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What You Missed At The Medical Spa Show 2024

By: Hannah Celian | April 24th, 2024

What You Missed At The Medical Spa Show 2024 Blog Feature

Recorded live at the 2024 Medical Spa Show in Las Vegas, Robin Ntoh and Tyler Terry debate the trending topics of this year’s meeting.

With the meteoric rise of new treatments like semaglutide for medical weight loss and IV therapy, there’s an opportunity for wellness and aesthetics to converge and help more patients both look and feel great.

Hear Robin and Tyler’s insights on: 

  • Whether semaglutide is merely a trend or on its way to being a lasting staple 
  • Should you fear AI or use it to your advantage?
  • Advantages of providing end-to-end solutions through a single software platform vs. spending money on multiple solutions
  • And more!

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Hosts

Tyler Terry, Director of Sales, MedSpa at Nextech

Robin Ntoh, VP of Aesthetics

Access Robin's toolkit of helpful resources to help optimize practice operations»

Transcript

Announcer (00:06):
You are listening to the Aesthetically Speaking podcast presented by Nextech.

Tyler Terry (00:13):
Hey guys, welcome back to the Aesthetically Speaking podcast. We are live here at the Medical Spa Show, MSS 2024 at the Wynn. We are in the conference hall and I'm here with my co-host, the incredible Robin Ntoh. I'm your host, Tyler Terry, and today we want to give you just some insights. We want to share the vibe of the meetings. So Robin, what would you say right off the bat? What is the vibe here?

Robin Ntoh (00:42):
My God, the energy. It's just positive. It's like everybody's super excited to be here. I mean, I'm not just seeing med spa owners. I'm seeing plastic surgery practices and physicians. I'm seeing actual plastic surgeons on the show floor, and I'm really surprised that this isn't where I would normally expect to see them. So it's really kind of cool to see this energy and everybody's busy. The boots are busy. There's a lot of activity. There's a lot of people, and sometimes you go to a show and it's kind of like, oh, sometimes they're there, sometimes they aren't. But I've really been very impressed with what I'm seeing around here.

Tyler Terry (01:18):
Same here. Literally we're backed up two or three people wanting to get in to check out the software or to check out the devices. I mean, you're having to kind of swivel in and out of people and everybody's having a good time. They have their mimosas and you've got the entire posse of the practice here to check out. Everybody's there with their tribe walking around the floor. You've got five to six people coming together as a practice checking out all the boosts. And this year it's actually grown. It's almost doubled. The exhibit hall is 40% bigger this year than it was last year.

Robin Ntoh (01:57):
I didn't realize that. I mean, I came last year for the first time and I was really impressed. But I would say coming back this year and really immersing myself in it, I'm even more impressed doing trade shows all the time just to see the energy and what's going on here. And I mean, I'm just impressed, very impressed.

Tyler Terry (02:15):
And you definitely feel the buzz you feel the growth, the energy. You can tell that people are learning. Actually, they have ams Spot Bootcamp actually going on paralleling this meeting. So you have a lot of people who are just learning about the industry. I think there's probably 150 to 200 attendees here for bootcamp that are just exploring the potential of opening a med spa. 

Robin Ntoh (02:37):
Totally. Yeah, I know. I think that they're on the cutting edge. I would absolutely say that this meeting definitely hits cutting edge and just the learnings that people are talking about. I mean, wellness, I mean, take that for example. There is so much conversation about wellness now. I mean, we think about it, we know the industry's been thinking about it for 20 years, but now all of a sudden it's just front and center. I mean, I keep running into different vendors and what they're offering and whether it's we've seen weight loss and we've seen the IV therapy, and I mean so much going on. They've even got so many more sessions this year on it. I actually got to attend a few and it's pretty good stuff. Pretty good stuff. Yeah.

Tyler Terry (03:19):
What are you seeing there? Where do you think this industry is going as it relates to semaglutide and IV therapy and how is it meshing together between wellness and aesthetics or aesthetics and wellness? What do you think about that?

Robin Ntoh (03:32):
It's happening fast. Just what I'm seeing is happening so fast, I think almost to the point where we're not slowing down enough to maybe even recognize where we're going to trip because there could be some regulations that come out that we're just not quite understanding. But I had to do some research and I'm looking at more than 70% of the US is either considered obese or overweight. And then you think, well, this is definitely exciting. And one of the things I was reading is that semaglutide is probably the most exciting drug that the FDA has approved since Viagra.

