Understanding Generation Y's Favorite Spa Scent, Spa Food Versus
Journal of Tourism & Hospitality

Journal of Tourism & Hospitality
Open Access

ISSN: 2167-0269

+44 1300 500008

Research Article - (2018) Volume 7, Issue 4

Understanding Generation Y's Favorite Spa Scent, Spa Food Versus Spa Service Experience

Irini Lai Fun Tang*, Grace Suk Ha Chan, Theresa Tan-Chew and Roberta Wong Leung
Faculty of International Tourism and Management, City University of Macau, Macao
*Corresponding Author: Irini Lai Fun Tang, Faculty of International Tourism and Management, City University of Macau, Macao, Tel: 8590-2551 Email:


The paper aims to review the understanding of Generation Y’s preferred spa consumption behavior, particularly their scent, food and service experience. This research involves 40 spa students specializing in Leisure & Spa study in City University of Macao, with focus on their spa consumption experience. The findings suggest the use of social media has somewhat influence on the consumption of specific spa products, whether in relation to their destination choice or image, as well as spa venues. Opinions generated from social media use considerably influences the formation of individual spa purchase intention.
The escalating pressure in the daily lives of people in cities, especially Macao, Hong Kong and cities in Mainland China increased the general public’s level of anxiety and depression, particularly those of Generation Y who actively indulge in social media matters, because they equally seek for spa consumption opportunities. This study uncovers new findings on the spa experience of Generation Y to meet the customized and personalized needs of Generation Y international travelers and to ensure practitioners can cope with the demands of various rapid instant technology communication purchase patterns

Keywords: Spa service experience; Spa scent; Spa food; Generation Y; Social Media; Macao

Characteristics of Generation Y and their Social Media Application

Those born after 1981 are categorized as Generation Y and are also called the digital natives [1], considering their active contribution, sharing, search for, and consumption of content, plus work and play, in social media platforms [2]. The use of social media is a basic need and common phenomenon of Generation Y. In this regard, they are members who grew up with computers and can master its usage well, while interacting through social media. The computer and mobile phone are necessary instruments in this generation’s daily life.

Spa scent

Fragrance has been seen as a factor that can make or break a travelling experience, whether the fragrance is available in a coach, a hotel, a restaurant, a shopping mall, as well as a spa venue in a destination. A history of record reported in the National Advisory Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke Council 1979 estimated that approximately 2 million American adults have disorders of taste and smell [3]. From this respect, smell and taste would have considerable influence toward one’s livelihood and travelling experience. In particular, countries, such as Paris, France, are renowned for their perfume selling. The Kings of France used to have a custom of not taking showers in their life time to retain their royal bodies for the country. In certain countries, such as India, nearly over 50 percent of the people in the population use perfume or apply toiletry as a daily habit, similar to the Indians, French, and Europeans. They commonly use perfume to enhance one’s odor with the fragrance in the hope of enhancing one’s self-image and confidence and improving the social network of a perfume brand.

However, the aroma given in indoor individual shopping malls, hotels, restaurants have also been a concern. Some travelers seek to travel outdoors with the greens and the flowers, such as the rain forest, lavender field as a popular destination sight-seeing spot, to seek the scent of the green plants or to de-stress by smelling the lavender fragrance, plus some detoxing, refreshing, and rejuvenating one’s spirit. Certain spa destinations are located in the bamboo area. Apart from the smell, an effect of meditation is noted as one seeks for quietness, to find oneself in or back to nature.

The present study proposes to focus on the understanding of the favorite spa scent of Generation Y in the spa service experience. A few youngsters seek the experience, particularly with scent-specific encounters. The spa scent simply invokes some of their best memories, such as childhood or nostalgia, that help them escape from the current stressful city life to refresh one’s mind or to search for further meaning of life. Out of the samples of the interviews, incident outcomes will be identified with the content analysis, and episode application while determining the activities that affect the spa experience consumption. The incidents are classified and compared using several service-quality scales [4-7]. The current study will specifically explore the positive or negative spa scent experiences of Generation Y by taking note of the various spa venues and travel destinations of this generation. Incident classification will be indicated with their positive (favorite scent) and negative incident (if any) categories and comments. Main attributes and sub-attributes in various dimensions will be determined with the activities within the spa experience.

Spa food

Food has been regarded as a major travel motive, with food tourism having emerged as a major attraction around the globe, including Macau and Mainland China. Food particularly engenders a pleasurable travel experience. The “experience” concept has been explored in the restaurant dining context [8-14]. However, spa food experience has remained unexplored.

