ASK tHE ExPErt CoLIN McILHENEy P: Being on the research side of things, you get a first- hand look at the ebbs and flows of the spa industry. What particular patterns have you noticed and what do you think they mean? M: The one thing that stands out for me over the years is research we did for the consumer snapshot series on the male spa-goer. In my career, I can’t remember a bigger reaction to any piece of research. The interest levels to this day are huge! P: For the first time in the history of the ISPA U.S. Spa Industry Study, the total number of visits to spas rose above 180 million. Why is this figure so significant and what does it mean for the future of the industry? M: The number of visits highlights that spa-going is not perceived as a luxury but increasingly as part of an integrated wellness program. It’s great to see an all-time record high number. WHAt MotIvAtES you? I grew up in a tough part of belfast at a troubled time for the city and my motivation every day is to take the resilience I learned then and apply it to everything I do. WHo IS your BIggESt roLE ModEL? my late mother muriel mcilheney was the biggest inﬂuence on me. She was quick-witted, sharp and shaped my character. She was also great at mental arithmetic something I was lucky to inherit! you HAvE A rANdoM dAy oFF, WHAt do you do? On a random day oﬀ I like nothing more than practicing and playing with friends in a rock ‘n’ roll band that we formed when I was 16. WHAt IS your FAvorItE SPA trEAtMENt? my favorite spa treatment is a head and shoulders massage as I ﬁnd it really relaxes me. WHAt IS tHE MoSt INtErEStINg PLACE you’vE EvEr vISItEd? the most amazing place I ever visited was the South Island of New zealand. It’s literally the end of the earth, but just jaw dropping beauty around every corner. 66 PULSE ■ October 2017 CoNtINuEd FroM PAgE 64 P: What is the most rewarding aspect of your work with the ISPA industry study and other research initiatives? M: I really love the interaction with so many spas during the course of the industry research, but I also love the excitement of the annual ISPA Conference. Delivering the key results on the main stage is still a big buzz for me. P: What are you most looking forward to about the 2017 ISPA Conference & Expo? M: I think being on as a “warm-up” for Peyton Manning at Conference is a once-in-a-lifetime experience! On a more serious note, the launch live at Mandalay Bay of the inaugural spa industry workforce survey has to be a career high point. Fingers crossed it will be a massive success and a defining moment for the industry! n Presenting a year's worth of research at the ISPA Conference & Expo is still such a thrill for McIlheney, even after 18 years.