Touchless Technology

The answer to spa treatments in 2021

The concept of technology in the spa and wellness industry isn’t new. From online booking systems, self-check-in, text confirmations, and thank you messages, automation has become the standard. Today, the concept is pushed even further, thanks to Covid, to contactless/touchless experiences. The wellness industry leader, Global Wellness Institute (GWI), noted the trend and has collaborated with Halotherapy to share a new perception of the concept of “no-touch” experiences.

Change and adaptability are constant in the hospitality industry; now is no different. With options including salt caves, thermal lounge experiences, outdoor excursions, online interactions, and self-applied wellness techniques, the format may have changed, but the benefit of wellness practices remains the same. The shift in consumer demand to increased contactless/touchless experiences has forced companies to get creative to meet the requests.

The shift in consumer demand to increased contactless/touchless experiences has forced companies to get creative to meet the requests.

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There are a few notable exceptions, who incorporated technology into the guest experience before the pandemic and could weather the challenges. One of those locations was Canyon Ranch, Las Vegas, with 134,000 square feet (touted as the largest spa in the US) and 150 service experiences from spa, salon, and wellness. Canyon Ranch has long infused the notion of a touch-free experience for their guests. With the Aquavana®, “a suite of thermal spa cabins, tubs, and thermal bathing environments,” as well as the Wave Lounge, which provides an experience of healing and tension-releasing power with the use of advanced thermal treatment. It is a multi-sensory experience simulating the look and feel of breaking waves under a domed canopy. Though at a lower capacity, the location continues to operate and still provide relaxing and wellness-focused practices for guests.


Companies such as Resort Suite are leading the charge in developing technology to meet consumer demand for contactless experiences. In 2020, Resort Suite launched a mobile app, which allows the guest to “manage the experience” from start to finish, from their phones, with one-touch checkin and check-out, automated entry to touchless experiences, and personalized interactions even from a distance. The technology has been utilized by many spa, wellness, and hotel locations, though many locations have had to shut their doors and ride out the storm from home.

Six Senses Resorts and Spas, with 18 five-star locations, and a debut in the New York City area in 2021, made the transition from in person to online classes at the urging of patrons who wanted to continue to practice self-care. The move from live hands-on classes to virtual has allowed for additional revenue for many locations. The labor cost reduction has been replaced with an increase in residual income from classes and training. The shift to automation seems as if it will remain for years to come as it is advantageous for the spa and wellness location, and the consumer benefits from the experience as well.

A recent white paper from the Global Wellness Institute’s Hydrothermal Initiative touts the benefits and advantages of contactless experiences and encourages the utilization of equipment such as the “hydromassage.” The system is reported to give a relaxing massage sensation, and the guest can customize it, thus maximizing the experience. If guests cannot travel to Canyon Ranch or Six Senses to have a touchless experience, the benefits can be found in a location in their neighborhood. Massage Luxe, a spa franchise brand, offers a “Hydroluxe Massage” experience using powerful jets of water to relax the muscles and soothe tension. The service is free for members and $1 for non-members, and the benefits are noted to be similar to those experienced in a traditional massage session.


Will machines ever fully replace massage therapists, estheticians, or nail techs? No, as a therapist and former Director of Spa and Wellness, I don’t see that ever happening. However, I feel it is time to finally embrace technology in the spa and wellness treatment rooms to enhance the guest experience until all of our skilled service providers can step back into their roles. Once COVID-19 is a distant memory, I sincerely feel the demand for human connection will jump-start the industry and get us back to pre-Covid numbers and face-to-face experiences. Until then, technology is a friend and not an enemy and strives to meet the spa and wellness demands for consumers.


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