July 23, 2014 § Leave a comment
Many years ago, on a remote island in the Indian Ocean, I was sitting in my tiny office, confused and stressed. I had a great number of documents to fill out; reports, marketing plans, sales plan for spa packages, manning guides, budgets…all essential tools and working documents. I knew the importance of them and I was extremely worried how I would find the time to actually complete all of them and present them to the management. At the end I managed to do it, I somehow tied it all together but it took many hours of late night shifts and valuable hours of sleep. It was my first spa manager position, on a beautiful spa resort in the Maldives. I had been in leadership positions before, but this was my first job as a spa manager. I quickly realized the complexity of a spa manager’s role. Today I realize that the many late hours in the office would have been less if I would have had a clear road map and a clear structure on how to use the documents and why they would all help me to achieve my objectives. Well, it’s all about learning by doing…and we all go through different challenges in our first manager roles, but there are ways to simplify life and ways to be prepared. Preparation and structure will certainly release more time for other things in life!
Raison d’Etre’s Online Spa Management Programme would have been the perfect solution for me at that time. I was far away from home, with no possibility to leave my job for studying, but still in need of knowledge and inspiration. If I would have had the opportunity to attend an Online Course I could have watched the lectures and completed the assignments whenever I wanted and had the possibility. But mostly it would actually have saved me time. The Raison d’Etre On line Spa Management Programme is created the way that throughout the course you actually produce a complete business plan for you own spa, with budgets, marketing plans, plans for staff development (HCM plan) etc. As I would have worked with all these tools, I would have got feedback on my work from senior spa industry experts. So even if it would of course have taken me time to study, in one way it would also have saved time, as I would have been working on my “real” documents that I needed for my job. A hands-on, reality based education!
The Spa Management Course is created by us; working today at Raison d’Etre. We have all been working as spa managers in day spas, resort spas, salons and wellness centres. We have a lot of operational experiences and truly understand the challenges that occur in this job and we know that time is essential and often limited. Therefore we created a tailor made course for the spa manager of today, a course that is possible to do parallel with your job. A course that will help you right away in your job and involve you. You will work with real-life cases, meaning your own spa. We believe very much in what Benjamin Franklin once said: “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn”.
Are you curious to find out more, browse to our website where you will get more information how it works! Please do not hesitate to contact us for any questions regarding the education.
July 13, 2014 § Leave a comment
An emotionally intelligent approach to service that begins with empathy. The concept of emotional hospitality is today widely spread and applied in the tourism, spa and wellness industry. Many companies agree upon that the emotional approach is what is required to perform and succeed. But was does this really mean?
Emotions are energy and all energy have touch points. We have an opportunity to find touch points with our guests, spark positive emotions and spread emphatic energy. This requires other skills and personal traits when working with people, very different from what was needed 30 years ago. Great service is not what the service provider give, but what the guest perceives. The ability to ask the right questions, actively listen and pro-act upon opportunities takes engagement from us as service providers. It also requires us to stay out of judgement, disregard our own personal likes and dislikes and us being able to connect with our own feelings.
At this moment we are stepping into a new age of hospitality and the demand and expectation from our guests are increasing. Sometimes they are not aware of it themselves but they wish not only to be served upon what they ask for, they are longing to be seen, surprised and cared for. As service providers today, we are not just supposed to make our guest feel something, we are also being measured on exactly how we made them feel. The quality management systems has started to measure our service performance by their ‘primary emotions’ felt during their experience. How it made them feel. In order to spark someone else’s feelings in a powerful way, we need to be know who we are serving and being able to step into the guest shoes. The only way for us to understand someone else is to reflect through ourselves and our own experiences.
The spa and wellness center is a very special place. We have many more touch points with our guests than other departments and we are already invited by the guest for close connection. And the opportunities we have to connect are many. If we sensibly sustain this invitation and treat our opportunity with care, we are on the right track already. Emotional service is about people touching people, and this describes very well what already happen in our spas. The high touch mentality is our key to emotional connection.
Delivering emotional service is simple, but not necessarily easy. Many service providers are today so focused on doing things the “right” way so they actually forget to do it “well.” And as guests, we want to be treated “well” but also “with care.” Unfortunately there will never be a specific SOP that shows step by step exactly what to do within emotional service. How to care for someone else in a specific situation may not and cannot be scripted. Emotions are energy, and energy is subtle and individual.
The good news is that even though there is no precise map in how to give Emotional Service, we have several tools to guide you in how to connect closer. It takes engagement and you need to make an effort, but as long as you do, the conveyance will be very easy. Remember that a higher level of service does not have to be complicated, it can sometimes be easier than the standard service you are used to deliver, since you may always reflect back to yourself (instead of a manual) and listen to your inner voice. While listen through your heart.
