A partnership that makes a spa profitable in the long run

AnnikaHeadShotOct 2014Annika Jackson is the Director of Business development at Raison d’Etre. Annika first joined the company in 2012 as Managing Director and have since this past year shifted her focus on client relations and development only. Prior to moving back to Sweden after 28 years abroad she was most recently the Vice President for Enchantment group and the Managing Director at Enchantment resort and Mii amo Spa, in Arizona based in the US.  In her role at Raison d’Etre she is working closely with new and existing clients and all potential new projects and developments. We caught Annika in between meetings and talked to her about the value for a spa and/or a hotel when partnering with a Spa management company, such as Raison d’Etre.

In reality, what does it mean for a spa to have a Management agreement with Raison d’Etre?

Annika: “Typically a hotel or a developer does not have the level of spa and wellness expertize needed so we bring in this crucial piece that entails spa operations, wellness services, training, nutrition and membership, to ensure that the spa will be profitable in the long run. Most effective is also when we are brought in early, at the planning stage so that we can from both a spa operator’s and consultant’s standpoint guide the architects and interior designers from the start. This avoids costly building mistakes and ensures a more effective operation and therefore profitable spa.”

Who is the typical client for a Management agreement?

Annika: “Most often we are approached by a developer who is embarking on a new hotel-, resort and spa project. Other times it is a freestanding spa and wellness facility, but in most cases connected to real estate component such as a luxury residential community, villas or condominiums in a high-end development. One good example is our (soon to be open) LivNordic Spa, at Cayan Towers in Dubai. The client gets both a spa brand, but also a professional spa operator. From a real estate perspective the spa brand adds value to the whole project and the developer do not have to worry about the spa operations.”

How can a client get the most out of a co-operation with a spa company such as Raison d’Etre?

Annika: – “In ideal cases we, as a spa company, are involved in the project from the start as mentioned above. The most successful projects are the ones were we are involved at the planning stage already. We can then guide the architects and interior designers, from a spa operations perspective, to create an effective spa. A spa which will be financially and environmentally sustainable in the long run. Often however, we are unfortunately asked on board a spa project at a later stage, where the construction already has taken place and it might be too late for major changes. It’s a bit frustrating when you see a lot of space that is wasted on areas that will never generate income or revenue. Normally we can of course still do many changes and improvements, even in later stages, but it will obviously be more complicated and can cost more.”

“I was recently on a vacation in Spain and I stayed in a brand new hotel. As I entered the spa, which was beautiful, I immediately noticed all the mistakes made and would guess that there was no professional spa consultant or operator involved and felt bad honestly for the owner. There were only a few treatment rooms (very few compared to size of hotel and the rest of the spa areas), but enormous wet areas, which will not generate revenue. I know this spa will not be able to succeed financially as it was not constructed in a smart way. I also noticed significant wet area upgrades such as an abundance of experience showers, waterfalls, whirlpools, saltwater pool “walk” of 10 meters which are all a huge investment and costly to run with almost no return. The staff was also not trained at all and guests were not guided thru a spa journey and even very basic things such as checking guests in, preparing them for spa services with robe and locker etc. was missed – the staff had no idea what to do or how to do the most basic things”.

Our job is often to be the “voice of reason” and to find that balance between facilities, the initial investment and we have a very scientific way of calculating guest usage, membership potential revenue and overall spa revenue and from there we go about recommending and creating the space planning and programming. Each spa opportunity is different and so it is extremely important to do the homework prior, planning and creating a concept and design that will ultimately produce the optimum programming and later return for the owners while serving the guests in the best way possible.

 So, what can a spa owner do if the spa is already open, but not working well at all? Can Raison d’Etre still do something?

Annika:  “Absolutely! We have a very successful SOS program (which stands for Spa Operational Support), where we do an in-depth audit and then by training and coaching of the spa manager we ensure quality improvements, and by that increasing the spa’s revenue and profit. Often we can also do quite a bit in reallocating some of the spa space to create a more efficient operation and higher revenues with higher guest satisfaction as well. Retail is also one area that is often missed and here we can always help and also create a whole new and additional profit center.