First, a common characteristic of existing studies is that they only identify the variables/attributes [9] or experiential cues involved in dining/meal experiences [11]. However, at the core of a co-created experience, that is, the active sense-making of the diners and spa users and how spa food goes well together with the spa scent and spa service experience have been overlooked. Second, experience co-creation is a basis for value creation, and value is perceived as embedded in experiences [15]. By strengthening the association between the spa venue escape experience and spa food characteristics, the current study cultivates tourists’ interest in the cuisine and results in organic/natural spa consuming frequency for their health. Furthermore, the study verifies the popularity of spa food that directly enhances a destination visit and or regional economic effects on the relationships. Well-being encompasses a healthy cuisine. Nowadays, the business approach extends the various practices leading to wellness, fitness, inner strength, and pure energy.

Spa service experience

At present, the spa business approach extends the various elements and ingredients leading to wellness, beauty, inner strength, energy, and spiritual enrichment. All these elements and ingredients ultimately aim to soothe one’s heart, soul, and spirit. A possible growing trend is emerging for youngsters, especially young girls. In a survey of 67 girls, the study found that “they would rather be size 10 than having had straight A in their academic result;” this finding implies young girls would prefer a slim figure [16]. In the 21st century, youngsters focus more on their looks and appearance, including body shape, beauty, and wellness than on intellectual ability. Therefore, the dynamic change currently requires more up-to-date spa treatment concepts on personal image outlook in the spa and wellness sector. This study will determine the favorite spa scent and experience that stimulate the Generation Y’s desires to visit a specific type of spa (Table 1) [17]. This research will fulfill this need, partly based on the latest development.

Spa Type Definition
1. Resort/Hotel Getaway Spa Resort and hotel spa properties offer a wide variety of recreational facilities, including a full-service spa. Activities available may include golf, tennis, horseback riding, skiing, and water sports. A range of dining options is usually on property. Spa treatments and services generally complement a hotel stay or vacation activities at the resort.
2. Destination Spa Destination spas offer a full-immersion spa experience in which all guests participate. All-inclusive programs provide fitness activities, nutritious spa cuisine, various therapeutic spa and body treatments, educational classes, and mind/body/spirit offerings to help guests jump-start a new, more healthful lifestyle.
3. Connoisseur
The crème de la crème of spas, this elite collection was chosen using strict criteria, such as extraordinary ambience, luxurious accommodations, high staff-to-guest ratio, exceptional spa services, outstanding cuisine, and industry awards and recognition.
4. Spa Lifestyle Real Estate An increasingly popular option with community living enthusiasts, spa lifestyle real estate offers homebuyers an opportunity to purchase an exclusive home in an environment constructed around a luxurious spa facility.
5. Casino Spa Casino spas offer vacationers a chance to try their hand at any number of exciting games of chance without leaving the premises. These high-end properties tend to attract fun-seeking travelers who like both their excitement and their spa luxury in large doses.
6. Day Spa Day spa and salon spa visits offer a simple, flexible way to incorporate the spa experience into your everyday life. Soothing massages, beautifying facials, and rejuvenating body wraps are only a few of the heavenly spa treatments that provide a healing break from your everyday routine.
7. Medical Spa: Cosmetic These spas operate under the full-time supervision of a licensed healthcare professional. Medical personnel work alongside spa therapists in an atmosphere that integrates clinical-grade aesthetic enhancement and spa treatments/concepts. Med spas may or may not have overnight accommodations.
8. Medical Spa: Wellness These spas provide comprehensive wellness and preventive care that may adhere to traditional Western medical concepts, complementary/alternative philosophies, or a combination of the two (known as integrative medicine). Spa treatments are incorporated into wellness programs as an effective way to reduce stress and rejuvenate.
9. Dental Spa Conventional wisdom has it that no one relishes a trip to the dentist, but by incorporating spa elements into their dental spa practices, today’s enterprising dentists aim to make your twice-yearly checkup a spa-like luxury.
10. Mobile Spa Mobile spas bring professional practitioners to your home or office, making it simple for you to enjoy pampering spa services, such as facials, massages, manicures, and pedicures, anywhere at any time. Plan a unique birthday party, bridal shower, or office party!
11. Airport Spa Airport spas provide passengers with pre- or post-flight pampering, and spa treatments are sometimes abbreviated to accommodate travelers' schedules. Options include quick chair massages and express facials, although some spas feature extensive menus. Spa treatments may be found in some airport lounges, as well, although access is sometimes restricted.
12. Cruise Ship Spa Spas on cruise ships provide travelers a chance to indulge in spa experiences amid the high seas. Accessible to all (although some age restrictions may apply), most spas feature salons, full-service fitness facilities, and extensive menus, with treatments offered on deck, on shore, or in the water. Some ships feature spa suites and cabins for extra comfort and amenities, as well as nourishing spa cuisine in cafes and restaurants. Health-conscious passengers can rejuvenate on board specialty-themed cruises or voyages that offer special wellness programming.

    Source: Spafinder, 2018

Table 1: Spas by Type.

