Open your eyes and relax

I met with a selection of 21 high quality spa suppliers at the Global Spa Meetings Middle East last week. It fills my heart with joy, how everybody is aiming for making the guests experience even greater and one of the suppliers captured my mind and heart somewhat more then the others:


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Amongst other things, Livinglobe are the producers of the Vidarium Wellness Video Dome and their slogan is brilliant:

Open your eyes and relax. I know, read it again and just feel the juice of it.

For me, it started a whole chain of thoughts and questions on the subject of wellness, and that is exactly was I was looking for going to the Spa Meetings in the first place. I was looking for something that invites me to think differently than before, something that starts my creative process on what wellness means in the industry and of course what it means to me.

I ask you this: How often do you open your eyes and actively view and rest your eyes on what you see, and allowing yourself to completely be present and relax in that moment?

Whatever your answer is, my answer unfortunately was, that far to often I look at something or look at someone, but I don’t allow the short time it takes to relax my breathing, taking in and be totally present with what’s in front of me. At times, I even catch myself thinking about my next step, and not only does that make me not see, it also makes me not hear because I am unable to listen when in a state of absence.

With the Vidarium Wellness Video Dome, we, who provide wellness for people and through that give them the opportunity to enhance their lifestyles, are given a great product and it will complement and enhance the spa experience. I picture the video dome as an active pre or post treatment relaxation room, I picture it as a treatment of it’s own where you can go together as a group or by yourself. The good thing is that you can choose what kind of theme you want projected on the screen and secure that it will fit your unique spa concept and design.





Who knows, through this great product, we might even be able to help change people’s lives outside of the wellness centers more. It might help them to slow down in life, it might help them to be more present simply by having practiced:

‘Open your eyes and relax’.

I wish for it.

Sabine Itze

P.S. If you want to know more:



Spa therapy in the scientific litterature


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.


A Thai Treat with Number One Massage therapist Mr Jaruun

Just visited Thailand and had the good fortune to meet and have several treatments sessions with Mr Jaruun – as it says on his uniform Number 1 Thai Massage therapist.

The 74 year old man have been giving Thai-massage for 40 years and have developed his own style of practice

His session can very well turn into 3 hours sessions, because that is how long it takes to really work in detail on the whole body.

First time meeting him he instructs me proudly that his massages are long and very different from the common Thai massage you can find at the beach or at the massage parlors along then main streets of every tourist city in Thailand.

And….he was very right, he works soft with his palms along the Sen lines, like he is opening the pathways and also preparing my body softly for the soft stretches that will follow.

Mr Jaruun always take 3 clients a day, not more, not less and when I ask him if he gets tired he says: “ it is important to breath out giving a stroke or when giving pressure.

He also very much uses his own body weight, rocking his body from side to side, distributing his weight gradually and gently into my body.

He take his time working up and down my spine using palms, elbows, feet and knees and then with a gentle stretch – like a slow Yoga posture he stretches my back and I can feel all my cervical vertebrae silent, smoothly realigning and the stiffness that had kept my head from turning without hesitation is gone.

Ending the session Mr Jaruun invites me to sit opposite to him  and he recites a prayer in Thai and then spontaneously from his heart a translation in English where he simply and lovingly asks for health, balance and that harmony will be present in my life.


Rooted in the Indian Ayurvedic medical practice, Thai Massage is one of many forms of Oriental bodywork based on energy balance theory of health and healing.

The Chinese system of acupressure is an obvious influence. Thai massage focuses on the ten major sen lines by palming and thumbing along these energy pathways.

According to this theory, the human body contains a field of energy within it composed of 72,000 sen lines, ten of which hold top priority.

The Chinese meridian theory calls this energy “Qi” and the Indian Ayurvedic system of nadis refers to it as “prana”. It is believed that blockages in the flow of this energy manifest in discomfort, disease and pain.