So in reality, what happens if a spa owner brings Raison d’Etre on board?

Annika:  “We start with assessing the spa and the spa management. If the spa manager continues in her or his role we will educate and coach him or her and thereafter we set up procedures and strategies to optimize the spa operations in every aspect. We recruit, educate and ensure that a spa manager has the necessary knowledge to continue to run the spa together with us. Sometimes we may add or reduce equipment, spa products and or services and programming – it all depends on how to set it all up for success and to create that return for the investors and fantastic experiences for the guests.

We have a structure for this type of work, where our own staff goes on site and educate and do trainings in everything from emotional hospitality to treatments, including massage and to training of reception staff. In our Management agreements we always have weekly meetings with the spa manager. We also set up a quality management system, which includes a certain number for audits and follow up trainings and coaching during a year. We set KPIs that we agree on with spa manger and owners and we are also involved and support the yearly budgeting process. If the spa is within a hotel we also include meetings with the hotel management, internal sales & marketing trainings and systems and anything else that will ensure a seamless operation with the hotel and increased revenues and profits”.

What are the advantages for a spa owner or hotel company to take on board a Spa management company such as Raison d’Etre?

Annika:  “Since the spa and wellness industry is such a specialized industry and field there are not many hotel- or hospitality management companies who have the in depth knowledge needed quite honestly. Spas are unique, compared to hotels, for example in that sense that staff spends so much time “one on one” with guests. Add the fact that it is by nature a very intimate and vulnerable experience also for people one has to truly understand these dynamics. The therapists and spa staff is key to a successful spa operation. You have to understand the importance of supporting the spa staff every day and this includes a very specialized training and leadership

We have that in-depth knowledge, experience and all the skillsets needed. Most often we are approached by developers who want a quality and full service spa in their projects, but don’t want to be responsible for the daily operations, then we are the perfect partner. When we are involved early in the process it is the best way to go about this. As Spa operators we are concerned about saving money for the developer in the construction phase, but also we are very keen on creating efficient spaces and use of the spa areas, to ensure a long-term profit for the spa. Since we also own and operate spa’s ourselves we understand the importance of long-term feasibility and are not just there to create a unique spa facility, we also want to ensure it is a profitable one, for everyone involved”!

For more information, contact Annika Jackson


News from our Spa Business Education

bild-127First of all we would like to welcome all our new Spa Management students, who started the program last week. We are so excited to have you on board and we look forward to be part of your development and learning process. Welcome!

We would also like to share with you, that we have decided to donate €50 to the Red Cross for each student starting our Spa Management Online Course in Q4 2015 and Q1 2016. The first donation has been earmarked for the current refugee crisis.

In the latest Spaopportunities.com our Education and Project manager, Nikos Kouremenos, says:

“The vision of Raison d’Etre is to light lights, which means that we aim for every person we meet to light a light, The mission of Raison d’Etre is to grow people and enhance wellness in a sustainable and profitable framework, through providing accessible online education for talents within the spa and wellness sector.”

Furthermore Nikos tells about some of our exciting development plans for the Spa Business Education 2016. Read more: http://www.spaopportunities.com/detail.cfm?pagetype=detail&subject=news&codeID=319028

We would also like to invite you to join our new Facebook group for the Spa Business Education. For even more inspiration, motivation and latest updates on our courses and programs, join us now! https://www.facebook.com/Spa-Business-Education-1515017628791171/?fref=ts

We will soon share dates for the courses for next year! For all of you working in the spa industry; What kind of courses or education programs do you look for? What do you need and what is important for you? Let us know, we look forward hearing from you! smc@raisondetrespas.com

Thoughts about opening a new spa

We are happy to have Carolina Moquist as our guest blogger this week. Carolina is Senior Manager Spa & Wellness for the coming LivNordic Spa in Dubai. Carolina shares her thoughts about opening a completely new spa.

image1Coming back to Dubai, after being a way for a few years, I’m fascinated about how much it has changed. Since its development, Dubai Marina has always been my favorite part of Dubai. This is where our new LivNordic Spa & Wellness by Raison ‘d Etre will be located.