Tyler Terry (04:06):
Wow. So do you think this is a trend or do you think this is a staple, for semaglutide?

Robin Ntoh (04:12):
If I had a wager, I would say it is going to be a staple.

Tyler Terry (04:16):
A staple.

Robin Ntoh (04:16):
Because there's so many people that are overweight and they're about to have an FDA approved pill form. So you've got people getting these injections and they're losing weight and they're losing massive amount of weight, and it's sustainable. And so these people are feeling good, they're looking good, and actually feeds the whole aesthetic industry very, very well. And it compliments so much of what we see in aesthetics, plastic surgery, med spa, even dermatology. You think about people come in, they can't have surgery because they're overweight, their BMI is too high. Well, why not offer them a weight loss solution? Or you're going to turn them away, and then they may or may not ever come back as a patient, but when they do lose that weight, they really need to be able to either get skin tightening or fillers because of the gauntness. We hear about ozempic face. Right? I just think that it's definitely a staple.

Tyler Terry (05:07):
I think so too. I truly do. It seems like the hottest thing since I've been doing it for whatever, 12 years since Botox. Really, people are actually coming up, I'm so glad that, so you've been leading the initiative on behalf of Nextech and getting everybody prepared, helping me teach my team and all things wellness. And I'm so grateful for that because every day it's probably a couple times an hour. We're getting a wellness practice or a practice that's all in on offering some form or function of wellness, a wellness service. For example, we met with a practice earlier today out of Kentucky, and she said just about three months ago, she switched just her regimen of what she does with her patients to where she literally weighs every patient and she checks their BMI. And she was full on aesthetics, and it's the gateway from her words. She said, this is the gateway to aesthetics, these patients, and we want to have this total care for all of our patients. And I thought it was so interesting because I didn't hear this last year, it was just formulating that buzz, but this year it's a thing.

Robin Ntoh (06:14):
It's a thing. It's a thing. And you also think about, there's more practices that I hear. They're thinking Total care.

Tyler Terry (06:21):
Yeah, total care.

Robin Ntoh (06:21):
Not just let's do your Botox. Let's talk about a total solution. And giving them a plan that really approaches what their concerns are, but not just one treatment, but let's look at what we're going to do for the next 12 months and how do we address all your concerns or how do we take that initial problem? Maybe it's that you're overweight and then six months from now, if your goal is X number of pounds and then let's treat these other areas because it's going to compliment them. And I see this change in, we're not just going to be dropping in and out of a practice in just one treatment, really looking at the total body, the total solution, which is different. Haven't seen people think about that. And that's the kind of questions we're getting. It's a different approach, but I think a smart approach. And so it absolutely compliments if you're bringing in things like wellness.

Tyler Terry (07:12):
Yeah. We talk about end-to-end all the time in the software space, but when you just had this kind of total solution, it's almost like they need to take a page out of our books and start saying, end-to-end. They have an end-to-end solution for their wellness and aesthetic patients as comprehensive way to attack it. It's so interesting. I haven't seen this big of a shift since I started.

Robin Ntoh (07:36):
Yeah, I mean, it's like you said, Botox, I think Viagra, I think those drugs, when they come into the market, what they did and how they revolutionized and what we saw with it, I think this is so massively big that I come back here in 12 months and what we'll see on this floor again, it'll just totally support this. So yeah, let's go back to that. It is a staple, in my opinion. It's not going anywhere. And I think that people are rushing to get into it, and maybe that's a little scary rushing so fast that they're not putting the right approach or operationalizing it very well in their practice. But I think if they step back and take their time, it's not going anywhere. I don't think they're going to miss any train that's on their way because it's definitely here to stay and there's enough to go around. And I think that people that carefully plan this and do it well and put this into the practice the right way and have the right approach, they're going to build it and they're going to do very well with it.

Tyler Terry (08:30):
Yeah. Well, Robin, you wrote a white paper, one of my favorites that I've read on the five generations of patients and aesthetics and just in the marketplace. And I think of that, and you could plug what we're seeing now with wellness into that or that into wellness. And you think of wellness and you have a reactive approach, but then you have a proactive approach. I mean, it's really trying to get back to that proactive approach. Can you speak to that a little bit? I mean.

