa.
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