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December, 2005, Vol. 05, Issue 12

ISPA Conference Celebrates 15 Years

By Editorial Staff

The International SPA Association held its 15th Annual International Conference and Expo in Grapevine, Texas, Sept. 30 - Oct. 3, 2005. Approximately 2,500 attendees from 40 countries made the trip to the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center for the event.

Research and education were on prominent display at this year's event, with ISPA releasing research materials and educational tools designed to help spa professionals grow their businesses:

  • The association released its Member Financial Trends and Operating Report, which illustrates how top spas compare departmental revenue, payroll expenses, non-payroll expenses, retail operations, etc.
  • ISPA partnered with the ISPA Foundation to offer a retail management course explaining retail planning, inventory management, maximizing profits, sales and service, visual merchandising and marketing. They also introduced the spa operations course, covering job descriptions, service standards, telephone etiquette and how to handle guest complaints.
  • The 40-plus educational sessions focused on providing practitioners with keys to personal and professional success. "Trade Show Selling," "Mastering the Media," "How to Keep Your Compensation Plan From Eating Your Spa Alive," and other sessions gave attendees the chance to learn from experts in many fields in one setting.
  • "Knowledge Networks" provided a combination of networking and education, focusing on risk management, the greening of the spa industry, and other practice-management topics.

In addition, the silent and live auctions generated a record $72,210 for the ISPA Foundation's research endeavors.

Speakers at ISPA 2005 included Dr. Bertice Berry, who served as the master of ceremonies and the closing keynote speaker. Berry also organized a group of attendees who participated in the first "ISPA Choir." The opening general session's "Visionary Panel" included Ruth Stricker, founder of The Marsh, a Center for Balance and Fitness, in Minnetonka, Minn.; Deborah Szekely, founder of Rancho La Puerta, Golden Door and Eureka Communities; and Dr. Kenneth Cooper, the "Father of Aerobics" and founder of the Cooper Aerobics Center in Dallas, Texas. The panel presented their visions for the future of the spa industry. Tim Sanders, author of The Likeability Factor, also addressed attendees. Sanders talked about how to achieve one's dreams by maximizing friendliness, relevance, empathy and realness.

An attendee receives a chair massage at the 2005 ISPA conference. - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark An attendee receives a chair massage at the 2005 ISPA conference. The ISPA exposition featured 337 vendor booths representing nearly 240 companies. With 80 new exhibitors and more than 70 product launches, attendees were able to get a preview of the hottest products and services available to spa professionals.

"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."

The 2006 ISPA Conference and Expo will be held Nov. 6-9 at the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas. Visit for information about the 2006 conference, as well as audio recordings of 2005 sessions.


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