Increasing awareness of Wellness via the Spa service experience context: In the health spectrum, Cohen [18] further stated the spa experience can be enhanced to achieve perfect health bliss and wellbeing. However, at the elementary level, wellness can be equated with “health.” According to the World Health Organization (WHO), wellness is “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” [19]. Wellness is further defined as a multi-dimensional state in several areas, such as 1) positive conditions of health; 2) good quality of life; 3) sense of well-being; and 4) toward longevity, which applies particularly to the elderly who can achieve a well-balanced and sustainable life. However, the symptom of dying young exists, with hidden diseases that cannot be eliminated because of the pressure known in city lives with high expectations and competitiveness in daily routine and living. Other discussions refer to wellness as a state of health featuring the harmony of body, mind, and spirit with self-responsibility [20,21]. Nevertheless, spa visit is considered as Generation Y’s dynamic, endogenous factors, that is, the social norms and emotions prompt them to develop the conscious and/or subconscious urge to consume the spa experience. Hence, the understanding of Generation Y’s hygiene and critical factors of spa service should be in place in this study.



The paper focuses on the preferences, values, and behavior determining the spa travel motivation derived from Generation Y’s favorite attributes of scent, food, and service experience, together with the responses toward the social media interaction and influence. Critical Incident Technique (CIT) is employed to justify and evaluate the significance of Generation Y’s spa scent and food versus spa service preference in relation to their desired travel destination or social media, as well as other reasons. Similarly, CIT validates the new findings regarding the implication of Generation Y’s travel behavior with individual, endogenous, environmental, hygiene, and critical of service quality factors.

Literature review will be conducted in the aspects of spa scent, food, and service experience. Hence, CIT will be conducted to explore, report, and discuss the findings pertaining to aspects of spa scent, food, and spa service experience. The interview will involve over 30 respondents who have visited the spa in Macao, Mainland China and or any country. The purpose is to obtain an overall understanding of the feeling toward spa scent, food, and experience of Generation Y in the Asia Pacific Region, particularly in Macao and Mainland China. The research will analyze the extent to which the image, ingredients, and attributes of the spa scent and food will affect their spa experience and consumption patterns now and in the near future. The usage of CIT aims to verify the positive and negative incidents that have possibly arisen during the travel and/or prior travel with social media interactions in Macao and Mainland China. This study aims to confirm that spa scent, food, and service experience served as basic hygiene service quality factors [22,23], together with the social media influences viewed as critical factors causing significant effects on the tourism industry of Macao.


Qualitative method is employed to obtain the quality-related attributes of the Generation Y’s spa scent, food, and spa service experience from CIT. The Critical Incident Technique will be used in this current study. Coding and classifying the data of the favorite spa scent and food on the spa service visit have enabled us to (1) assess the appropriate types of themes and categories into our developed spa scent framework and the sequence of dimensions, (2) compare categories and sub-categories in terms of mainly positive spa scent and spa food experiences, (3) apply new attributes in the episode application in traditional version (Figure 1) and Generation Y’s version (Figure 2), (4) analyze the perceived service quality via the consumption of spa process, and (5) define the understanding of spa scent and food based on the main attributes. In addition, this study aims to understand how social media influence Generation Y and retain the future-oriented loyalty of travelling spa guests with the psychocentric inclination characteristics in nature. Focusing on process course, character, and outcome, may enrich understanding of Critical Incidents (CI) [24-28].


Figure 1: Episode application – Affecting Spa service experience Consumption (Traditional Version).


Figure 2: Episode application – Affecting Spa service experience Consumption (Generation Y’s Version).


A pilot test was conducted two weeks prior to sample distribution. The pilot test was employed to fine-tune and check the delivery of details and expressions of words in other parts of the samples. Five to ten pilot samples were administered, and interviews were conducted because of the small sample size expected in this study. A few wordings were rephrased after the pilot test. This study targeted a sample of Generation Y, who tended to avail of the hotel spa treatment during their leisure time within six months prior to this sampling exercises.

Convenient sampling was adopted in the study because of the practical difficulties of employing random sampling in the data collection. Few people with direct spa experience were available. Hence, convenience sampling was implemented on existing students who specialize in Leisure and Spa Management. The respondents first filled out the samples, which were returned within 30 minutes. The interviewers clarified any questions the target respondents had encountered in the CIT.

Moreover, the snowball sampling technique through the friends and colleagues of the author can also be employed in case of a shortage of samples. However, such scenario is unlikely and inapplicable in this project because in-house Generation Y Leisure and Spa University students will be explored. The CIT questions will also be translated into the Chinese language to ensure easy reading and understanding of the possible spa terminologies in accordance with the level of English proficiency. Snowball sampling can also help distribute samples rapidly to the target group from one referral to a group of up to 10 to 20 spa fans.