If you are interested in reading more about emotional hospitality applied to the spa and wellness industry, we are glad to announce that we later this year we will launch another online course on our website with this topic. The course will guide you through Emotional Service and we will give you tools in how to engage yourself, and your team.
Remember, a simple act of kindness and care takes you longer than you can ever imagine.
May 25, 2014 § Leave a comment
We live in a world that never stops talking, with information that never stops flowing and new projects for future development and improvements that never seem to end. We usually find new challenges at the floor as well as at our desk every morning; not to mention in our inbox – it is easy to get stuck. Are you having a hard time to be one step ahead, proactively plan for your operations to move smoothly as well as for your people to develop? What about living your values and inspiring other with your passion?
We often already know what we want or need to do as managers, but we seem to never have enough time to act before we really have to, which often is too late and we have already doubled our workload. Like the Pareto principle say, 80% of your outcome come from 20% of your input which means that there are certain activities you do (your 20%) that account for the majority (your 80%) of your happiness and success. Remember, you are accountable for the success (within your business) but also for your happiness (your own health and balance.) If you not find time for what really will make a difference, you will not succeed.
You are not alone. But we are glad to tell you that there is also a solution or actually there are several. You can go from over-time to time over and be successful at the same time. You can slow down, and instead make a difference. It is called Strategy. Self- and Energy Management. Strategic Planning. Conscious Leadership. Balance. Sustainable Lifestyle. Vision.
With our Spa Management Online Program we would like to help you and all spa industry professionals the best we can to put the right priorities in place and strategically plan the next coming 12 months together. If you let us, we will lift you up to the next level through the online studies; flexible enough to fit an already busy schedule.
You have your chance to start June 2nd and October 6th this year and you will reach us directly at: email@example.com
And have a peek:
May 21, 2014 § Leave a comment
About a week ago I had the pleasure to attend the Spa Tec Europe event in Rhodes, Greece. This events brings buyers and supplier together for short one-to one meetings to discuss new opportunities, share ideas and spot trends in the spa, wellness and beauty market. Below a picture from Sheraton Rhodes that hosted the event (from my balcony.)
An interesting discussions on future challenges in the industry was brought up; does a spa really need to cater the guest for everything nowadays? In UK we see an increasing habit in doing nails, waxing and other quick result oriented treatments only in a local salon or at the high street, and many customers actually schedule to do it before their spa visit. Increasing beauty competition in department stores, ‘real value for money’ treatments around the corner and specialized technicians are making it harder for spas to keep up their quality in comparison to price. And unfortunately, the less treatments your therapists do of a specific kind (ex. waxing) the less they perform and they might end up lacking professional skills. To offer lower quality to a higher price is not a winner. As the trend of niched concepts is continuing to grow, which encourage us not to be everything to everyone, maybe we need to listen more carefully and pay attention to this. It is hard to keep the quality if you need all your staff to be able to perform everything on your menu. Especially if it is long.
But, in the meantime there is a huge growing demand for hair treatments, both for scalp, hair, lashes and brows. Not to mention everything that has to do with nails, quick fixes like spray tan and shorter express facial treatments. We are also starting to talk about something called “Pre-tox” were we make ourselves beautiful before we go on vacation, and only enjoy the relaxing treatments at the destination. Product brands are launching beauty machines as never before, or they make specialized protocols in how to use their products with other suppliers machines so they are ready to be implemented (like Hydro Peptide for Hydra Facial, a brilliant idea.) Here we have a great opportunity to fill the slots in the appointment schedule, with express treatments which may not be our favorite thing to sell in spas. As Annika (our MD) use to say; “I do not undress for less than 90 min on the table” which I believe many of us would agree on. But here you have the chance to sell a result oriented facial that works specifically on a target area, your puffy eyes for instance. You actually get a result in 20 min, and you can charge for it, with pride. That is interesting.
I met a lot of inspiring people in Rhodes and want to share some of the innovative suppliers and that I met:
Icelab – Whole Body Cryotherapy at minus -110 degrees
You enter a chamber on 3 different rooms were the temperature drops from Celsius -10, -60 to -110 degrees. It is described to be the perfect start of the spa journey, to clear your mind and “chock” your body into relaxation and healing. Cannot be compared to the effects of scold plunges/ that often are at least around +8-12 degrees. Developed for sportsmen from the beginning, to increase circulation, enhance speed, strength and power performance as well as treating injuries.
