A big thank you to Michael Altewischer with Wellness Hotels & Resorts who with his team did am amazing job setting up this venue as a great extension to the very big ITB Berlin Convention, where the who is who in travel all were this past week.
What great fun and how inspiring it was to spend a few days with esteemed colleagues and having the opportunity to network, while hopefully contributing our own unique experience from Raison d’Etre.
While I personally presented on the subject of; General Criteria for Spa and Wellness Hotels – Essentials and operating requirements for planning spa areas and the differences between Europe, Asia & the USA.
It was also fantastic to have the opportunity to listen to the other speakers such as Dagmar Rizzato with Rizzato Spa Consulting, presenting very useful benchmarks for the spa industry together with Kohl & Partner.
I also found Dr. Franz Linser’s presentation very fun and inspiring and gave us all something to think about when it comes to multitasking and stress, what great energy!
Susie Ellis, President, Spa Finder Wellness Inc., CEO, Global Spa and Wellness Summit, was there to present the overview of the latest findings from SRI International and a glimpse into some of the most important future spa and wellness trends. (Picture: Susie Ellis presentening spa trends)
The day concluded with Antonino Minneci, Marketing Consultant with Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung, GfK presentation of Findings, information and insights into the latest developments and guests’ expectations in 2013.
Wellness as a lifestyle and marketplace is expanding with no sign of slowing down.
We all gained valuable insights into the differences by region, conceptually, facility wise and operationally.
A few excerpts in regards to the Market places of Europe, Asia and the US:
Some examples of spas, that was discussed, having shown to be examples of great sustainable concepts and that have gained great reputations. However, that is not necessarily the same as turning a profit for its owners or investors. More often than one would think, spa’s that are well known and/ or receive great press and accolades are not necessarily profitable. Especially challenging is the Destination Spa Concept.
Operating a spa has different advantages in different regions when it comes to for example staffing. A challenge in some regions may be the significant labor laws and high staffing costs, long vacations etc. While in other areas it is difficult to operate with local staff and maintain a high service level and quality of treatments.
In order for a spa to be successful in any of the three regions, the spa has to prove why the guest should come to the spa. Or why a guest should pay more to go to your spa compared to the spa or resort down the road. Typically across the board we can see that menus not tailored to the target guests, too long menus and to sterile design are three great ways to fail.
No matter how much we all would like to think we are all in this to bring health, wellbeing and balance to the people in the world, (which we certainly are) it all does in the end come down to one thing: Is the Spa and Wellness center sustainable? I.E what is the bottom line for the owner’s and investors? Can it continue to prosper year after year?
This is where we come in: Overhead is important to consider. Have a smart layout before the facility has been built, design for optimal flow with the minimum for overhead, such as guest service staff.
In conclusions: You cannot cook European, Asian or American food with the same ingredients, for spas the facilities you build, will have similar features, however, they will differ in myriads of ways. Tailor your spa and wellness center to the people you serve.
The most important factor to take into consideration is not WHERE your spa is located but WHO will come.
Understanding your target market, communicating to them through a clear concept, will ultimately decide your design.
// Annika Jackson