November 30, 2005

LEXINGTON, Ky. – During the 15th annual International SPA Association Conference & Expo, leading spa professionals re-ignited their passion for the industry they love, while making the bonds of the ISPA community even stronger. Held Sept. 30 – Oct. 3 at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center in Dallas, Texas, United States, the 2005 ISPA Conference included nearly 2,500 attendees from 40 countries.

“The 15th annual ISPA Conference & Expo celebrated the industry’s triumphs over the past decade and a half, while presenting attendees with unmatched industry tools, contacts, inspiration and energy to succeed in tomorrow’s marketplaces,” said ISPA President Lynne Walker McNees. “The ISPA Conference & Expo offers members the chance to slow down and reflect, see old friends and make new ones, all while recharging their passion in order to offer the best experience possible to their guests when they return home.”

Keynote Speakers

  • Stating that spa is going to be the next major religion in the world, Dr. Bertice Berry evoked multiple standing ovations from attendees. She served as the master of ceremonies each day and as the closing keynote speaker on Monday, Oct. 3. She also helped ISPA make history this year when she led an energetic group of attendees who participated in the first “ISPA Choir!” This sociologist, author, educator and comedienne became a Conference favorite when she first spoke to ISPA attendees in 2003.
  • The opening General Session’s Visionary Panel included Ruth Stricker, founder of The Marsh, a Center for Balance and Fitness; Deborah Szekely, founder of Rancho La Puerta, Golden Door and Eureka Communities; and Dr. Kenneth Cooper, founder of the Cooper Aerobics Center. The three revered visionaries presented their visions for the future and then answered questions from the audience.
  • Tim Sanders, author of the “The Likeability Factor,” invigorated Saturday’s crowd by sharing anecdotes on how to achieve life dreams by improving one’s likeability factor through friendliness, relevance, empathy and realness.
  • On Sunday, internationally-known symphony conductor Boris Brott educated attendees by having them create music with a tone bar. By drawing comparisons between business organizations and orchestras, Brott demonstrated how each element must perform in harmony to achieve individual goals. The session ended with more than 1,000 attendees playing “Ode to Joy.”

New Research and Educational Tools

At the 2005 Conference ISPA pulled back the curtain on the newest research materials. Many of these materials are available exclusively for ISPA members and are tailored to the specific demands of the spa industry professional.

  • The ISPA Member Financial Trends & Operating Report demonstrates how top spas compare departmental revenue, payroll expenses, non-payroll expenses, retail operations and other initiatives. (ISPA members only)
  • ISPA and the ISPA Foundation partnered to create a retail management course that fully explores retail planning, inventory management, maximizing profits, sales and service, visual merchandising, marketing and more.
  • The Spa Operations covers areas including job descriptions, service standards, telephone etiquette and handling guest complaints. It also includes a complete section on training your staff to sell product by using a consultative approach. (ISPA members only)

ISPA Awards

Attendees to the ISPA Conference & Expo also saw three industry leaders receive much-deserved recognition.

  • In addition to serving on the Visionary Panel, Deborah Szekely was presented with ISPA’s 2005 Alex Szekely Humanitarian Award on Sept. 30. Szekely is a spa industry pioneer who has dedicated more than 65 years to defining and enhancing the spa experience. In 2002, ISPA changed the name of the Humanitarian Award to the Alex Szekely Humanitarian Award, to ensure that the late Alex Szekely’s vision for ISPA and humanity continue to resonate for years to come. Deborah Szekely accepted the award on her son’s behalf in 2002 and has since presented the award to two other recipients.
  • Two designers, developers, managers and innovators were honored during the 2005 ISPA Conference & Expo. John E. Lopis, Ph.D. and Ginny Michel-Lopis, founders of JGL Inc., were honored as the recipients of the ISPA 2005 Visionary Award.
  • Jack Morrison, a Certified Management Accountant and managing director of the Elmcrest College of Applied Health Sciences & Spa Management in Canada, was honored as the recipient of the ISPA 2005 Dedicated Contributor Award.

Educational Sessions

  • Over the four days of Conference, more than 40 educational sessions were offered.
  • This year’s slate of Professional Development Sessions provided the keys to success both professionally and personally. From “Trade Show Selling,” to “Mastering the Media” and “How to Keep Your Compensation Plan from Eating Your Spa Alive,” attendees had the rare opportunity to learn from experts in many fields all in one setting.
  • Knowledge Networks on Monday morning helped attendees close their Conference experience on a positive note. A combination of education and networking, the Knowledge Networks focused on timely topics including risk management, the greening of the spa industry, and techniques to sharpen your spa business using the Spa Operations Manuals.
  • Audio recordings of sessions are available online.


  • With 337 booths representing nearly 240 companies, this year’s ISPA Expo included more than 70 product launches, making it the showcase of the year for the spa industry.
  • A record 18 hours offered maximum networking opportunities at the ISPA Expo.
  • The 2005 Expo featured 80 new exhibitors.


  • On Friday, attendees celebrated the opening of the Expo floor at the Welcome Reception which included a fashion show, ballet and living art.
  • The largest networking event was the Symphony Under the Stars function. Attendees turned out enmasse for this festive event on Sunday evening that included dinner and dancing to music provided by the Dallas Wind Orchestra and Vocal Trash.
  • Held immediately before the Symphony Under the Stars, the Silent and Live Auctions are always a lively time for networking. This year, they generated a record-breaking $71,210 for the ISPA Foundation’s education endeavors.
  • Throughout Conference, several companies offered complimentary treatments in the Relaxation Room, which gave attendees time to enjoy the spa experience.
  • 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.
  • All of the week’s events were captured for lasting memories, Conference photos are available online.


The ISPA Conference & Expo would not be possible without the support of dedicated sponsors. ISPA gives special thanks to Precor, the official fitness equipment provider of ISPA, and all of our Conference sponsors!

2006 ISPA Conference & Expo

The 2006 ISPA Conference & Expo, which will continue to provide invaluable education and networking for spa professionals, is set for Nov. 6-9 at the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas, Nev., USA. Additional Conference information can be found at http://www.experienceispa.com/cms/cms/articles/.

About ISPA

ISPA is recognized worldwide as the leading professional organization and voice of the spa industry. Founded in 1991, ISPA’s membership is comprised of more than 2,500 health and wellness facilities and providers from 73 countries. 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.

Spas are entities devoted to enhancing overall well-being through a variety of professional services that encourage the renewal of mind, body and spirit.

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