Robin Ntoh (08:57):
It's kind of funny that you say that because each generation has a different way of thinking about how they approach wellness. I think about my generation and thinking about organic and taking supplements and just thinking about eating, and then there's always junk food and there's a lot of ways that we can destroy our bodies. But I now look at this Gen Z population and all that I read and I hear and I see is there's this focus on not just the way you look, but how you feel, so looking good and feeling good. So there's this need and desire, and a lot of what they're looking for is, I want mental wellness, I want to look great. I want to feel great. And so this approach is really driving a lot of what we're seeing in the demand. People care about how they feel nowadays.

(09:49):
There was a practice that came by and they were talking about gut health. I'm like, okay. And that's the name of their practice, the gut health.

Tyler Terry (09:55):
Oh, interesting.

Robin Ntoh (09:55):
Okay. Interesting. Yeah. I was like, okay, that's going to turn a lot of people on. But it's important to people. They recognize how that really, that systemically manages so many components of the body and people suffer from acne. Well, it starts in the gut. I think about where wellness is just going to start. It's going to really grow in a practice if they do it well, and if they manage that patient well, a lot of times these patients, if you don't really give them the total solution, they're going to go find it someplace else. And there's enough people out there that are starting to do it that I think practices are smart to start incorporating that into their business now.

Tyler Terry (10:35):
Yeah. What's interesting is when I think of the five generations, I think this happens across all generations, but specifically with millennials and Gen Z, where they were almost raised with the ability to share with their friends and family in real time, and it's normal to share, oh, I'm in the waiting room at a med spa, a wellness center. And not only that, but hey, I actually brought my stand. Do you mind if I just, or have my friend record this as it's happening? And then everybody can see it. I remember when I first started, it was in plastics specifically, a lot of people wanted to have like, oh, we have this extra door for people to come in and they want to park over here and they don't really want it as much. But today it's like, I want you to know that I'm going in next week and then I'm going to tell you that I'm going in tomorrow, and then we're going to go live in the waiting room. And then I also want to tag my injector. It's like front and center. And that's why I think it's just going to become more and more mainstream because people are seeing it.

Robin Ntoh (11:33):
Oh my gosh. When I was doing some research on the weight loss market, I was thinking about where is some of this being driven? And you're right, digital media is a big part of it because people are losing weight and they're looking good. And so they're out there showing off their weight loss. They've shed all these pounds, they're buying new clothes, and then they're starting to think about, okay, well let me go get fillers in my face or do all that skin tightening. And yeah, digital media they're calling out is a big proponent and how this is really growing and rapidly growing throughout the market.

Tyler Terry (12:05):
So crazy. Can't wait to see when we're doing this again next year rather than where it's at and how it's blown up. Okay. Next thing, shifting just a little bit to ai, what are you seeing here as you're walking around the floor? You've attended some sessions. What are you seeing with ai? Are we still at the infancy? Are we still trying to figure it out?

Robin Ntoh (12:23):
Yeah. No, I think that everybody's still trying to figure it out. I just attended a presentation on ai, and it wasn't really about AI and software. It was about how you use AI in your everyday practice life. And I was like, okay, yeah, this has got some interest to it. Because I think so often what people and what they're talking about is, I don't want to lose my job. I don't want this to take away what I'm being paid for. But if they're thinking about it in the right way, they're driving more efficiencies in their practice. Something as simple as composing an email or helping you figure out what should be my marketing plan for the next three months, and just it giving you that answer instead of someone spending three hours trying to think about that. I thought, what a revolutionary way to think about so many areas in your practice that you painfully have to sit and spend the time to do it, where this could just do it for you.

(13:15):
And so that has been a lot of the chatter I've seen is, okay, I see it, they're talking about it, so I can do chat GPT, but how do I actually incorporate that into my practice? How do I start using that more? And so that's been very interesting to see. I've seen some of the AI companies, I've seen a couple on the floor here, some facial simulation tools. That's kind of cool.

Tyler Terry (13:37):
Yeah, it's cool.

