Spas draw more men as wellness becomes male routine

Wellness is becoming routine for men, while spa visits are becoming a dude thing.

“We’re seeing a lot more men going to spas,” said Garrett Mersberger, board chairman of the International Spa Association. “It used to always be a female-driven thing. We’re now seeing 50-50, if not swinging more toward the males.”

The trend took off in 2017, when the association reported 49 percent of spa customers were men, up from 29 percent in 2005.

“They’re much more aware that it’s not just a thing I go to to get pampered. It’s an actual lifestyle choice with benefits to my body, to my wellness. It’s part of my routine now. It’s not just about going for relaxation,” Mersberger said.

International Spa Association President Lynne McNees said the change has an effect on treatment areas, relaxation areas and changing stations.

“Spas are really having to evolve to accommodate that male spagoer,” she said. “Typically, your back-of-house for males would be smaller because historically it’s been very heavy female. Now they’re having to shift that.”

A lot of hotels and spas are designing unisex bathrooms and locker rooms, Mersberger said. Women are usually fine with it, McNees said. They’re no longer dragging reluctant spouses to spas.

“We’re seeing a lot of groups and parties and different special events in the spa with both men and women,” she said.

Spa visits and the money they generate reached record highs last year in the U.S. with $18.3 billion in revenue driven by 190 million pampering trips, according to the International Spa Association.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.