Coola Organic Suncare founded by eco-entrepreneur Chris Birchby is well known in the US and now entering the European market. Together with Living Earth Crafts they have designed a smart retail trolley called “Coola Cart” which helps you sell the right product to the right client, at the right time. They describe it as an opportunity to connect retail across properties, bringing together spa, pool, gift, sport facilities and even make them available in the in-room mini bar. Cool(a) concept!
Local heritage is still a winning concept represented by Scottish skincare brand Ishga, which offers pure organic seaweed products as well as LI’TYA, that origins from Australia using old aboriginal recipes. Overall, we feel the combination of an organic product range with an active scientifically range is probably what spas are heading towards. Good combination? Probably, yes.
Of course also have to mention Sammy Gharieni with his anti-gravity quartz massage table (now with a specific massage protocol) and his custom made trolleys that easily can be fitted into the room decor, inbuilt hot cabby and diffuser. Always new innovations and always something interesting to offer! Also very excited about Resort Suites (software) new launch of health assessment Ipad app, where the customer can update previous assessments and ‘copy their own answers’ from last visit to save time. This is a company that offers all essentials but also follows the
technologies and uses them in the best way, check out their membership app as well as all other online features.
Notably, suppliers nowadays need to be able to meet the specific requirements of the client and buyers and everyone is ready to customize, what differs is the quality when leaving the standard, the support and of course, the price tag.
Thank you SpaTec team for this time!
March 7, 2014 § Leave a comment
We would of course also want to share the top ten fitness trends in the world, reported for this year by the authoritative American College of Sports Medicine! Some below is included in the ‘Ferocious Fitness’ trend reported by Spa Finder mentioned in our last post, but here more detailed:
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): HIIT, which involves short bursts of activity followed by a short period of rest or recovery, jumps to the top of this year’s list. These exercise programs are usually performed in less than 30 minutes.
Body Weight Training: This is the first appearance of this trend in the survey. Body weight training uses minimal equipment making it more affordable. Not limited to just push-ups and pull-ups, this trend allows people to get “back to the basics” with fitness.
Educated and Experienced Fitness Professionals. Given the large number of organizations offering health and fitness certifications, it’s important that consumers choose professionals certified through programs that are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), such as those offered by ACSM.
Strength Training. Strength training remains a central emphasis for many health clubs. Incorporating strength training is an essential part of a complete physical activity program for all physical activity levels and genders. (The other essential components are aerobic exercise and flexibility.)
Exercise and Weight Loss. In addition to nutrition, exercise is a key component of a proper weight loss program. Health and fitness professionals who provide weight loss programs are increasingly incorporating regular exercise and caloric restriction for better weight control in their clients.
Personal Training. More and more students are majoring in kinesiology, which indicates that they are preparing themselves for careers in allied health fields such as personal training. Education, training and proper credentialing for personal trainers have become increasingly important to the health and fitness facilities that employ them.
Fitness Programs for Older Adults. As the baby boom generation ages into retirement, some of these people have more discretionary money than their younger counterparts. Therefore, many health and fitness professionals are taking the time to create age-appropriate fitness programs to keep older adults healthy and active.
Functional Fitness. This is a trend toward using strength training to improve balance and ease of daily living. Functional fitness and special fitness programs for older adults are closely related.
Group Personal Training. In challenging economic times, many personal trainers are offering more group training options. Training two or three people at a time makes economic sense for the trainer and the clients.
Yoga. Based on ancient tradition, yoga utilizes a series of specific bodily postures practiced for health and relaxation. Includes Power Yoga, Yogalates, Bikram, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Kripalu, Anurara, Kundalini, Sivananda and others.The survey was conducted by interviewing more than three thousand certified fitness professionals all over the world to discover the top ten industry trends expected for 2014.
So, lets keep up and make 2014 the fittest year ever!
February 4, 2014 § 4 Comments
Today’s world is constantly in motion. There are new concepts that emerge from all sort of creative ideas all the time; every year comes with its own surprises. Nowadays clients have access to various means of communication and therefore are more educated about what is going on than ever. In any industry, to keep a customer satisfied, it is important to know what it is that they want and expect, and staying informed becomes crucial. In the spa industry, every year brings new technologies, methods, improvements and experiences. Since the customer is up to date, it is important to be on the same level with them, not just to meet their expectations, but more importantly to exceed them and make them want to come back for more.
