FOCUS TERME E BENESSERE III: il comparto termale italiano: domanda, sistema di offerta e strategie competitive

Tonino Pencarelli, Mauro Dini
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The role played by spas in the broader wellness industry. The spa system has been undergoing a gradual transformation over the years, moving away from the original, and sole, purpose of providing targeted health treatments to now offering value in the form of overall wellness for everyone, whether they are persons seeking balneotherapy or simply tourists. The aim of this study is to investigate the role played by spas in the broader wellness industry. In particular, it endeavors to address the following research points: 1) describe the demand profile for spa products; 2) define the spa supply system to assess the degree of integration among the various services offered within the whole wellness system; and 3) identify the main competitive strategies adopted by spas. In this aim, the article first offers a brief overview of the “wellness system” and of the spa sector, then discusses the findings of an empirical exploratory study of Italian spas, conducted in October of 2016. Despite the limitations attributable to the small number of participants, the study provides some interesting insights on the features of supply and demand within the spa sector; in particular, the research highlights how spas are targeting new user categories by creating an integrated spa product offering that includes cultural and natural heritage as well as the goods and services available in the territory surrounding the spa location.