The respondents comprise the target audience with spa experience in the city hotels of Macao or any country worldwide. The respondents indicated their interest in hotel spa and their intention to share their opinions within six months of the date the sampling was conducted because a distant time would produce a memory gap in their hotel spa experience. Approximately 30–50 samples were targeted and obtained in this project, and additional samples will be secured if necessary in future studies. Furthermore, distribution could also be made through other means of contacts, including friends, colleagues, and relatives, thereby contributing to the desired sample size of respondents within a maximum of four weeks, followed by content analysis.


Prior research on the understanding of Generation Y and their use of social media has raised more queries than it answers. Previous studies focused primarily on the USA and one other country, ignoring other regions. The current study focuses on the Asia-Pacific Region Chinese with regard to the drivers and outcomes of social media use. This paper reviews and reflects on the preferred spa products and travel inclination of Generation Y to cause a direct influence on the elements and images given by a destination, spa venue, social media, and/or other reasons.

The following major questions have been asked in the CIT approach for two groups of spa students with a total of 24 female (F) and 16 male (M) candidates (Day Class – 10 F+10 M; Evening Class – 14 F+6 M):

• Recall your favorite spa scent as part of your recent spa experience.

• Name a spa food that is your favorite item to consume during your spa experience.

• Give an example of a spa service that you consume most.

• Will you view the social media before consuming the spa? Will you be affected positively or negatively? Please list the social media sites that you visit most often.

Preferred spa scent

The findings indicated the classification of the spa scent includes five main types. They are flowers, fruits, plants, natural, and others categories (Table 2). Out of the samples, with a total of 43 items, one respondent mentioned more than one item. The majority of candidates select flower (23) as their spa scent, followed by fruits (9), plants (7), natural ingredients (3), and others (1).

Categories Flowers Fruits Plants Natural Ingredients and Others
Types of Attributes 6  Lavender 4 Coconut:
2 coconut,
2 coconut oil
7 Lemongrass (2 specified Thailand Lemongrass) 3 Natural Ingredients :
2 Wood /
1 Incense
4 Flower: 
1 light flower and
3 flower
4 Roses
4 Jasmine
2 Polynesian 3 Lemon 1 Others :
1 Aroma
2 Osmanthus 1 Tangerine
1 White Musk 1 Mango
Total 43 23 9 7 4

Table 2: Types of Spa Scent.

Flower: Among the 23 responses in this category, six chose lavender, four chose flowers, including one Light flower and three Flower, four Roses, four Jasmine, two Polynesian, two Osmanthus, and one White Musk. Basically they are all flowers. Most students loved the lavender effect with its relaxing feeling, and they also preferred light scents in particular. For Jasmine, it has light floral aroma, and provides delight and bliss, thereby affording them a relaxing and serene experience. By contrast, Polynesian and Osmanthus are regarded as special items of flowers because they enjoy the Polynesian island culture scent. Alternately, Osmanthus captivates their interest of this kind of flower because of the family upbringing background, which corresponds to their choice of endogenous factors. Next is the fruit scent.

Fruits: Among the nine responses, four chose coconut. Within the coconut item, two chose coconut oil, three for lemon, one tangerine, and one mango. Basically, the response feedback specified that coconut is of nature, whereas others were simply based on their preference of the fruits that they constantly eat.

Plants: For the total of seven responses, all chose lemongrass. However, two samples contained a response specifying a preference for Thailand lemongrass. Their delight with the country is shown in their scent selection.

Natural ingredients and others: A total of three natural ingredients, including two wood and one incense, and one aroma were classified as others. These natural ingredients have implications for their return-to-nature qualities.

Preferred spa food

Among the 40 samples, the spa food mentioned by candidates can be classified into four major types (Table 3), including Tea, Fruits, Drinks, and Other food items. Among the 40 samples, their preference of spa food fell into the category of Tea with a total of 27 responses, followed by Fruits (15), Drinks (12), and Other Food items (13). We noticed that the Generation Y are easily satisfied with the spa experience simply with tea and fruits, and two organic items were expected in the Other Food items from the findings. These data serve as new interesting findings of the Generation Y’s preferred spa food and drinks, with a total of 67 mentioned attributes. Respondents commented with a range from a minimum of one item and up to a maximum of four items.

Categories Tea Fruits Drinks Other Food
Types of Attributes 9 Fruit tea :
7 fruit tea
1 winter melon 1 plum tea
6 Fruits:
general fruits (unspecified)
5 Water:
3 lemon water
1 Coconut water
1 Water.
5 Healthy food:
2 salad
1 honey
2 organic fruits: 1 water melon,  1 pear
5 Flowers :  Rosehip 3
Osmanthus 1 Flower 1.
3 Water melon 3 Juices:
1 Fresh Fruit juice
1 Orange juice
1 Apple Juice
5 Sweet dessert types:
1 Cake
1 Mini-cake
1 Osmanthus pudding
1 Mango pudding
1 pudding
8 Common tea: Green Tea 3
Black 1
Just Tea 4
6  General:
1 Apple
1 Mango
1 Osmanthus fruit
1 Honey Dew Melon
1 Orange
1 dried fruit
3 Health related tea :
1 ginger tea
1 red dates tea
1 roasted tea
3 Fruit type:
2 water melon
1 Mango drink
3 Comfort food: 1 ice-cream
1 cup noodles
1 dim sum.
2 Specialty tea :
1 charcoal tea
1 pulled milk tea
(Malaysian style)
1 Milk
Total  67 27 15 12 13

Table 3: Types of Spa Food.