So where, how and why will consumers spa, exercise and get ‘their wellness on’ in 2014? Spa Finder Wellness 365 has the answer in their trend forecast report for top 11 trends in 2014:
Mindful Living: “A healthy mind is the key to true happiness”- Dalai Lama
Today’s world is supercharged, and that naturally affects one’s physical, but more important spiritual health. The key to remain in balance and at peace is ”mindful living”-staying attentive to the present moment. This philosophy is one of the driving forces today in the wellness world, From now on clients are seeking to reboot their brains, and the spas will have to offer treatments & tools to their guests, which will help them reach a whole new place of serenity and calm.
Healthy Hotels 2.0
As predicted by Raison d’Etre in 2013, the Healthy Hotels are here to stay. Just in one year this movement has become a mega trend, with many hospitality industry leaders implementing wellness in their accommodation offer or even dedicating entire concepts to it. A great example are EVEN Hotels and upcoming Element hotels. These healthy hotels will not only be good for their guests, but also for the environment. An additional development within this mega trend is hotels moving away from stuffy, eat too much restaurants towards garb-and-go healthy food markets. Hot branded inside & outside fitness classes, in-room virtual training, free workout-in-a-bag…hotels are doing everything to become the local wellness hangout.
Our society is entirely absorbed by the digital world, and wellness is not an exception. Latest applications provide us with daily opportunities to stay fit & well. Clients can not only measure their work out results, but also participate in online yoga classes, easily book spots in the hottest fitness sessions and so on. The Wired Wellness has already spread into the corporate world, by engaging employees with various apps. For spas this trend is crucial to follow. It is very likely that in the future many clients will seek for smart clothing that will measure their performance during the work out and will want to receive professional advice on what wellness & fitness apps they should use in their daily life.
Hot Springs Heat Up
Bathing in hot springs may be the oldest “spa” experience in the world–dating further back than Roman times–but they are also incredibly on trend in 2014. In fact, there’s never been a hotter moment for thermal springs with more and more people seeking out this affordable, social and beneficial spa experience. And, with hot springs existing in virtually every corner of the world, governments and developers alike have taken notice and are funding hundreds of new, exciting developments.
Gravity is associated with something heavy and restricting, and it is no surprise that people want to escape that feeling towards a sensation of freedom. This deep psychological and physical desire is fuelling the new “suspending gravity” trend, as a result of which creative solutions are coming up. You will be seeing more weightless, stress- and mind-melting flotation tanks, chambers and pools at spas. A unique novelty is the world’s first “zero-gravity” spa in Space Resort, Barcelona. Meanwhile on the fitness front: a global craze for aerial and anti-gravity classes and yoga, and new equipment like anti-gravity treadmills. And more spas are incorporating new technologies like anti-gravity massage beds and futuristic pods that simulate the experience of floating on a cloud.
A new “ferocious fitness” trend is on the rise, led by people who take fitness seriously and who compete to establish their own “personal bests,” frequently at semi-professional levels. A key aspect of this trend is making fitness fun and much more exciting than lonely 45 minutes on a treadmill. Working out with joy is more motivating and helps people keep at it longer and actually achieve better results. For instance High Intensity Interval Training Programs became incredibly popular, and you can expect to see even more “ferocious fitness” programs in the year ahead. It is more than just a work out, it is a new fitness culture.
“Natural” Beauty Meets Social Media
Back-to-basics has come to force the faux beauty out. In recent years there’s been resurgence in less-invasive treatments that revive skin, hair, and nails and make humans look human again. This new era of beauty focuses on the nude, the natural, and a high-tech, low-risk beauty, where organic products, science and technology intersect to deliver minimal-downtime results that are seemingly produced by nature. It is now fashionable to post the “no filter selfies” on Instagram, to show that one can look their best 24/7 just as they are. The spas will play their role by offering even more customized treatments and using latest technology for a quick route to lasting, natural loveliness.
Aromatherapy: Scent with Intent
Aromatherapy is moving in bold directions and playing a greater role in the treatment of pain, as a mood enhancer, in sleep therapy, and to improve cognitive function. It has also moved to a new level of customization, spas are reimagining their aromatherapy approach from the more generically pleasant to the personalized and transformative, in order to further enhance experience with the scent power on our memory, emotions and body. In 2014, there will be a growing effort to craft an aromatherapy of intention, working in tandem with botanists and even high-tech digital technology. In addition, inspiring, local, and natural scent will play a bigger role in the business world and in public spaces (restaurants, retail, hotels, hospitals). Call it beyond sachets and cinnamon candles.