Robin Ntoh (13:38):
There's a lot of apps out there that do it. We've seen it in the industry for years when you think about morphine, but I kind of find it fascinating now that we're seeing more of these tools become available. And I think a lot of it's still driven by those generations that have got that desire to go out there and get the app and start to simulate what they can look like.

(13:59):
It's a lot of awareness that'll bring, so it's still young. I think there's a long way to go. I think from a software perspective, people tread carefully because we don't know from a risk what that can bring into play. But there's a lot of opportunity again, next year, come back here. It's kind of like, I remember 20 years ago, and this is bad, when I went to a plastic surgery meeting and the first website company was there, and I still remember that, and I'm like, oh my God, websites were nothing. And then they became this huge thing, and then all of a sudden we might have 10 different website companies on the floor, the plastic surgery show, and now we're seeing the whole new revolution we saw with devices, and now we're seeing it with AI. I think next year. I think we're going to see a lot more of that in this space.

Tyler Terry (14:46):
Oh, yeah. I think of one of my good friends is in Hawaii. He's a past president ASAPS, but Dr. Clyde Ishii, I remember being in his practice and letting them know, Hey, I usually typically do research on your website to check you out. And they were like, we actually don't have a website. And I was like, you don't have a website. And he used his profile from asaps, and he was one of the top plastic surgeons definitely in Hawaii and even in the country. And that's not going to be a thing. I think of the sales reps on my team. They're not going to see practices that don't have a website who doesn't have a website. I think of that, I mean, this is 10 years ago when he bought it and it didn't have a website. But that's something that will never happen again. Every practice has a website. You could never think you don't have a website. It's like not having a cell phone.

Robin Ntoh (15:28):
Just think of something as simple as online scheduling. How are you going to manage that if you don't have a website or show if your before and after photos? I think that people would think that you're definitely not a practice that they would want to go to if you didn't have a website.

Tyler Terry (15:36):
And he was all word of mouth. It was so amazing. and obviously he was incredible, but they just had the best results. And then their patients referred everybody and they were always booked. And I thought, that is amazing. And I'm thinking, if you had a website, oh my gosh.

Robin Ntoh (15:50):
But on the flip side, so in this presentation, the presenter was a physician facial plastic surgeon, and she actually had fed into chat GPT some information and then asked the question, who's the top injector in whatever area it was? And it came back with physician names. Chris was one of them. And so I was like, Hmm, okay. Is this going to be the next way that we find a practice, is based upon what AI is showing us? I don't know.

Tyler Terry (16:18):
Wow. And I wonder if the AI is picking up that quickly based on reviews, based on data, based on time, based on what?

Robin Ntoh (16:25):
I don't know. And that's just a whole area that I feel so undereducated on. I feel like I've got to go do the research just fascinating. And just when I think I know a little bit of enough, then I go listen to a presentation like hers. And I was like, okay, there's a whole lot more here. I need to go back and dig into this some more. But that was interesting. And so I don't know, AI and software is going to become, I think, a big thing. We are going to start seeing more of it in what we're seeing in just practice management, what we see just in all of these other smaller software practices that are out there. I think we're going to see a lot of change over the next 12 months.

Tyler Terry (17:00):
Oh, yeah. I don't think there's ever, at least in my career, I've never seen a greater opportunity to differentiate yourself from the pack. And even if you can figure out how AI can benefit you, not just in your practice, but even in your day to day, you can really optimize your time. But I like what you said with the practical uses. I mean, I've been using it to plug in spreadsheets and ask for specific data just in chat GPT, just on my phone, on my app or my personal life. Usually my little girls, we want to Google coloring pages, but now I just let them use their imagination and they want a dolphin with wings, and it's purple and blue, and I just plug it in and it will create coloring pages for 'em. So I use it to create coloring pages for my girls, and it's the best. I think it's the coolest thing ever.

Robin Ntoh (17:44):
Oh my gosh. When she was doing her presentation, she was talking about how she was using chat GPT to provide images, and I'm like, I hadn't even thought about that. I'm like, they still look a little, almost felt like Barbie doll-ish, but it's close. It's close.

Tyler Terry (17:59):
It is. Dolly, I've used it and it's pretty amazing. And it spits out two images at a time, but you can have it continue to regenerate and regenerate. And I think about the marketing side of this and how quickly you can get it. I've also seen with OpenAI, it's not live yet, but I mean the potential for video.