We will be occupying the 6th floor in the very prestige Cayan Tower, the iconic building facing Dubai Marina water front, and has been named by “Guinness Book of World Records” to be the tallest twisted tower in the world.

I arrived to Dubai 3 months prior to the scheduled opening of the spa, and had the opportunity to see the spa at an early stage of construction. People had told me that I would be getting a very special feeling for projects which I would be a part of from an early stage. Every time I walk in to the site, new things have happened and I strongly feel that special feeling of what they had all stated. The very unique design elements are slowly coming together and I am able to start seeing the end product.

According to a study commissioned by the International Spa Association, the number one reason guests give for visiting a spa is relaxation and stress relief. So it is important to realize that spas are more than good massages, facials and waxing. For some, spas are a kind of modern- day sanctuary and at LivNordic, we really want to create a home away from home feeling for all our guests.

Key thoughts when opening a new spa:

Spa menu and Products -Our Spa menu will be simple and straight forward, offering a variety of massage to relax and detox as well as traditional and advanced beauty treatments. Fitness, yoga and meditation classes as well as suggestions for a full wellness experience are also included. As we will offer membership opportunities to our guests, we have included attractive benefits such as complimentary spa treatments, fitness classes and beverages as well as discounts on spa treatments, retail items and more. We really want to engage our members to spend as much time as possible in our spa.

The products used are a selected range of organic and proven result oriented high-end beauty and lifestyle products for all of our treatments and guest experiences. All products used will also be available in the spa’s retail store for guests to continue their spa experience at home.

We have selected treatments and products based on market trends, and as we are in a residence tower we are aiming to target guest both internal and external.

Recruitment – The team is the soul of the spa! It is essential to find the right team. I love working with a multi-cultural team as it gives all the staff members a great opportunity to learn about different cultures. We have recruited a multi tasked team who are all interested in growing in their profession and with great passion for spa, wellness and guest service.

Training – I believe this is the key to success and unfortunately this is where I believe it goes wrong for many spas. To have a well-planned training scheduled before the opening is extremely essential. As we are an established spa brand, we are blessed with having amazing internal trainers who will spend time with the team. The product houses will also conduct product and treatment trainings, so it’s very important for spa directors to have a clear idea of what trainings the product houses are able to offer before signing an agreement. To ensure the quality of treatments is maintained after the pre-opening training period, we will be having a dedicated spa trainer who will follow up on refresher courses and host performances.

Spa Business Plan including a Sales and marketing plan, Business Objectives and Goals and HCM plan

Leading a spa is as exciting as it is challenging due to the fact that the product we are offering to our guests are simply our hands. The business plan is a great essential tool to use to lead the spa to success and maximize profitability. To have an organized plan and have clear goals on where we are now and where we would like to go and how to get there and then communicate it to the team, I believe is the way to success.

Stay tuned for more information about the flag ship of LivNordic – LivNordic Spa and Wellness Cayan Tower, Dubai to be open late December 2015

/Carolina Moquist

Thoughts from our new Course Manager

NikosRaison d’Etre’s Online Spa Management Program has been a success from the start and still continues to bring students from all over the world to participate in the Online Program.

As from September we have a new Course Manager taking over after Josefin Rooth, who now works as Project Manager for Raison d’Etre.

Nikos Kouremenos is our new Course Manager and we would like to extend a warm welcome to his new role. He was previously working as Area Spa Director in Soma Bay, Egypt. Managing all spa services there, with 3 spas and a total of 80 treatment rooms. Welcome Nikos!

What do you, Nikos see is the future for our Online Spa Management program and what are the plans for further development of the Raison d’Etre’s Spa Business Education?

Nikos: – The Vision of Raison d’Etre is to light lights, which means that we aim for every person we meet to light a light.

The Mission of Raison d’Etre is to grow people and enhance wellness in a sustainable and profitable framework, through providing accessible online education for talents within the spa and wellness sector.

So, following those two company pillars and having spas as a passion, we aim to inspire, motivate, develop and grow talented people within the spa and wellness sector, with our online education where we support and follow up on each student’s personal development.

