Post Conference Review - ISPA 2002

Hailed as the largest trade show in ISPA history, the International SPA Association 12th Annual Conference held in Anaheim, California, proved once again to be the event of the year for spa professionals with more than 2,200 attendees.

“Spa owners, directors, managers and vendors - the key decision-makers in the spa industry - always attend the ISPA Conference,” said ISPA executive director, Lynne Walker McNees. “The ISPA Conference is where they make key business decisions for their upcoming year.”

This year`s keynote speakers conveyed messages of health and wellness, working with the media and branding.

Internationally recognised author and healer, Dr. Carl Hammerschlag, who presented at the conference, is one of the world`s leading proponents of the practical applications of the mind, body and spirit connection. Frequently referred to as a master storyteller, Dr. Hammerschlag`s anecdotes touched and moved the attendees.

Peter Greenberg, travel editor for NBC`s ‘Today’ show, speaking at a time of uncertainty for the travel industry, drew from his impressive background in journalism to give attendees valuable tips for placing their company in front of the media.

Clyde Fessler gave a rousing presentation on building a brand. Fessler is the former vice president of business development for Harley-Davidson and is credited with the company`s dramatic turnaround over the past two decades. Along with his considerable insight, Fessler gave attendees solid marketing tools to take home with them.


One presentation came from a spa industry legend; Deborah Szekely. The founder of Rancho la Puerta and the Golden Door, gave a powerful ‘call to action’ for the spa industry in relation to environmental issues. Szekely then took part in a panel discussion on the power of communication in the spa industry.

With 10 roundtables and 23 separate topics for breakout sessions, this year`s conference provided spa professionals with the tools they need to solidify their company`s long-term success. The list of presenters for the breakout sessions and panels included many of the biggest names in the spa industry.

ISPA attendees had the opportunity to learn from such visionaries as Marcia Kilgore of BlissSpa, internationally renowned customer service expert Holly Stiel and Carol Phillips of the Spa-Med Consulting Group. Sponsored by Physiodermie, two learning labs were a new addition this year. The topics were ‘A Holistic Approach for the Spa Industry’ and ‘Morpho-Lympho-Drainage of the Face’.

The ISPA Expo was the largest trade show in ISPA history. The exhibit hall was filled with 340 booths representing 241 vendors. Recognising that the ISPA Conference draws the key decision-makers in the industry, new vendors exhibited in 2002 and numerous exhibitors seized the opportunity to launch new products, giving ISPA delegates a first-hand look.

Plans are well underway for the 13th annual ISPA Conference . The event is scheduled for Oct. 12 - 15, 2003 at the Wyndham Anatole in Dallas, Texas.

For 12 years, ISPA has been recognised worldwide as the professional organisation and voice of the spa industry. ISPA`s membership is comprised of nearly 1,800 health and wellness facilities and providers from 51 countries. Since 1991, ISPA has been committed to forming and maintaining alliances that will educate, set standards, provide resources and build coalitions for the industry. ISPA`s vision is to revitalise humanity, and its mission is to educate the public about the value of the spa experience and engage its participation.