TalkWellness Impressions: attending ISPA Conference &Expo for the first time

I applied with ISPA conference in January 2018 with a session proposal. After some personal phone conversations and a couple of email exchanges with a member from the speaker selection task force, I was super delighted to learn that I had been selected to speak in Phoenix. I had always planned on attending an ISPA Conference, so here was my chance!

I have to admit that I was very nervous and a little anxious over the last few days leading up to the event. 

Anja Eva Keller Petruccelli TalkWellness attending ISPA conference & expo for the first time

My own session

My session “Mind the Gap – how to avoid gaps in the service delivery chain and spa guest’s experiences” was scheduled for the last day of the conference, for the last slot of the day (3 pm), and in the last hidden meeting room around the corner at the end of the corridor. 

Must be a good omen, saving the best for last… 

Well in fact, it did not make me fell very welcome or appreciated. 

Numerous conference attendants had already left mid day to make their way home. Many wanted to be back in the office the next day. So I wasn’t expecting hundreds of  participants for my session at 3pm. Yet I was happy that the few dozens that made it to my session were engaged and interested.


I was impressed by the (in a good way) limited exhibitions. All exhibitors presented products of excellent quality and relevance to our industry.The expo area was spacious yet easy to navigate.
I noticed a number of new spa / yoga apparel brands. 

Besides the known cosmetic and skin care manufacturers, I saw a trend towards more natural, organic skin care and body conscious apparel. Very pleased!

Amongst the exhibitors were also a number or European brands, like Gharieni, Eminence, VitaJuwel and more. 

If I remember the numbers correctly, about 2100 attendants from 30plus countries attended, and exhibitors categories were 

Accessories & jewellery
Apparel & footwear
Bedding, linen, towels
Candles & scents
Cosmetics, Skin Care
Equipment for spa, cosmetics, fitness
Hair, Nails, Salt, Tanning, Waxing
Software & Technology

you name it…

Events & Parties

The highlight, marking the end of the entire event was the farewell party at Chase Field, including a Major League Baseball Match Arizona Diamondbacks against Los Angeles Dodgers, with 900 ISPA people partying.

What a great venue and party to end an amazing event!

Anja Eva Keller Petruccelli TalkWellness attending ISPA conference & expo for the first time

The People

I was very impressed by the super friendly, hospitable and professional approach of all ISPA staff and volunteers. Although the Phoenix Exhibition Centre was huge and the Conference & Expo spread over a number of floors, it was easy to navigate around once familiar with the premises. It was easy to obtain information, either from one of the friendly member of staff, or from the super handy ISPA App.

Anja Eva Keller Petruccelli TalkWellness attending ISPA conference & expo for the first timeEveryone, exhibitors, attendees, other speakers… was super nice and open. It was very easy to connect (the motto of the conference), and I made new friends and met old ones again.

The only thing I was really disappointed was the very limited Wifi access at the conference centre. Wifi was only available at a small area (food court), which made it very inconvenient to stay in touch and post on social media during sessions or at the expo. Hence ‘connecting’ to the outside world was near impossible. 



ISPA conferences offer two types of sessions: General Session with keynote speakers and educational sessions, like my own.

I was able to attend a General Session with Shark Daymond John, an inspiring, humorous and entertaining 45 minutes.

Overall I found all sessions to be valuable, relevant and of great quality.

Anja Eva Keller Petruccelli TalkWellness attending ISPA conference & expo for the first time

Overall Impression

Excellent! What a great event in our industry! Although a heavy focus on the US market, I recommend the annual ISPA Conference & Expo to a global audience.

The 2019 ISPA Conference & Expo will take place in Las Vegas.