Robin Ntoh (18:18):
Oh yeah.

Tyler Terry (18:18):
Will Smith had a video a year ago of him eating spaghetti and it looked bad. And then you could see the difference of what it could do today. And it's pretty phenomenal. I mean, you almost can't tell the difference. You can kind of pick up little things like, wait, why is the hair blowing this way and not this way? So there's little things, but I think by this time next year, people are going to use it for footage.

Robin Ntoh (18:41):
It will be fascinating to come out here on this floor next year and see where AI has had an influence and just to see the creativity of it.

Tyler Terry (18:49):
Oh yeah. I'm excited for it.

Robin Ntoh (18:51):
I'm a little afraid, but I'm also very excited. I don't love change, but I am embracing it. And just like everything else, it can be a little overwhelming. But yeah, let's see what happens.

Tyler Terry (19:04):
Definitely. So the conference hall is almost twice as big this year. We're seeing more software companies, more platforms, more apps for patients to download. What are your thoughts on still having a vertical tech stack, an end-to-end solution? Are we still seeing that with more apps comes a higher need for an integration?

Robin Ntoh (19:26):
I have spent a lot of time working with some industry consultants, and I like to spend the time really thinking with them and interviewing them and understanding better what are the real problems. And a lot of times people will say, there's just no one that does aesthetics really well, or they'll call out Nextech. We've always done it 25 years. We know it, we get it. However, they just kind of keep going back to that. I'm like, well, give me something more. Tell me what it really is. And someone that I was talking to said it very well. She said, it's not necessarily that the product, because there's many little things, the problem is that it doesn't provide the scalability that a practice wants. If they want to grow, it doesn't allow them to scale easily. I said, well, what if they don't want to scale?

(20:10):
And she said, the other part of that that's really important to understand is profitability. There's so often that the solutions do not make it easy for practices to be profitable. Their bottom line is not really what they want it to be because they're spending so much more money on five different solutions just to manage what they need to manage the normal technology just to get the job done. And it's time consuming. So it's a staff cost. You got to train the staff. And that right there said a lot to me, scalability, profitability. That speaks volumes when you're trying to think why someone would choose one solution over another. And the other thing that was a big takeaway is then how you think about where that comes into play is what provides all of the solutions in one platform. What does the most, now, will one ever do it all?

(21:05):
I don't know. We'll see, maybe. But I still think that today at least we're getting closer to that, providing that complete end-to-end solution. At the end of the day, let's go back to patients want a plan. They want to provide a full treatment. We're not just going to treat you for Botox. Let's treat you for all of those concerns. You want to be more youthful where here's a whole plan to get you there. We'll start with weight loss. We'll do this. We'll add some lasers in. We'll do some fillers. We'll put you on these supplements and these skincare lines. That's a plan. That's a different approach. But that's an end-to-end solution for the patient. And I think a lot of times, if the practice really wants that, then think about how powerful it would be if they had an end-to-end solution in their software so that their tech stack really didn't include 10 different solutions.

Tyler Terry (21:54):
Oh, yeah.

Robin Ntoh (21:54):
Makes so much more sense. Right?

Tyler Terry (21:55):
So much more sense. And if we all took the time to sit down and think about it, we would know that it's a necessity. And I wish we had even more time to go through this.

Robin Ntoh (22:05):
I know, right? I think that's the one thing you and I can do is talk about software for sure, especially in this industry.

Tyler Terry (22:11):
Well one thing I still see as I go through, there's still the big companies in the industry think of Galderma and Allergan. We think of Aspire and we think of Alle and the need for a true integration with that. That actually is a pretty big pain point that I hear practices even today, even at this show, even as early as this morning really looking for. They're wanting their software to have a true integration there, and.

Robin Ntoh (22:39):
I think you're right. I think though that overall our society loves loyalty. We love our point. I mean, who doesn't have a Starbucks app?

Tyler Terry (22:48):
Yes.

Robin Ntoh (22:48):
Okay. Well, I say that, but I'm sure there's people that don't. But okay.

Tyler Terry (22:52):
But if you go to Starbucks, you better have the Starbucks app.