Tea: Tea was considered as a must and common serving as part of the spa service experience. According to data, Generation Y selected tea as the most popular spa food/drink for its replenishing effect and accounted for 27 out of 67 spa food items, which is 40% of the majority. However, as part of the spa service, whether serving the right type of tea can enhance or deteriorate the total spa experience is of significance. In view of the choice of Generation Y, tea is regarded as the most favorite spa food or drinking items. Among the tea categorization, the most popular tea type is fruit tea and accounts for a total of nine, seven fruit tea; one winter melon; and one plum tea; followed by five flowers, namely, three rosehip, one osmanthus tea, and one flower. Next would be eight common tea leaves, namely, three green tea, one black, and four only tea. Three health-related tea items have been mentioned, namely, ginger tea, red dates tea, and roasted tea. Two specialty tea drinks are also their preference, including charcoal tea and pulled milk tea (Malaysian style).

Fruits: Apart from tea as the popular spa drinking item, fruits are regarded as the next popular spa food item, with a total of 15 out of the total 67 items (22%). Among the fruits, Generation Y indicate fruits with a total of six as a general preference, followed by three water melon, that is, the most favorable one single fruit item that Generation Y mentioned. The remaining six include one apple, one mango, one osmanthus fruit, one honey dew melon, one orange, and one dried fruit.

Drinks: Other than tea, drinks are also considered to be the third popular spa food or drinking items on the list with a total of 12. Drinks include five water: three lemon water, one coconut water and one water; three juices: namely one fresh fruit juice, one orange juice, and one apple juice; three fruit type: two water melon and one mango drink; and one milk. One student expressed having fresh fruit juice; whereas others have various favorite drinks, such as mango, orange, and apple. One indicated that providing only regular water is fine, whereas one student specified that coconut water was preferable. Another one preferred milk.

Other food items: A total of 13 food items are identified, including two salad, two cake: one cake and one mini cake, two organic fruits: one water melon and one pear, one honey, one osmanthus pudding, one mango pudding, one pudding, one ice-cream, one cup noodles, and one dim sum. Among this category, five healthy food items have been notably recognized, including two organic fruits, honey, and two salad. Five sweet dessert types, namely, cake, mini-cake, osmanthus pudding, one mango pudding, and one pudding. Other than desserts, three comfort food have been required by Generation Y, namely, icecream, cup noodles, and dim sum, which they consume regularly.

Preferred spa service experience

The most significant spa service experience the Generation Y would like to pursue is massage (18), followed by aroma therapy (7), related facilities (6), facial (1), others, and unspecified (10), which is understood as a combination of various spa service experiences that could be involved (Table 4). Two respondents mentioned more than one item. Hence, a total of 42 items were identified out of 40 respondents.

Categories Massage   Aroma Therapy Related Facilities Facial Others and Unspecified
Types of Attributes Body massage (8)   2 Coconut 3 Sauna 1 Facial 8
Foot massage (3)   1 Light flower
Head massage (2)   1 Lemongrass 2 Steam
Specialty massages (3): Traditional Chinese massage 1,
4-Hand massage 1,
1 cupping glass
  1 Lavendar. 2 Others :
1 Hot spring
1 Shampoo Hair
  1 Tahiti Orchid 1 Jacuzzi
General massage (2)   1 White Musk
Total 42 18   7 6 1 10

Table 4: Types of Spa Service Experience.

Massage: As part of the spa service experience, among the findings of the two groups (one day time and one night time) of classes of spa students representing the Generation Y, 18 basic noticeable massage services were determined, including body massage (8); foot massage (3); head massage (2); specialty massages (3), namely, traditional Chinese massage (1), four-hand massage (1), and cupping glass (1), plus general massage (2). Body massage (8) appears to be the most popular, according to the data. Nonetheless, massage services have considerable variance in service in terms of style and strength (i.e., Thai massage, Swedish, Hawaii Lomi Lomi, etc., from which extra strength is attributed to Thai Massage style, Swedish is considered subtle, and Lomi Lomi is in between or has a mixture of the media range of strength). A few massage services include the hot stone and/ or herbal balls applied on the body. However, these two groups of spa students only mentioned a few criteria, but did not stress which type of sophisticated massage reflected their preference and requirement during that recent spa service experience.