 Most ailments then are the result of an imbalance in these meridians, whereas free flow along the sen lines leads one to feel energetic, relaxed and free from stiffness and pain. Working pressure points along the sen lines releases blockages of energy and increases energy flow, thereby helping to restore balance, the key to good health. Well-being can be restored and maintained by rhythmically working along the ten sen or vital energy conduits.
This sacred philosophy was taken directly from the teachings of Yoga. Thai Massage is very rhythmic and meditative, enabling both the client and the practitioner to reach a deeper level of consciousness.

Spa Management Education

We are happy to announce that our next Spa Mangement Online Course starts already June 3rd, because of high interest this year and many that cannot wait until next one in September! Anna recently shared her spa management knowledge and thoughts about online education on, you can read her blog post below:

Photo Mark Earthy   COPYRIGHT © Photographer Mark Earthy.WWW.PHOTOGRAPHER.SE“A fundamental challenge facing Spa business is the lack of people with the right skills to fill management level positions.”  Anna Bjurstam writes:
The driving force behind any spa’s success is the Spa Manager/Director; the captain of the ship – his or her way of leading the business will make or break the spa. An expert knowledge of spa and wellness and strong people skills is not enough for a leading spa manager, who also needs to be on top of operations fundamentals, customer service and be an excellent manager, administrator, able to act on performance statistics, (KPIs), and ultimately, possess the wisdom and confidence to lead the team through the inevitable ups and downs. The key shortcomings of most aspiring Spa Managers – according to a recent survey – are hard business skills such as strategic planning, spa finance, revenue management and marketing. So in order to stand out in today’s tough, competitive job market, education is paramount…

Three typical sources of spa managers:
1. Hiring someone from outside the spa business
Since most spas believe that on-the-job learning and mentoring are still the most important ways for spa managers/directors to gain their skills, this is the challenge with hiring someone with the right education but yet outside the spa business.

2. Recruiting a spa management graduate from university or college
There are approximately 64 spa management-related degree programs available in universities, colleges, and schools around the world. Most of these programs are still new and have very little recognition among the spa industry and are as not as well-connected as they need to be.  These courses are usually taken prior to entering the workforce.

Managers/directors who come into their jobs directly out of a university/college degree program or out of a non-spa job do not come equipped with a deep, first hand understanding of the spa world and its intricacies. So while these managers/directors may be strong on hard skills like management, finance and marketing, they are often weak on the soft skills (such as understanding of the detail of spa operations) and people skills needed to manage the therapists and clients in the spa.

3. Promoting existing spa employees into management positions
Providers of continuing education services are also new, fragmented, and constantly evolving, and there is no one “proven” model for effectively delivering training to employees already in the workforce to equip them for senior positions.

Promoting existing spa employees into management roles also has its pros and cons. There are at least 41 providers of spa management continuing education globally. Most are private companies (offering short courses, workshops), but some are schools/universities offering longer professional certificate programs. The challenge with these is that there is still not any well-defined educational or career pathway for entering spa management or worldwide spa management accreditation. Many spa industry executives believe promoting from within is a very successful and desirable model for sourcing managers because people who have already worked in the spa have a deep, first hand understanding of that spa’s culture and operational structure. They can bring that knowledge to their management role, and for this purpose shorter spa management courses are ideal. On the other hand, for a person without spa experience seeking a management position, a shorter course is unlikely to be adequate.

What about online education?
Online education is increasing fast and is clearly the future in education. While you lose personal contact and the discipline of someone else telling you exactly what to do, what you gain is time, flexibility, support whenever you need it and the chance to study the way that suits you.

Raison d’Etre has worked with more than 100 spas in 60 different countries, created eight of the world’s best known spa brands and educated over 150 spa managers in the past 8 years. Our bespoke spa training has strongly contributed to making each of our spas profitable and sustainable. One of the company’s core values is to “Grow People” and our commitment to this and to meeting the needs of the spa industry has led to the creation of an online and easily accessible spa management education programme. Our mission is to share our spa management knowledge and contribute skills that will make the spa management market stronger by helping to solve the problem of under-educated spa managers.