Robin Ntoh (22:53):
Well, and then again, when you're in Vegas, you spend twice as much on your Starbucks latte.

Tyler Terry (22:58):
Oh yeah.

Robin Ntoh (22:58):
And like $11 for a latte. That's just crazy. But loyalty and the point system, I mean, everybody loves it. It just sells. And I think Allergan's been very, very successful at doing that. So has Galderma. And I think that eventually that will be something that practices will want to embrace as being incorporated into it. And I think it's just a matter of time before that happens.

Tyler Terry (23:21):
It definitely is. I think the more that practices rally together and voice that it'll happen, like you said.

Robin Ntoh (23:27):
I mean, I just think that there's so many other things, when you think about the list of what a software needs to do, there's so much. Patient management is tough. It's a tough business. Think of all those generations. So if you're going to provide a software solution that's going to manage end to end the patient, that's just one of 'em. Just one thing to think about. I mean, they want it, and I don't know that it's not going to get there. It's just a matter of where does it fall in that priority list.

Tyler Terry (23:52):
Yes. So another question for you, do you feel like people on the floor are here to shop? Are they here to take products home, take software systems home? Do you sense that shopping buzz?

Robin Ntoh (24:04):
I think that this is probably one of the shows that I do see where people buy on the floor. I don't see that as much. It's some of the other meetings that we're at, and I think it's because they're looking. I still think they shop. And I think it just depends upon what it is. But I think for the most part, a lot of times it is a different type of venue. It's a different type of atmosphere. I think people do come in here and they know they're looking for something. They know what they want. It's just a matter of picking the solution.

Tyler Terry (24:37):
Yeah.

Robin Ntoh (24:37):
What device they're going to do, what new skincare line they want.

Tyler Terry (24:41):
It does seem to be a meeting where they are bringing their friends, they're bringing their injector and their office manager. And I agree.

Robin Ntoh (24:47):
And I will tell you, during the breaks, this place is busy.

Tyler Terry (24:49):
Busy.

Robin Ntoh (24:51):
And they're here to shop and they're making decisions. So I think that's one of the things that I would call out is different at this show that I've actually really enjoyed that energy.

Tyler Terry (25:00):
Me too.

Robin Ntoh (25:01):
It kind of supports that whole energy. I mean, gosh, I've walked into the booth one time and you guys, it was 10 deep. I'm like, what's going on here?

Tyler Terry (25:10):
Just wanted to end with any parting shots. Any final thoughts?

Robin Ntoh (25:14):
Yeah, I'm excited about our party tonight.

Tyler Terry (25:16):
Yes, the party is going to be amazing at Tao.

Robin Ntoh (25:18):
I know. Know, we do it right.

Tyler Terry (25:21):
We definitely do it right. We definitely know how to party and have a good time and show support to the association, and most importantly, to our clients.

Robin Ntoh (25:29):
Love it, love it, love it. Love being part of this society. And I think that there's a lot more to come, so.

Tyler Terry (25:34):
Well, Robin, I want to say thank you. I always enjoy these conversations. I always, always walk away feeling more well-versed in all the different things that we talk about. So I'll just keep learning from you and.

Robin Ntoh (25:45):
Learn from each other. Totally. We always gotta do that.

Tyler Terry (25:47):
It's be amazing.

Robin Ntoh (25:47):
Alright.

Tyler Terry (25:48):
Okay. Well until next time. Thank you, Robin. It's been amazing.

Robin Ntoh (25:52):
Always. We got it.

Tyler Terry (25:53):
For those of you that have never been to MSS would highly recommend it. The energy's amazing. If you're a new med spa, definitely check out the AmSpa bootcamps. A lot of resources there. They also have a a, the Aesthetic Injector Academy. That's amazing. But until next time, thank you again, Robin.

Robin Ntoh (26:11):
Absolutely, Tyler.

Announcer (26:14):
Thanks for listening to Aesthetically Speaking, the podcast where beauty meets business, presented by Nextech. Follow and subscribe on Apple, Spotify, YouTube, or wherever you like to listen to podcasts, links to the resources mentioned on this podcast or available in your show notes. For more information about Nextech visit nextech.com or to learn more about TouchMD, go to touchmd.com. Aesthetically Speaking is a production of The Axis, T-H-E-A-X-I-S.io.