LEXINGTON, Ky. - In a city that's known for doing things with a grand flair, there was nothing grander in Las Vegas the week of Nov. 8 than the ISPA Conference & Expo. Held Nov. 8-11 at the Venetian, a record-breaking 3,000 attendees made the 14th annual ISPA Conference & Expo the most successful one to date.
"This year's record attendance shows that spa professionals realize the ISPA Conference & Expo is the industry's proven resource for education and networking," said ISPA President Lynne Walker McNees. "Thousands of business and personal relationships were formed and nurtured at the 14th annual event, proving that ISPA is much more than a Conference, it's a community."
Highlighting the overall Conference theme of balance, this year's keynote speakers encouraged attendees to explore the balance between the business and philosophy of spa while maintaining balance in their personal and professional lives.
- Philosopher, performing artist and internationally acclaimed Tao master Chungliang Al Huang ignited the essence of the Tao of Balance and Centering at the opening General Session on Monday.
- On Tuesday, health advocate, author and world-renowned tennis coach Peter Burwash spoke on how one's life can be improved through better leadership at home and work.
- While creating onstage paintings of the Statue of Liberty and Albert Einstein, Erik Wahl continually urged attendees to use creativity and unconventional thinking throughout their lives. After Wahl's presentation Wednesday, he donated both paintings to the ISPA Foundation's Live Auction. A record amount of $70,000 was raised during the live and silent auctions for the ISPA Foundation's education and research initiatives.
- The ninth Canadian to climb Mt. Everest wrapped up the week with an unforgettable presentation. On Thursday, Jamie Clarke demonstrated how the life lessons he learned during his Mt. Everest expeditions could be directly applied to every organization's challenges.
New Research and Educational Tools
When it came to the latest research and educational tools in the industry, the 2004 ISPA Conference & Expo was a one-stop-shop.
- The 2004 Conference marked the first time the association released two studies simultaneously. The ISPA 2004 Spa Industry Study and ISPA's 2004 Consumer Trends Report are the new benchmarks for the industry. The Spa Industry Study tracks growth in the number of spas, revenue, visitation, square footage and employment in North America. ISPA's Consumer Trends Report - conducted for the first time in 2004 - analyzes spa trending information that is critical for the continued success of the industry.
- ISPA also announced its partnership with WageWatch.com to provide an online resource that offers Web-based compensation and benefits survey information for the spa industry. Offering detailed industry and market-specific compensation and benefits reports, this tool allows industry professionals to determine a competitive salary for employees.
- The ISPA Foundation released several tools that are changing the way the spa industry does business. "The Uniform System of Financial Reporting for Spas" is the definitive resource for accounting principals specifically for spas. The book provides a recommended standardized financial reporting system that allows spa professionals to measure, compare and report on the financial health of their business. The Compensation Workbook is a guide to assist in the design and administration of effective compensation programs. Both of these resources, as well as ISPA's studies, can be ordered online at http://www.experienceispa.com/. As a member benefit, several of these tools are complimentary to ISPA members.
Attendees to the ISPA Conference & Expo also saw three industry leaders receive much-deserved recognition.
- On Tuesday, the late Edwin Neill II, former chief executive officer of Neill Corporation, was announced as the recipient of ISPA's 2004 Visionary Award. Neill's wife, Debra, and sons Edwin III and Ross accepted the award on his behalf.
- A spa industry pioneer with strong international influence was honored on Wednesday. Peter Sng, the first elected president of ISPA's Asia-Pacific Chapter and a leading organizer of the association's annual Asia-Pacific Conference & Expo, was the recipient of the ISPA 2004 Dedicated Contributor Award.
- Ruth Stricker, an international philanthropist and founder of The Marsh, a Center for Balance and Fitness, was the recipient of ISPA's 2004 Alex Szekely Humanitarian Award. Announced on the final day of Conference, the ISPA Alex Szekely Humanitarian Award recognizes industry leaders who have generously devoted their time and energy to promoting lifestyle changes that contribute to the longevity and quality of life.
- Over the four days of Conference, more than 40 educational sessions were offered.
- Knowledge Networks on Monday morning helped attendees jumpstart their Conference experience. A combination of education and networking, the Knowledge Networks focused on timely topics including retail, medical spas and the greening of the spa industry.
- This year's slate of Professional Development Sessions provided the keys to success both professionally and personally. From "The Buying Habits of Generation X and Y," "Power Branding" and "Envisioning and Creating the Next ‘Best Spa'," attendees had the rare opportunity to learn from experts in many fields all in one setting.
- With 335 booths representing nearly 250 companies, this year's ISPA Expo included more than 60 product launches - making it the showcase of the year for the spa industry.
- A new offering this year gave attendees time to recharge their batteries and enjoy the spa experience. Several companies offered complimentary mini-treatments in the Relaxation Room. Appointments filled up quickly so ISPA plans to expand this offering in 2005.
- The largest networking event was the Zen Den function. Attendees turned out enmasse for this festive event on Wednesday evening that included dinner and dancing.
- Each morning, dozens of attendees got out of bed early for the energizing Greet the Day activities, while Energy Breaks throughout the day helped keep everyone on their toes.
2005 ISPA Conference & Expo
The 2005 ISPA Conference & Expo promises to be a walk down memory lane in honor of the association's 15th anniversary. The 2005 ISPA Conference & Expo, which will continue to provide invaluable education and networking for spa professionals, is set for Sept. 26-29 in Dallas, Texas, United States, at the Wyndham Anatole. The Conference Web site is http://www.ispaconference.com/.
The International SPA Association is recognized worldwide as the leading professional organization and voice of the spa industry. Founded in 1991, ISPA's membership is comprised of approximately 2,100 health and wellness facilities and providers from 66 countries. Celebrating its 15th anniversary in 2005, ISPA strives to advance the professionalism of the spa industry by providing invaluable educational and networking opportunities, to promote the value of the spa experience to society and to be the authoritative voice of the spa industry.