The center of the Raison d’Etre Spa Management Online Course is reality based training, built on the solid operational experience of the senior industry experts who have created this course. Market orientation is crucial and so the course is updated every year following global spa management research. We teach all the key steps to success in spa management and provide the best tools, ideas and strategies for the student’s future spa while developing their own confidence and leadership skills. The students leave with a customized and successful business plan for their own spa.

This is only one of the courses on the market and there will be many more in the future as the spa and wellness industry grows. Along the way, the Global Spa & Wellness Spa Management committee will continue their work in improving the spa management workforce system.

Anna Bjurstam

Board member, Global Spa & Wellness Summit
Committee member, Spa Management Education committee
Vice President, Six Senses Spas
Owner, Raison d’Etre


2012 Research Report: “Spa Management Workforce and education: Addressing Market Gaps

How do we choose the right Spa Software? Part 2

To have the right software system in your spa that meet your requirements is one of the most important features, for a smooth running spa operation. Part 1 of this post did tell you what to think about when choosing system and some important tips. Part 2 will let you know what is out on the market today. So, what can we expect from a spa software system today? A lot!

3Appointment books/reservations – “Access from anywhere, anytime”
Reach your system from anywhere on computers/smartphones, and make even your staff able to book treatments wherever they are (and to get updated on their schedule.) Access your waiting list and it will let you know when appointments get available, register your turn aways easy, make group bookings in a click and connect the recommendations of the reservation to the guest history. You should expect the system to be able to send out a booking confirmation, an appointment reminder and “thank you for your visit” message in preferred contact way (email or text message) in preferred language (setups can be made.) The system should also be able to handle pricing and yield management.

Online booking – “Book me now or loose me forever”
Online booking has become crucial for spas, just as all other businesses. Make sure to have an easy, functional booking procedure where the customer (if preferred) can log in and see their previous history and therapists. Also make sure you can control the web booking with choosing what times are available to book, what preferences the guest can make etc. If there are no available times when the guest search for a day and timeframe, they should get an alternative of treatment for that given time so you do not lose the customer. Upsell with add ons, extra product alternatives or additional treatment match afterwards is also possible to work with online.
You should be able to setup an online shop with retail and gift certificates if wanted. Today even Facebook booking is available from some vendors!

Packages “ At a click of a button”
Packages are fantastic – if they work. Expect them to be easy to setup, book, split, change and… PAY!

Need a tool to help you schedule the right amount of therapist the right time, the right day? A dashboard can help you and will let you setup if you want to compare to previous month, last summer months or the last three years in total. You can also include previous statistics on turn aways, if wanted.

Daily goals – “Easy for staff, every day”
You should be able to find a way in the system to easy work with goals, preferably on the schedule book for each day/month etc. Maybe therapist occupancy % or number of treatments booked/day, either way you would like your staff to see this information clearly attached by the appointments or schedule. You should also be able to use staff profiles with annual goals, follow up plans and commission reports!

Guest profiles and history – “Always be one step ahead.”
Make sure that you know your guest; for every time she visit you know something more about her that you can use to enhance her next visit. Expect your system to save all purchase history for activities (with resources), retail, correspondence and marketing offers sent. There should be a system for notes written in the right place that pops up at the right time. Preferably there is a separate tool for health forms which the guest can fill in electronically and be saved in guest history.

2Memberships “Customized for every member”
You can expect a system to manage following for you: Member registration, statistics, billing periods, member discounts automatically setup, payment account setup (with electronically signing on invoices), print contracts, lockers/belongings attached, included treatments/activities, freeze periods/bonus periods that updates expiry, member applications for smartphones.

Point of Sale
POS should be easy to use, easy to make changes and should be integrated with your inventory/retail and guest history. Two smaller but very important tips: make sure you are able to move paid bookings and split tip between therapists!