Following the global boom of the spa industry and sensing the tremendous need for well-educated spa managers and well-trained spa staff we are going through our Development Plan for 2016, which includes: New individual courses and a new web education portal. We are also working on Alumni for graduates of our program, for networking purpose. We will also launch new courses and follow up programs for the once who have attended the Spa Management Online Program. There are a lot of new things coming up during 2016, says Nikos Kouremenos.

What do you see, as a new Course Manager, is unique for the way Raison d’Etre’s spa management program is done? Nikos summarizes:

  • TAILOR-MADE COURSES: We can tailor-make the online course for your company, country or management level and make it individual for every participant.
  • QUALITY & EXPERIENCE OF RDE STAFF: Raison d’Etre was founded over 12 years ago, our course leaders have experience in all facets of the spa and wellness industry and considered experts worldwide. We have educated over a 180 spa managers the past 8 years. We not only consult, but also own and operate our own Spas and therefore offer solid operational experience and reality based training in our courses.
  • TIME & PLACE FLEXIBILITY: All studying is online and you will be able to study whenever you want, wherever you want.
  • UNIQUE & PRACTICAL BENEFITS: You will leave with a customized Business plan for your own spa. You will obtain all the key steps for spa management success. You will receive personal feedback and support in your management development
  • MARKET RELEVANT & UP-TO-DATE: The Spa Management Online Program is truly market-oriented, updated yearly after global spa management research and is created by senior industry experts.
  • OPEN: Anyone can attend, either from within the spa/wellness/fitness industry or from outside the industry, wishing to explore and gain a better insight.

Next course start 2nd of November. Raison d’Etre has decided to donate €50 to the Red Cross, for each student starting the Spa Management Online course Q4 2015 and Q1 2016.

For all our German friends and readers

bild-115In the latest issue of German Spa Business Magazine our colleague Maria Nystedt writes about her experiences as a Spa Manager in the Maldives.

“Little did I know what to expect that early morning when I landed on the tiny landing strip of Male Airport. I was dazzled by the strong and bright sunlight and the turquoise water that seemed to be everywhere around the airport”.

“For me, working in the Maldives, was a once in a lifetime experience and I learnt so much. Not only to work with, and understand different cultures, but also to learn to constantly find new strategies for new situations that needed to be solved.”


The article can be found in the latest issue (3 / 2015).

Networking and business in Dubai

In mid-September I had the opportunity to visit SPATEC Middle East, in beautiful Dubai. The venue, The Westin Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina was a peaceful luxury resort and spa settled on the Jumeirah Beach.

The SPATEC was attended by around 70 suppliers and buyers form well establishes professional companies. It was a very well organised and operators, directors and suppliers participate in a series of one-on-one meetings over two dedicated business days. Throughout the event networking was taken to a whole new level. Because SPATEC takes place in an exclusive venue away from the pressures of the office. It’s focused, productive and offers networking in both formal and relaxed environments to maximize every moment spent at the event.

I had the pleasure of being accompanied by Carolina Moquist, Spa Director at our next LivNordic Spa at the Cayan Tower in Dubai, which soon will have its grand-opening. It is in the final stages and one could really see that this will be a stunning flagship spa for LivNordic development in the Middle East.

This was my first SPATEC since I joined Raison d’Etre and I was amazed in how organized the event was. The hotel, the meals and the panel, everything was very professional. I’ve made great connections and can’t wait for the next one.



IMG_2105 IMG_2093

Spas located in hotels – Marketing Actions to consider

nordic c hotelIf you are managing a spa, located in a hotel, there are some marketing actions and activities that are particularly important to consider. One strategy to keep in mind is something we call; Internal marketing. One way to describe Internal Marketing is: Promoting the spa to people who already know about your business and actually already works (in a way) for your business.

We are talking about the hotel staff! By also treating them as a type of customer or target group, they will learn about the spa and by that be the perfect ambassadors for your business. So don’t forget about them!

The rationale behind internal marketing is that a hotel or resort spa can, and need to use its own employees (or the hotel employees) to promote the services.

How can this be done? First of all, ensure that you as a spa manager can and are allowed to attend all new hotel staff induction-training sessions. So you can introduce yourself and present your spa and explain the concept, services and the experience. All the new hotel staff should have a tour of the spa facilities. This should be a standard for each hotel and resort spa.