Wellness Retreats Rise & Urbanize
In 2014 (and beyond), we will see more all-new destination spa properties, like the just-opened VANA in India’s Himalayan foothills. We’ll see revered brands go on an expansion march, whether Miraval from the U.S. or Lanserhof from Austria. We’ll see more headline-grabbing, hit-all-angles, big wellness “campus-palaces,” but we’ll see even more smaller wellness retreats at more (affordable) price- points, and usually with more targeted angles: whether no-nonsense weight loss boot camps or rustic yoga retreats. Additionally, we’ll see so many more resorts add so much “destination spa” programming, that we may have to expand our idea of the “destination spa” beyond just a noun…to a “verb.”
Death & Spas: Thriving During Life’s Transitions
In 2014, spas are starting to have the “death” conversation and help people cope with terminal illnesses, whether they are patients or caregivers, in the most comfortable and supportive environment imaginable. Nowadays hospitals and long-term care facilities recognized the power of touch and started to break down the boundaries between hospitality and health care by creating a soothing environment for their patients. Cooperation between medical facilities and spas to help patients cope with severely stressful situation is becoming more of a reality. Caring is truly the DNA of the industry, and in 2014 and beyond we will see spas and wellness centers bring comfort and healing to more people…even those who are transitioning to the end of their lives.
Top 10 Surprising Spa & Wellness Destinations
Savvy spa-goers are pushing back against the “been there, done that” travel mentality and demanding more exotic destinations and indigenous experiences to stamp on their spa passports, thereby spawning a significant new industry trend: a map of new spa and wellness settings to explore that extends beyond the normal hot-spots. The magnitude of this trend lies in its ability to prompt a changed perception of each country, instigating a “wellness halo” that can provide a brilliant tourism growth tactic project safety and generate great press.
The full 75-page report, which includes an analysis of factors influencing each trend and examples of early trend adopters, can be downloaded here: http://www.spafinder.com/trends2014.htm
Spa Finders team of editors, along with research analysts and industry experts, have hit the mark with extensive analysis of the latest market findings, interviews with industry leaders, visits to spas and wellness locations worldwide, and continuous surveys with thousands of travel agents, hundreds of thousands of consumers, and the 20,000-plus spa, wellness, and beauty providers in the Spafinder Wellness 365 Network.
October 31, 2013 § Leave a comment
More and more studies about manual therapies are being published however not so many scientific studies have been performed on spa treatments. Spa is often considered more luxury and less therapeutic by the mainstream medical community. However spa treatments can also have therapeutic effects, which a study published this year in the renowned paper, Rheumatology International show. Rheumatology International is an independent journal reflecting worldwide progress in the research, diagnosis and treatment of the various rheumatic diseases.
The researchers studied the effect of spa treatments on ankylosing spondylitis, previously known as Bechterew’s disease. Ankylosing spondylitis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the axial skeleton with variable involvement of peripheral joints as well. Ankylosing spondylitis is a form of chronic, inflammatory arthritis and immune mechanisms are probably involved. It mainly affects the spine and the sacroiliac joint in the pelvis. There is no cure for Ankylosing spondylitis as far as the medical establishment know.
Thirty Ankylosing spondylitis patients attending the Rheumatology Unit of the University of Padova in Italy being treated with TNF inhibitors for at least 3 months were randomized: 15 were prescribed 10 sessions of spa therapy (mud packs and thermal baths) and rehabilitation (exercises in a thermal pool) and the other 15 were considered controls so they did not receive any spa therapy or exercise in a thermal pool. The patients in both groups had been receiving anti-TNF agents for at least three months.
The outcome measures utilized several index for Ankylosing spondylitis and the evaluations were performed in all patients at the entry to the study, at the end of the spa treatment, and after 3 and 6 months. Most of the evaluation indices were significantly improved at the end of the spa treatment, as well as at the 3 and 6 months follow-up assessments. No significant alterations in the evaluation indices were found in the control group, that is, they did not get better scores in the Ankylosing spondylitis index.
The result: “Combined spa therapy and rehabilitation caused a clear, long-term clinical improvement in Ankylosing spondylitis patients being treated with TNF inhibitors. Thermal treatment was found to be well tolerated and none of the patients had disease relapse.”
So next time you go to the spa for a luxury treatment you will probably get some therapeutic medicinal positive side effects as a bonus.
Axial skeleton: the bones along the central axis of an organism: the skull bones, the ossicles of the middle ear, the hyoid bone of the throat, the rib cage, sternum and the vertebral column.)
Sacroiliac joint: Joint between the sacrum and the ileum in the pelvis.
TNF inhibitors: Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) promotes an inflammatory response in the body, associated with autoimmune disorders. TNF inhibitors blocks this response but these drugs have severe side effect.