Reports – “Customized”
If you are not satisfied with the standard reports, the system should be able to customize and deliver the report you need to simplify and save time. From some systems it is even possible to get statistics from the interface with the hotel system into the same report as the spa statistics, to show capture ratio for example.
Remember that it always should be possible to convert all reports to Microsoft Office or similar

4Marketing tools – “Let the system sell your business”
If your system includes a detailed guest profile and history sector (it should) then you have lots of information that could easily become tools for marketing and contacting the right guests. Let’s say you wish to boost sales for facial products during summer and want to make a special offer for previous guests. You can then easy pick from the marketing tool: External guests that visited us last summer, bought a facial and purchased at least one facial product. Just by a click you can create your offer/email with a “book now” button (or insert the marketing material) and send by email or textmessage. Simple? Yes! Does not stop there, you will also be able to see who opened the offer and who booked it. This tool could be great to use for segment the members club when you want to reach the right members, or just for your monthly newsletter etc. This tool should also help you communicate on social media, apps and so on.

Gift certificates – “Boost your sales”
Sell tailor-made gift certificates with different templates directly from your system (setup for instance birthday-template, wedding-temple, thank you-template) AND directly from your website that they print themselves. You can just imagine how sales will increase once the certificates are just a click away…

Interfaces – “Integrated, not isolated”
Get your spa software system interfaced with not only your hotel system, but your finical/accounting system, payment devices, online reservations, Ipads for health assessments or spa menus, member apps for smartphones, check-in kiosks, hotel TV’s for marketing… Do not forget that there are also options for multi properties with centralized management and guest profiles.

Ongoing updates, free of charge is something you should expect.

Support – “We assist you 24/7”
You should be able to reach the support team 24/7 and the support should be easy to understand. Preferably you should be able to watch online videos with instructions for common questions/issues.

Cannot say this to many times: learn to love your spa software, know it in and out and you will save bunch of time and use a major resource you have invested in. No exceptions! Stay tuned for part 3, which will give you more input in how to compare the different companies you are choosing from!


Surviving the winter

Stockholm has been freezing cold for the past weeks…and we have more snow than we have had in a long time… A 10 minutes’ walk from our office (in the center of Stockholm) we have Djurgården; a large area with fields, forests and the archipelago just around the corner and this time of the year Djurgården is filled with cross country skiiers, skating around the island almost in the middle of the city…

Although the sunny winter days may be a bliss, we also struggle with the darkness and consequenses of the cold temperatures. A lot of Scandinavians suffer from bad colds and the flu this time of the year. So what is our best health tips to survive this time of the year and stay healthy, happy and energized?

Anna’s best tip is to:

“I use Vitamin D, healthy food, out cross country skiing in nature, great skin care suitable for really cold climates and make sure to get my sleep”.

Josefin’s routine includes a lot of movement:

“To survive during these cold winters I need to keep my body active, so exercising and movement is the key. I try to use saunas, hot baths and take massages as often as possible, to keep up the circulation. To protect my face I am very fond of enzyme peelings and oil based serums that lasts and moisturizes all day long. And also very important, I take supplements for vitamin D, eat warm cooked food and drink a lot of tea”

Maria’s tips:

“I wouldn’t survive the winters here in the north without my own sauna, I go to the sauna at least 3 times a week and I believe this routine is my “health insurance”, (or as a Finnish person I like to think that the sauna is the solution to everything….) I also like to do yoga in heated rooms, not necessary Hot as in Bikram Yoga, I prefer a more moderate approach, but doing yoga in a warm room feels so much more gentle for the body. I believe these two detoxification procedures keeps me going through the dark and cold season!”

Happy winter time from the Rde Team!

maria winter

Our favorites products!