Regularly plan for “Spa News presentations” for hotel staff, so you have the possibility to inform about new treatments and services. It is important that the hotel staff, particularly Guest relations team and Front desk team are aware and updated on all new things happening in the spa. Why? Because they are the ones who meet all your potential guests – DAILY! And they are the ones who can guide the guests to the spa.

By doing mini-training sessions for hotel staff they will feel that they are informed, inspired and involved in the spa business. When you feel you have knowledge and inspiration you can also easily explain and speak from the heart about the services! We believe inspiration and involvement are important key factors!

And why not, in low season, or when spa is less busy, invite hotel staff to experience the spa and the treatments. At least one time, so they can fully understand the service and the experience. Maybe some of the front desk team members never have been in a spa before?

Some hotels work a lot with cross training. Cross training is a great source for motivation and learning, but most of all we see that it creates awareness and understanding among the employees. It creates understanding for each other’s business and daily challenges and it creates a team feeling.

There are much more actions and activities that can be done when it comes to internal marketing. So why not include a section in your next marketing plan that is called Internal Marketing? Which actions would you add to this list?

Would you like to study Spa Marketing more in depth? Raison d’Etre’s Spa Management Program dedicates a great part of the Program to Marketing (internal and external), Social Media, PR and of course we guide you to create a complete business plan. Our last Spa Management Program for the year starts 2nd of November. For more information please feel free to contact Course Manager Nikos Kouremenos at smc@raisondetrespas.com

The picture: An inspiring reception desk and lobby in Stockholm. Picture is borrowed from Nordic C Hotel in Stockholm.

Save the date!


Raison d’Etre Spa Business Education is proud sponsor of the Global Wellness Summit, the annual event that attracts international leaders and visionaries and is taking place at The St. Regis Mexico City from November 13-15. The agenda will focus on the theme of “Building a Well World.”

“Sponsorship is the lifeblood of the Summit. As one of the leading spa- and wellness companies, that also offers Online Spa Management Programs, we are proud to include Raison d’Etre Spa Business Education as one of this year’s sponsors,” said Michelle Gamble, GWS’s VP of Global Business Development.

“Raison d’Etre Spa Business Education is thrilled to be supporting the first-ever Global Wellness Summit in Latin America with our sponsorship of the Knowledge Workshop where we will present a new and Revolutionary way to make training profitable,” said Anna-Cari Gund, Managing Director Raison d’Etre. “To collaborate with an organization that is focused on promoting a healthier world is a privilege“

This year’s Summit is shaping up to be the most successful ever with unprecedented support from industry leaders around the world and an expected record number of attendees.

“We are grateful to the companies that step up to work closely with us to make this event possible and work with us to shape and define our industry,” said Susie Ellis, Chairman and CEO of the GWS.

The Summit is widely recognized as the premier gathering of business, government and academic leaders across the wellness, travel, technology, medical and spa industries – and for its high-profile, keynote speakers and innovative agenda, industry research, Global Wellness Tourism Congress and business networking opportunities.

Anna-Cari Gund and Anna Bjurstam will host the Knowledge Workshop 12th of November. Save the date!

Raison d’Etre welcomes new Area Spa Director to Soma Bay, Egypt

We would like to take the opportunity to welcome Tanya Talreja as the new Area Spa Director for Cascades Spa & Thalasso at Soma Bay in Egypt. Tanya has taken over the roll recently, after Nikos Kouremenos, who is now leading Raison d’etre Spa Business Education.


Welcome Tanya to your new position as Area Spa Director in Soma Bay, what is your background?

An International Luxury Spa, Salon & Fitness Developer and Managing Director with a background in development. My experience is chiefly in the luxury spa, beauty, wellness, fitness and spa management field. I have both worked as a spa manager, director, and development director. The companies that I have worked with have references of the best hotels and spaces in the world.

What is your role today and what will be your main focus?