Aroma therapy: A total of seven responses concerning the aroma were returned as feedback of the questions. The spa scents that the seven specific candidates have chosen and mentioned include two coconut, one lemongrass, one lavender, and one Light flower, one Tahiti orchid, and one white musk. Recognizing the Generation Y’s preferred ranges of essence oils to be applied for the aroma therapy is an inspiring and interesting subject. The selection of the essence oils are diverse, including flower aroma, namely, light flower and lavender, which project a relaxing feeling; Tahiti orchid and white musk, which provide happy feelings; lemongrass offers an energizing and rejuvenating feeling; and the most popular coconut oil, which invokes a natural and organic sense of undertaking.

Related facilities: A total of six responses appeared in this category, including sauna (3), steam (2), and jacuzzi (1). The major reasons include sauna providing the spa user with a detoxifying effect and heavy perspiring output from producing sweat through the pores of the skin as a result of heat, physical exertion, or stress. Steam usage can help nurture the skin with essential oil, and a kind of DIY hair mask treatment. Jacuzzi is also selected purely because of the preferred hydro effect from the outlet of the water jets that help relax one’s muscle points.

Facial treatment: Notably, a majority of female candidates study spa, but only one sample of the Generation Y specified facial treatment as part of the spa experience.

Others and unspecified: Others include eight samples regarded as “unspecified,” because the samples do not specifically mention any spa service they desire in particular. To a certain extent, this group of spa-goers will be involved diversified spa activities, including the massage plus the hardware given in the spa venue or the spa hotel. Two other categories include one hot spring and one shampoo hair as their favorite spa service experience.

Effect of social media

Table 5 illustrated that out of 40 samples, a majority of the group, that is, 36 out of 40 (accounting for 90%) admitted social media actually have an enormous effect toward their spa consumption pattern. For the influence, social media contribute to both positive effect (25 out of 36, i.e., 69 percent) and negative effect (7 out of 36, i.e., 19 percent). Among such findings from those positive candidates, 21 interviewees expressed they had reasons leading to further actions of the spa consumption. Among the negative impact candidates, three have reasons with two taking further actions upon the spa consumption.

Will Social Media affect your choice of spa consumption?
Sample Y
15 Means: 
Total 46
40 36 Yes 4 10 25 21 8 7 3 2 17 Facebook users; 7 Wechat
4 Instagram; Google search 3
Youtube 3; Emails 3
Tripadvisor 1; Yahoo search 1;
Sogou 1; Weibo 1;
Online Purchase 1,
Cell phone 1, 
TV 1, Advertisement 1
Any general media 1

Table 5: Effect of Social Media.

Social media sites include a variation of 15 types. A total of 17 Facebook users, which are the majority, followed by WeChat (7), Instagram (4), Google Search (3), Youtube (3), Emails (3), Tripadvisor (1), Yahoo search (1), Sogou (1), Weibo (1), online purchase (1), cell phone (1), TV (1), advertisement (1), and any general media (1). Positive effects leading to the 21 reasons are mainly the results of the marketing and promotional techniques performed via the social media source, including “Notice specific offer,” “Clear Information,” “Show Spa shop appearance with promotional video,” “Media Press positive writings,” “promotion,” and “Great effect with image and advertisement for pretty movie stars.” Relating to the marketing and promotional techniques, the spa students also concern with utilizing in the specific spa shops, including “Advertisement Bulk purchase” and “Promotional material viewed as ‘Like’ activities.” The second major reason is having been affected by other consumers’ expressed comments, which are “Viewed other people’s spa photos” and “Positive buying experience.” Among the main reasons are the content, including “Content “ and “Anticipate and understand spa details.”, they also consider other people’s experiences and evaluations. The actions made by the samples are “Half price or Free experience” and “Make one believe the effect is good.” However, only one sample feedback concerned personal feeling, that is, the final one comment “Everyone’s feelings are different.”

For those negatively affected by social media, they include two main reasons, that is, the consumers’ feelings and the promotional technique and comments given either by the press or other consumers. Consumers’ feelings include “Disturbance” and “Identify bad feeling and experience.” The negative promotional technique includes “Too many advertisements.” Overall, negative comments given by the press or other consumers include “Media press negative writings,” “Mainly comments on the negativity,” and “Media press negative writings.”

For the four samples whose respondents expressed they have not been affected by social media, the latter is regarded as traditional version (Figure 1). The main reasons behind are “care for own personal spa experience,” “Only rely on self-preference even after viewing social media,” “Only go to familiar spa venue,” and “Have identified a spa shop together with an appropriate therapist.”

