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Hot springs resort owners and operators tap into their origins at Hot Springs National Park

Published on 6/6/2022

North American thermal spa industry experts pay homage to historic wellness modalities and exchange forward-thinking ideas.


May 16, 2022, Hot Springs, AR – Professionals representing over thirty thermal mineral pools, spas and resorts from coast-to-coast met at Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas on May 9-12, 2022 for the fourth Hot Springs Connection conference. This unique event was conducted by the Hot Springs Association which strives to unify and elevate the hot springs industry worldwide.


A primary focus for this gathering was on the growing trends in facility upgrades and overall property revitalization. Several projects were presented highlighting new construction, renovations, restorations and expansions such as Castle Hot Springs in Arizona; Dr. Wilkinson’s Backyard Resort & Mineral Springs in Calistoga, CA; Eclipse Nordic Springs in the Canadian Yukon; and Twin Peaks Lodge & Hot Springs in Ouray, CO. This was further refined by discussing the importance of master planning and current trends in spa development and management.


Health and wellness aspects were addressed extensively. Representatives from the Balneology Association of North America (BANA) work closely with the Hot Springs Association to encourage the practice of thermal bathing for overall wellbeing. Early examples of hydrothermal treatments used in the late 1800s and early 1900s demonstrated the curative nature of these waters. Tapping into the life and soul of water has tremendous healing properties, both physically and mentally. Many people are once again appreciating the health benefits of bathing in thermal mineral water. Several properties have even created a private-label retail line of mineral products so their guests can replicate the benefits at home. One orthopedic surgeon combines pre-surgical rehabilitation with post-surgery thermal therapy for his patients. The positive influence of geothermal mineral water can also be reflected in art and photography.


In the operations department, geothermal consultants emphasized the importance of protecting hot springs resources. Facilities need to be prepared in a crisis situation if flow levels or temperatures unexpectedly change. Durango Hot Springs in Colorado explained the diligent process they went through to locate and drill several new wells. Water engineers provided advice on how best to optimize a property’s geothermal energy. Optimal water treatment procedures were examined comparing the use of chlorine, salt, ozone and oxygen for sanitation purposes. A primary mission of this organization is to establish consistent regulation of turnover rates for flow-through systems.


Grappling with ever-changing liability and property insurance requirements has become a challenging task so some solutions were offered. Tips on attracting and retaining employees provided much-needed guidance.  


The Hot Springs Association recently unveiled a new website with tremendous resources for its members, including market research and industry trends. An Australian case study was introduced which will ultimately measure and assess the socio-cultural, environmental and economic impacts of hot springs across the globe.


Examples of effective marketing and public relations strategies were defined, such as the Hot Springs of America website and collaborations like Colorado Historic Hot Springs Loop, World Bathing Day, World Wellness Weekend and Soakember.


This conference is gaining popularity each year with an impressive 75% repeat attendance rate in 2022. One hundred attendees from 23 states and Canada were present. Exhibitors, vendors, suppliers and consultants were available throughout the entire event to discuss and demonstrate various products and services.


“Having this event at Hot Springs National Park was a natural fit because of its historic use of geothermal water in health and wellness treatments,” said Vicky Nash, Executive Director for the newly formed Hot Springs Association. Federally protected in 1832, these famous therapeutic waters were popular for those seeking relief for a variety of ailments throughout the 19th century. “Embracing this history honors these traditions and enhances future design and development.”


Conference participants toured several landmarks including the Fordyce Bathhouse Museum, Ozark Bathhouse Cultural Center, Lamar Bathhouse Row Emporium, Grand Promenade display springs, and The Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa. Special tastings featured Superior Bathhouse Brewery’s beers containing the local thermal spring water, as well as, a variety of award-winning premium waters produced by Mountain Valley Spring Water, a company established over 150 years ago. Several attendees experienced traditional hydrotherapy treatments at the Arlington Thermal Bathhouse & Spa, Buckstaff Bathhouse and Quapaw Baths & Spa.


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The first conference of its kind in the United States, the Hot Springs Connection is designed specifically for owners and operators of thermal mineral water pools, spas and resorts. With expertise in geothermal tourism marketing, Vicky Nash launched the inaugural event in Glenwood Springs, Colorado in 2018. Subsequent gatherings have been held in Palm Springs/Desert Hot Springs, California in 2019, Quinn’s Hot Springs Resort in Paradise, Montana in 2021, followed by Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas in 2022.


Media Contact:

Vicky Nash, Executive Director

Hot Springs Association

970-948-4923 /