My current role is Area Spa Director for 3 different luxurious spa properties; La Residence des Cascades (soon to be Westin Soma Bay Golf Resort & Spa), Kempinski Soma Bay Hotel, and lastly Robinson Club. Some desks/ huts/ cabanas in the area are also under the companies’ management. “. The spas are operated in co-operation with Raison D’Etre. Each of the hotels mentioned has a spa location that I handle in all aspects.  Developing each wellness property continues to be a long-term goal, turning a client’s spa visualization into a reality through total wellness solution in fitness & wellness approach.

What do you see is unique in Soma Bay Spa?

I think the most notable is the potential for all locations in Soma Bay to become worldwide destination spas. For people from around the world to enjoy the signature services offered. But most notably; one of the spa locations; has facilities that span over an area of 7,500 SQM! It is one of the largest spas in the world. The unrivalled centrepiece of the spa is the 750 m2 Thalasso-Tonic Hydrotherapy Pool containing 830 m3 of sea water, sub-divided into a number of distinct zones.

There is an array of luxurious face, body, water, hair, nail treatments, and even soon to be a healthy spa cuisine and beverage bar to suit each our ever expanding offers for our guests.

What made you decide to start working in Soma Bay Egypt?

I enjoy adventure and working in various places around the world, after my initial visit I discovered the unsurpassed beauty of turquoise waters surrounding the whole peninsula. The beauty was a great seller on taking the position, as well as the amount of creativity, and responsibility that the job provides. Soma Bay is surrounded on all sides by the sea; the resort boasts picturesque sandy beaches, panoramic views of the turquoise colored sea, Desert Mountains and Blue Skies. Including championship golf courses coveted diving and kite surfing activities. Only 4 hours flight from Central Europe, and 45 kilometres from Hurghada International Airport, with year round sunshine.

We wish Tanya and her teams all the best for a successful business and at the same time we welcome new spa guests to discover the beauty and services of the spas that Tanya is leading.

Business Plan for Spas

Spa M ADNot many people outside the inner circle of the spa industry truly understand the many talents a spa manager must have to lead a spa to success. Not only do the spa manager need an understanding of the spa business, the financial fundamentals, but also have an in depth insight of therapies and what it’s like to conduct 8 treatments a day! And then, as if this is not enough, the leader of a spa also need to have both knowledge in people and leadership skills.

So what tool can be the road map for a spa manager to lead a spa to its success? We would definitely say the Business Plan!

Business Plan 

A Business Plan is all about how to lead the spa to success – Maximizing profitability, through finding out where you are at right now, where you are going and how to get there.

The Business plan is really the core of our Online Spa Management Program. In our Spa Management Program we will help you to find the right strategies to maximize your spa’s profitability and not settling with good, but reaching great. We will also show how important communication is and challenge you to confront brutal facts, and finally we highlight the importance of fostering a culture of discipline.

In our Spa Management Program you have the opportunity to create a complete business plan for your own spa, parallel with all the lectures. The Business Plan will include all essential headings and content, everything from KPI’s to USPs, to the Marketing Plan and Human Capital Management Plan and P&L…and more.

We will guide your through all the elements and you will even get individual feedback on your personal business plan. The teacher team will go through each and everyone of the student’s Business Plans and review and get back with accurate feedback, inspiration and knowledge. This method (with individual feedback) is one of our USPs!

Finally we would like to share some general advices when working on a Business Plan for a Spa:

  • Use a business plan to set concrete goals, responsibilities, and deadlines to guide your business.
  • A good business plan assigns tasks to people or departments and sets milestones and deadlines for tracking implementation.
  • As part of the implementation of a business plan, it should provide a forum for regular review and course corrections.
  • Good business plans are practical.
  • When creating a business plan, we strongly recommend involving the whole team in the creation, which will facilitate understanding and agreement on the goals and how to get there.
  • The main goal is to draw the map and the way to get there…

Would you like to, once and for all, get an in depth understanding of all important KPIs and leadership strategies, at the same time as you create a Business Plan for your spa? Then Raison d’Etre’s Spa Business Education might just be what you are looking for.

We provide On-line Education- and Spa Management Programs for the future spa leaders and therapists. The successful Spa Management Program is fully flexible, hands-on and market-orientated. All our programs are created by senior industry experts with solid operational experience who really know what the growing spa and wellness industry needs in its future leaders.