Discussion and Analysis

From the data of the spa students, we notice students who have been strongly influenced by social media, in both positive and negative feedbacks of the comments from previous consumers account for 90 percent, a total of 36 students out of 40. The promotion occurred via reading 15 types of social media. Only four night class students have strong opinions on their spa preference, which will not be affected by reading the social media. Social media have been viewed as a critical factor for the spa consuming behavior, which has the potential to both contribute to the delight and dissatisfaction of the spa service experience. Moreover, spa scent, food, and spa service experience, which are regarded as the hygiene factors (Lockwood, 1994; Johnston, 1995), are those that must be in place: if they are, they will satisfy; if not, they will be a source of dissatisfaction. In the current study, neutral and enhancing factors have not been discussed. The roots of habits in the daily lives of Generation Y have been dominated by social media tools, in the same way as their peer group influence them rather than their parents, seniors, or other traditional means.

Application to practitioners and marketers

The Generation Y can respond quickly to social media with the comments provided in the platform. Having noticed the mentioned popularity of social media as a tool, marketers could take note on putting extra efforts on the specified media, such as Facebook, Instagram, and WeChat to reflect a positive image of the spa experience that can be provided. The Key Opinion Leader (KOL) or celebrities can be invited to have the positive spa trial experience as an advertising effect. Given that spa ingredients and components are viewed as part of the spa service experience, the Generation Y do not require sophisticated means. Products required are purely back to basics. Similarly, spa food and drinks, such as the fruit tea and fruits are fundamental criteria. Spa aroma, such as the most popular type, namely, the lavender scent. Moreover, spa service, namely, massage, including a few basic in-house facilities, including sauna or steam that should be available can satisfy the guests of Generation Y. Overall, a positive word-of-mouth spa experience discussed via the social media is as important as much as the general friends’ circle recommendation.


To conclude, with respect to gaining a favorable and wonderful spa experience, the attributes are indicated to be very tedious with many refined details of the spa aspect. However, the wellness, medical, and spa tourism have been developed with significant findings and contribution with the income for the economic, social well-being, and in the long term, one’s health and longevity. Despite the better medical development and its applications, natural and spa treatment cannot be overlooked or eliminated because it serves as part of the enhancement of the overall tourism experience. For well-developed cities, people with work are often stressed out, such that they need spa activities to nurture and rebuild themselves. For those living in less-developed cities, they even need to promote the spa services as income bearers for citizens for their livelihood survival. Several destinations have currently placed considerable emphasis on the spa treatments, wellness, as well as medical application as a travel package, considering that the spa service can be located easily by tourists anywhere down in the streets or night markets as integral to the sight-seeing spots. For Macao, Hong Kong, and Guangzhou, which are regarded as the Special Administrative Region zones of Mainland China, the rapid development prompts other tourists and/or local spa takers to consume to wire down in the deluxe spa hotels as part of the leisure and tourism activities.

Future Research

This research focuses mainly on exploring the influence of social media while obtaining the data to define the general criteria that motivate Generation Y to attend a spa activity. Apart from a general understanding of the Generation Y’s preference in terms of the spa scent, spa food, and drinks, as well as the spa services they are inclined or desire to experience, will there be any special package, special reasons, or any specific spa value that they can generally afford? How frequent will their consumption patterns take place? Will there be any co-relations if they are Male or Female types of guests? Will there be any difference if they are full-time or part-time spa college candidates? How affordable can the spa experience be with the actual or specific range of value they could spend for in one time or a certain period of time? The abovementioned areas can be further explored in the next study.

In short, other samples can be considered for collection and analysis once the resources and time permit. Other than these students who specialize in Leisure and Spa Management, other Generation Y students can be considered for analysis, as long as they are interested in or have attended the spa activities. Other than the general basic spa ingredients, could the Generation Y be attracted to any signature spa or any new package? or even because of a projected spa destination (e.g., Thailand), will the Generation Y guests take a few days break or getaway purely for spa visits in a destination and simply for this one purpose in the near future? Having mentioned the above, all are interesting spa elements that can be explored to obtain knowledge for the practitioners, marketers of the spa shops, and/or hotels as well as members of the Tourism Board.


This paper provides an enhanced understanding of Generation Y’s spa experience consideration for travel motivation. This research provides practical insights into the tourism practitioners and spa managers to project and market a spa scent, spa food, and/or spa service experience given by a destination for Generation Y with images, elements, attributes, and the other spa impacts on its environment.


This paper is gladly sponsored by Macau Foundation and City Univesity of Macau. Grateful with the valuable sharing input from Dr. Theresa Tan-Chew,

Co-founder, Chairwoman of Asia Spa Academy and Asia Spa Institution, and Dr. Roberta Wong Leung, board member of Asia Spa Academy and Asia Spa Instituion.

The first author has commenced her spa experience when she was young i.e. in the age of 13, with the strong influence and preference from her mom, Mrs Margaret Tang.

The first author completed her doctor thesis in the research study of spa experience benchmarking in 2014, while also serves as a board member of Asia Spa Academy and Asia Spa Institution since being invited by the Chair in 2015 September.


This paper is gladly sponsored by Macau Foundation and City University of Macau and with the valuable sharing input from Dr. Theresa Tan-Chew, President and Dr. Roberta Wong Leung, board member of Asia Spa Academy and Institute. The first author is also served as board member of the Asia Spa Academy which has been invited since 2015.


