Diana F. Mestre, founder of the renowned Mexican spa and wellness consultancy Mestre & Mestre, is one of the leading international experts in wellness. With her extensive experience of over 35 years in the industry and the leadership of her company in Mexico, the Caribbean, and Latin America, we tapped into her knowledge to explore the main trends driving the wellness and spa industry.
1. What is your perception of the current state of the wellness sector? Do you see significant differences between the Latin American market and other markets?
In general, the wellness sector is booming worldwide. Following the experiences of the pandemic, people are more concerned about their health. The Latin American markets are more focused on beauty and personal care, but they also incorporate shamanic aspects, the use of ayahuasca, and ancestral healing traditions based on local culture. In contrast, European countries have a greater emphasis on balneotherapy and the use of healing waters, as well as various therapies for holistic healing. Finally, in the United States, wellness leans towards biohacking technologies – with an individual-centered perspective on improving health and human performance – nutrition, high physical performance, and functional medicine.
2. What is your vision when creating a new project?
At Mestre & Mestre, our passion for the senses inspires us to create impeccable, memorable, and unforgettable experiences. We love designing spaces and highly desirable and transformative wellness proposals where the main sources of inspiration are the regional traditions of each country.
3. Do you believe that the situation experienced during the pandemic has contributed to allocating more resources to personal care and wellness afterwards, as a society and as an industry?
Definitely, the pandemic has been crucial for the wellness industry’s takeoff. The projected growth by the Global Wellness Summit promises to be very high. It is expected that wellness tourism will grow by 20% by 2025, while spas will grow by 17% and locations offering thermal waters by 18%. What we have learned from this pandemic is that the most valuable treasure is our health, well-being, the creation of communities with a vision that connects us as individuals, with nature, organic food, and caring for the planet.
4. Do you think there is any “emerging” country that has been standing out in recent years?
There is significant growth in the wellness concept in several countries that stand out due to their geographical characteristics and culture. For example, Iceland: with a combination of geothermal hot springs, mud baths, spas, and yoga retreats, it has become one of the leading wellness tourism destinations. Japan has become an attraction for its hot springs, traditions, and Zen meditation practices. Costa Rica, with its impressive biodiversity and focus on sustainability, has been recognized as one of the main wellness destinations in Latin America. Finally, Thailand and India have always been at the forefront of physical, mental, and spiritual well-being traditions and culture.
5. As a wellness specialist, what trends would you highlight?
- Digital Well-being: Technology will play a fundamental role in promoting well-being through applications and devices. Meditation, breathing, yoga, and nutrition apps have managed to capture a significant audience.
- Wellness in Real Estate: Home and community designs incorporate more elements of well-being, such as natural lighting, contact with nature, botanical gardens, purified air, non-toxic building materials, etc.
- Functional Foods: The trend of following a healthy, organic, pesticide-free diet and personalized supplementation to improve health will continue to grow.
- Healthy Exercise and Mobility: The fitness sector is booming with a more diverse range of training techniques, from functional sessions to Qi Gong. Alternatives such as cycling and walking will also increase.
- Personal Empowerment: More and more people are seeking tools to take greater control of their well-being and health through nutrition programs, meditation, cognitive control, diagnostics, and improvement of mental, physical, and spiritual performance.
6. Can you tell us about the Sensory Design method that guides your projects?
We have created a method for designing spaces and sensory programs based on the 7 senses that are applied in the projects and programs we collaborate on.
We start all projects with an analysis of the sense of identity to establish their differentiation and unique characteristics. We evaluate the sense of arrival and create olfactory, gustatory, auditory, visual, and tactile memories. We value the sense of location to create experiences that reflect the country, its people, and their traditions. We analyze the sense of flow to detect any fractures in service or experience. We design unforgettable moments under the sense of admiration, or how we can enhance the experience beyond what a client expects. We establish the sense of farewell with an unforgettable memory, and finally, we train the staff in the sense of connection, which generates loyalty and gratitude from our clients and guests.
7. What challenges do you think the wellness sector faces?
- Education: Despite the increased interest in health and wellness, many people still do not understand the importance of regular physical activity, nutrition, and self-care.
- Sustainability: Consumers are increasingly concerned about the sustainability of the products and services they use, and wellness companies must ensure they meet expectations by selecting programs and products consistent with the environment, the planet, and user health.
- Technology: Technology has changed how people approach wellness, and companies must implement it to offer optimized and relevant user experiences.
- Personalization: Consumers are becoming more specific in selecting products and services that suit their individual needs, posing a significant challenge for companies in the sector.
- Costs: There is a need for democratization, with a broader range of price offerings for all types of wellness experiences that cover a wider segment of the population, including children.
8. What do you think a wellness expert or advocate is looking for when coming to Piscina & Wellness Barcelona?
- Relevant information about the benefits of hydrotherapy.
- The benefits of different types of filtration, for example, the use of magnesium salts vs. chlorine.
- Interesting knowledge for hydrotherapy technicians regarding concepts of vasodilation, vasoconstriction, rest, and rehydration.
- Different journeys and hydrothermal experiences and their benefits in a wellness center.
- How to capitalize on the use of hydrothermal facilities in your spa.
- Knowledge of the major challenges in implementing hydrothermal facilities.
- Knowing the major mistakes to avoid when building a hydrothermal center.
- Equipment features: Highlighting the different equipment required in a wellness center, such as tubular beds, swan necks, cobras, cervical jets, anatomical points, and their contributions.
- Exchange of information on the diversity of hydrothermal traditions around the world.
- Learning more about the best places and hydrothermal experiences in the world.
Cristina Benavides, collaborator of Piscina & Wellness Barcelona