Next course starts September 28th.

For more information please contact us here: smc@raisondetrespas.com

Testimonial: “I now feel I have the frame and the essentials to succeed. I am glad to have invested in this course,  although I have an MBA on International Business. The content was detailed and extremely straight to the point. No time lost, perfect for me.”
– Angela Vieira, Florida

That “wow” feeling…

When did you last time feel ”wow”, after a spa treatment? Do you know what exactly made you feel ”wow”? I think one of the best ways to develop as a therapist and to improve the treatments and services at your spa is to actually visit other spas and experience as many treatments as possible. This is the way you truly feel what to do and not to do.

But how do you know if a treatment is way beyond good or average? For me a treatment is like a journey, which actually already starts outside the treatment room, already when planning the treatments and reading the spa menu. And it is not complete until the guest has received product recommendations and is enjoying the relaxation room.

But still, what differs a beyond ordinary treatment from just another massage? I think it is all in the hands of the therapist and how present and mindful one can be. As a guest you definitely feel if the therapist is “not in the room”, rather thinking about what he or she will be doing after work or worrying about the next treatment… All the stressful thoughts in the mind of a therapist can unfortunately be felt in the hands.

Nordic Facial (high res Colorurbox)Another thing that impacts the treatment experience is that the mind and body needs time to gradually calm down. It is difficult for the mind to change into a calm state right away, coming from a hectic outside world. Therefor it is essential for the therapists and the spa team to consider how to help the guests to wind down before the treatment?

Of course we can do this by just asking guests to arrive 15 minutes earlier, but can we add something more in the treatments to enhance the process of calming the senses? Can we do small talk and a hand massage as a start, instead of just placing the guest on the treatment table and start right away…would that make a difference?

The same goes with the ending. There is nothing worse than a treatment ending abruptly, from the deepest state of relaxation and in one second the therapist is done… Try to add some highlights in the end of a treatment, that give hints that the treatment is soon over and that it is time to wake up. But hints that gives a “wow feeling”…

Can you add hot compress on the feet and a gentle foot massage at the end, or can you end with a soft scalp massage? Sometimes it may be enough just to place the hands on the guest’s shoulder for a while and stay there… And then (of course) slowly, slowly increase the intensity from the lights…

A small gesture that gives a lot of impact is, when the therapist has kept the bathrobe on a towel heater, so it’s warm and cosy as you get dressed after the treatment. It is nothing magic, but just a very comforting gesture, as many guests may feel a bit cold getting up from the warm treatment table.

And another way of creating a “wow sensation” is tailor-making. It may sound easy and obvious, but to make a treatment feel really tailor-made it takes some effort. As a therapist you have to ask the right questions, listen to your guest and sometimes even listen between the lines to fully understand what your guest is looking for. Practice listening, rather than talking and you are one large step closer to being able to truly offer tailor-made experiences.

What about you? How do you create “wow-treatments”? Please feel free to share your thoughts, we would love to hear from you.


LivNordic Spa in Spa Business

bild-113In Spa Business Magazine, issue 3 2015, you find an interesting piece about the new LivNordic Spa on board Viking Ocean Cruises. Our first LivNordic Spa at sea!

The spa opened in May, earlier this year, on board the brand new Viking Star. The cruise line has a Scandinavian heritage, so it’s a perfect match with Viking Cruises and LivNordic.

The spa on board is based on the principles of Nordic wellbeing and lifestyle. There is a large hydrothermal area, inspired by Nordic bathing traditions, including alternating hot and cold experiences. And the LivNordic Spa offers the first snow grotto at sea!

Enjoy a glimpse from the brand new LivNordic Spa on board Viking Star.


Spa 1

New job opportunity – immediate opening!

Soon to open – A new luxury spa in Cairo, Egypt and we are looking for talented therapists with 5 star international experience.

The Spa is about 2,500 sqm with a separate fitness area. It is located in a high end, exclusive residential area, nearby a golf course overlooking the Pyramids.

