Given the choice, which would your qualifiers prefer: an afternoon in the spa or a round of golf?

In a survey of incentive winners by Insurance Conference Planner, CMI’s sister publication, spa treatments surpassed golf as a preferred activity, second only to city/sightseeing tours. This is the first time treatments have outranked golf.

The trend may be because of the universal nature of spas. Not everyone plays golf, but almost anyone can enjoy a day of spa pampering.

"I recently had an incentive program where both were offered," says Karen Emanuelson, Incentive Groups and Meeting Planning manager with Tower Travel Management, Oakbrook Terrace, Ill. "Many more participants took the spa as their reward when offered both. But we still had our die-hard golfers—about 25 percent."

Emanuelson found that a lot of couples enjoyed treatments, but men who brought another man as a guest "seemed a bit reluctant" to use the spa. Many went ahead and used the spa anyway, and had only pleasant and positive comments afterward.

"Basically, I think it’s becoming more widely accepted for men to enjoy spa services," says Emanuelson.

"Spas have grown tremendously in popularity in recent times—in part due to the growing number of world class facilities, but also as a refresher for attendees: both men and women," says Brad Langley, COO, Creative Group Inc., Appleton, Wis. "The old adage that spa treatments are ‘only for women’ has long gone by the wayside." — Thomas Tennant