The Value of Associations
By Mia Mackman
This is an article about the Value of Associations that I wrote for Professional Spa & Wellness Magazine in December 2013. I think there are some good nuggets of information about Associations and Groups, so I wanted to share it again here with you.
A Developing Market
Spa market segments are merging at a rapid rate in response to the widespread social and economic focus on health, wellness and medical tourism worldwide. This growth has given birth to a rising number of industry associations and organizations around the world.
As leisure and lifestyle segments converge and expand, the number of worldwide organizations has climbed into the hundreds, warranting an exploration of their unique industry value and the services they provide. Many of these groups have been established to meet the increased demand for networking, education and information sharing.
Whereas spas are the prevailing resource for delivering services to these dynamic new sectors, the role of the association is to collectively promote and nurture the performance of spa metrics and business. Today’s associations share simple common goals: uniting industry, building relationships, facilitating continuing education and sharing information designed to support success and overall industry growth.
Selection and Substance
With the vast number of association groups worldwide, choosing which group to join and collaborate with can be a daunting task. Participation often comes with a price, as nearly all groups require membership dues and/or sponsorships in exchange for the networking, information, and services provided.
The group(s) you choose to join should align with your personal outlook, business goals, company values, and regional interests. By determining your professional priorities, you will discover which type of organization will best serve you and foster your success.
When considering your involvement, it is vitally important to consider the value the association provides to its members and the ways in which it supports the growth and evolution of a healthy business. Moreover, an association is only as strong as its members. A group of focused and engaged participants can have a dramatic influence on regional market performance as well as staff engagement that governs client interactions.
Building new relationships is an obvious and essential component of business growth, and associations directly support this development by providing the forums in which members can collaborate and share best practices and methodologies. For those unaccustomed to sharing strategic information, it may seem counter-intuitive to share trade secrets until this is framed by the concept that “a rising tide lifts all boats”.
By addressing individual goals and challenges, associations actively facilitate and promote opportunities for professionals to thrive and learn through participative engagement. This type of collaboration eliminates typical barriers imposed by competitive business environments and instead serves to elevate the performance of the industry as a whole.
As high-speed technology continues to flourish, the need to stay well informed has become a vital key to individual and collective success. These days, what you don’t know will eventually hurt you… including your business reputation and your bottom line. When associations disseminate key industry information, it enables members to forecast trends, anticipate demands, and effectively plan for the future.
Global associations unite extraordinary concepts and compelling energy from around the world and offer a tremendous scope of membership benefits. Local associations retain the flexibility to focus on regional and demographic challenges unique to each market. The increasing number of regional associations addresses these needs by establishing a layer of support that creates intimate, localized forums to address critical issues.
It takes considerable and valuable time and energy to investigate emerging modalities, new products, and effective operating and marketing tools. By consolidating vital industry information and sharing it with their members, associations can advance concepts and processes with greater efficiency by way of industry events, luncheon-learns, conferences, newsletters and/or webinars.
Associations are positioned to serve as key leadership providers for the spa and wellness industry. As such, there is a responsibility to not only keep our eye on what lays ahead but also to identify and resolve what may be holding the industry back. Networking opportunities found through associations can enhance issue visibility and resolution tactics; paving the road to a brighter future and increasing growth security.
Spa and wellness association groups around the world have the potential to unite and inspire the industry in extraordinary ways. The more we share and learn together as professionals and providers, the better prepared we are to help people live better lives and make a meaningful impact on the future of our industry.