We are looking for experienced therapists, male/female, beauticians and an Assistant Spa Manager.

Would you like to know more? Are ready for the next step in your career?

Don’t hesitate to send us your CV as soon as possible: nikos@rdespas.com

Picture: Cairo by night. Picture borrowed from Minamar Hotels & Travel

Time in a Sauna is well-spent time…

shutterstock_197243450Most of us feel good after a sauna session and we know it is good for the circulatory system and the detoxification. We know that that time in sauna is well-spent time, when it comes to health benefits.

A new study, published earlier this year proofs this. The study suggests that men who engaged in frequent sauna use had reduced risks of fatal cardiovascular events and all-cause mortality, according to an article published online by JAMA Internal Medicine. Dr. Jari Laukkanen M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio and his colleagues investigated the association between sauna bathing and the risk of SCD, fatal coronary heart disease (CHD), fatal CVD and all-cause mortality in a group of 2,315 middle-aged men (42 to 60 years old) from Finland.

The team found that men who engaged in 2-3 sauna bathing sessions each week were 22% less likely to experience sudden cardiac death, 23% less likely to experience fatal CHD and were at 27% lower risk of CVD death and 24% lower risk of all-cause mortality, compared with men who used a sauna once a week.

Men who had 4-7 sauna sessions benefited even more; they were at 63% lower risk of sudden cardiac death, 48% lower risk of CHD death, 50% lower risk of CVD death and were 40% less likely to die from all causes, compared with those who had one sauna session a week.

In addition, the researchers found that the duration of sauna sessions appeared to influence results. They found that, compared with men who spent less than 11 minutes in a sauna, those who spent more than 19 minutes in a sauna were at 52% lower risk.

For us in Scandinavia quality time in a sauna, followed by a cold dip in a lake one way to achieve high levels of health. Why not join us and enjoy the Nordic lifestyle and wellbeing in LivNordic Spa’s bathing experiences, where the sauna and cold experiences are the basis for inducing deep relaxation and wellbeing…




The Art of Spa Menus

Which tool is one of the most important sales tool in a spa? The spa menu! Why? Because it can increase sales tremendously in a spa. Spa menus can be amazingly inspirational and they can also be totally boring. If a spa menu is structured and written in a good way it can really boost the bookings and capture ratio, so let’s look at some basic rules on how to structure your menu.


Do you know your target group and spa guests? First of all, look at your treatment statistics and analyze your guests. Who is coming to your spa and what do they want? This information is extremely important in order to know how to structure the spa menu and what offerings you should include.

It should be easy to find treatments. This may sound very basic, but do some research and look at your competitor’s spa menus. You might be surprised how difficult it can be to find the treatments you are looking for and the price for them.

Ensure your spa menu is written in an easy way. Ask a friend (who is not working in the spa business) to read and give feedback. Ensure that the treatment description includes the benefits of the treatment and the results. The guest wants to understand; what’s in it for me? Research has shown that guests want to understand what the treatment is and the benefit. If you can describe this in an easy, understandable way – you will sell better.

Less is more, especially when it comes to spa menus. Minimize the menu! Any treatment that sells less than 1-2% of total treatments should be taken off the menu. Too many treatments will just be confusing and make it difficult for the guest.

Double check that your printed spa menu and the online spa menu includes;

  • Practical information (regarding the visit)
  • Opening Hours
  • Cancellation policies
  • Other amenities that the guest can enjoy in the spa
  • Contact details

So once the spa menu is “top-notch”, ensure it is displayed and easily available. It might not be in the reception area where the guest has time to actually read the spa menu and be inspired… So don’t forget to display the spa menu in the locker rooms, spa café or the waiting room and relaxation room. If your spa is located in a hotel, ensure the spa menu is also displayed in each hotel room, as well as at the concierge and reception areas.

Spa Menus can be found in all shapes, forms, colors and sizes. Look at your spa menu and ask yourself; What is this spa menu telling my guests about my spa? Is it inspiring, does it reflect our style and philosophy?

It is so important that the spa menu is, not only inspiring, but also reflects what you stand for. As for most guests, the spa menu is the first impression of the spa, and you know what they say…first impressions last…