  1. Prensky M (2001) Digital natives, digital immigrants. On the Horizon 9: 1-6.
  2. Bolton RN, Parasuraman A, Hoefnagels A, Migchels N, Kabadayi S, et al. (2013) Understanding Generation Y and their use of social media: a review and research agenda. J Service Manag 24: 245-267.
  3. Schiffman SS (1983) Taste and Smell in Disease. The New England J Med 308: 1275-1279.
  4. Parasuraman A, Zeithaml VA, Berry LL (1985) A conceptual model of service quality and its implications for future research. J Marketing 49: 41-50.
  5. Parasuraman A, Zeithaml VA, Berry LL (1988) SERVQUAL: a multiple-item scale for measuring consumer perceptions of service quality. J Retailing 64: 12-40.
  6. Parasuraman A, Zeithaml VA, Berry LL (1991) Refinement and reassessment of the SERVQUAL scale. J Retailing 67: 420-450.
  7. Parasuraman A, Zeithaml VA, Berry LL (1994a) Alternative scales for measuring service quality: A comparative assessment based on psychometric and diagnostic criteria. J Retailing 70: 201-230.
  8. Arora R, Singer J (2006) Customer satisfaction and value as drivers of business success for fine dining restaurants. Services Marketing Quarterly 28: 89-102.
  9. Chang R, Kivela J, Mak A (2011) Attributes that influence the evaluation of travel dining experience: When East meets West. Tourism Management 32: 307-316.
  10. Ji M, Wong IA, Eves A, Scarles C (2016) Food-related personality traits and the moderating role of novelty-seeking in food satisfaction and travel outcomes. Tourism Management 57: 387-396.
  11. Kim JH, Kim JH, Jang S, Jang S (2016) Determinants of authentic experiences: An extended Gilmore and Pine model for ethnic restaurants. InterJ Contemporary Hospitality Management 28: 2247-2266.
  12. Njite D, Dunn G, Hyunjung KL (2008) Beyond good food: what other attributes influence consumer preference and selection of fine dining restaurants? J Foodservice Business Res 11: 237-266.
  13. Walter U, Edvardsson B, Öström Å (2010) Drivers of customers' service experiences: a study in the restaurant industry. Managing Service Quality: An International J 20: 236-258.
  14. Zhang Z, Zhang Z, Law R (2013) Regional effects on customer satisfaction with restaurants. Inter J Contemporary Hospitality Management 25: 705-722.
  15. Grönroos C (2011) Value co-creation in service logic: A critical analysis. Marketing Theory 11: 279-301.
  16. Tiggemann M, Gardiner M, Slater A (2000) I would rather be size 10 than have straight A’s: A focus group study of adolescent girls’ wish to be thinner. J Adolescence 23: 645-659.
  17. SpaFinder USA (2018) Day Spa Industry Report including data on business performance and revenue, operations, facilities, marketing, personnel management, treatment offerings, retail business, technology adoption, trends in spa clientele, etc.
  18. Cohen M (2002) Energy medicine from an ancient and modern perspective. In: Cohen M (Eds.) Prescriptions for Holistic Health, Monash Institute of Health Services Research, Clayton, pp: 97-108.
  19. WHO (World Health Organization) (1992) Basic Documents. (39th edn), WHO, Geneva.
  20. Corbin C, Pangrazi R (2001) Toward a uniform definition of wellness: a commentary. Research Digest 3: 1-8.
  21. Mueller H, Kaufmann EL (2000) Wellness tourism: Market analysis of a special health tourism segment and implications for the hotel industry. J Vacation Marketing 7: 5-17.
  22. Lockwood A (1994) Using service incidents to identify quality improvement points. International J Contemporary Hospitality Management 6: 75-80.
  23. Johnston R (1995) The determinants of service quality: Satisfiers and dissatisfiers. Inter J Service Industry Management 6: 53-71.
  24. Edvardsson B (1988) Service quality in customer relationships: A study of critical incidents in mechanical engineering companies. The Service Industries J 8: 427-45.
  25. Edvardsson B (1992) Service breakdowns: A study of critical incidents in airline. International Journal of Service Industry Management 3: 17-29.
  26. Edvardsson B (1998) Cause of customer dissatisfaction-Studies of public transport by the critical-incident method. Managing Service Quality 8: 189-97.
  27. Edvardsson B, Strandvik T (2000) Is a critical incident critical for a customer relationship? Managing Service Quality 10: 82-91.
Citation: Tang ILF, Grace CSH, Tan-Chew T, Leung RW (2018) Understanding Generation Y’s Favorite Spa Scent, Spa Food Versus Spa Service Experience. J Tourism Hospit 7: 374.

Copyright: © 2018 Tang ILF, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.