Another year has passed by, faster than ever…even during this year we have continued to search for the perfect skin care brand… we have tested new brands, brands that are not yet launched on the market, we have tested brands that have reformulated their products and we have tested “good old friends”… Among all the products we have of course found some products with “that little extra”. Here are our absolute favorite products from 2012:

JosefinJosefin, Executive coordinator / Course manager

Undaria Algae Oil – Osea

“Just by having a peek at it in my bathroom tempts me to use this lovely body oil described like “the healing power of the sea”. I use it as much as I can: in the morning, after shower, in the shower, for cupping & massage and sometimes before bed just to have a moment for myself. As you can hear, I love it! Makes my skin baby soft and repaired, radiant glowing and also improves skin and cellulites. What more can you wish for? The scent of sea minerals, acai and passionfruit…”

Enzyme Peel mask + Self tan – Organic Pharmacy

“This combination has truly saved my skin throughout the year. The enzyme peeling transforms the skin immediately to a soft, pearly surface but it makes my Nordic, already fair skin even brighter – then the natural self tan comes in and creates a perfect mild, sun kissed and radiant result. Fantastic combo”!

Anna, owner of Raison d’Etre

“Medik8 – this is overall one of the few more medical skin care brands that actually produces a result. The Beta Mask Clay is a favorite and the Pretox Eyelift actually feels as it is lifting and reduces line.Photo Mark Earthy   COPYRIGHT © Photographer Mark Earthy.WWW.PHOTOGRAPHER.SE

OSEA – I have been in love with OSEA since the first time I tried it 2004. Jenifer Palmer, the founder, operates the company with such high ethics and the products are, and has always been very result oriented. Their red seaweed wrap is the best wrap I have ever tried”.

Isabella, Training Director

“First of all I have really enjoyed testing Jurlique, I just love to apply them, the products feel nourishing, fresh and has a subtle scent, so it will be great to work more closely with the brand during this coming year!

Subtle Energies

Old time favorite, Indian magic from Australia. Subtle energies has the very best massage oils that I tried and I am just hoping that they will eventually launch a massage butter…”Photo Mark Earthy   COPYRIGHT © Photographer Mark Earthy.WWW.PHOTOGRAPHER.SE

Massage butters – VS Massage oils

Lately there is a lot of massage butters available on the market and I just simply prefer them to the extent that I don’t even like to give professional massage with oils anymore, maybe a gentle longstroking aroma as an exception.

The butters, if they are coconut based are far more effective as the therapists strokes get closer to the body that they are working on, the friction and overall contact increases, some oils, specially sesame oil based, the therapist is just skyskating on tp of the skin, never being able to create friction or even feeling what is going on beyond the connective tissue.

MariaMaria, Project Manager

Luxsit – Enrich Magic Moisturizing Facial Mask

“I have during the year had the privilege to work closely with the Swedish skin care brand; Luxsit. I have developed facials for the brand and it has been an enjoyable work. Some of my top favorite products are yet only available in the actual treatments, as professional products, among them they have a magical enzyme peeling and a cooling and deeply hydrating mask!

But my number one favorite product is the nourishing “Cinderella face mask” – the Enrich Magic Moisturizing Facial, a nourishing, creamy mask that makes your skin glow. It is perfect for the cold and dry Nordic climate and has saved my skin this winter!”

Postcard from Bali

Bella BaliHi,

Shopping, shopping shopping in Seminyak after spending time at the silent island Gili Air.

In need of a massage Jill recommended Jari Menari on JL Raya Basangkasa

Jari Menari means dancing finger, the place is a simple and cozy located in the heart of Seminyak’s shopping district.

Surprised to find only male massage therapists working, but yes they do know how to give a great massage, the place offer massage classes every week which I found very innovating – not only get massage, but learn how to do it!

See you soon and Happy New Year!


Preview on Raison d’Etres Spa Management Online Course

Online educations have become very popular and offers you a different way of studying. Many people wonder if it will suit them to study online and are not yet comfortable with to interact with a computer instead of teachers in a classroom…

So, why study online?
You can study whenever you want, wherever you want and you can watch the online lectures how many times you wish. This actually creates a more tailor-made course after your needs since you choose where to put your own time and focus. The course can be taken even if you are working full-time or travelling a lot and the support is not limited to a classroom, because it is simply just: online.  Isn’t that just great?

In our Spa Management Online Course we work with close and personal contact with all participants during the whole course. Our purpose is easy: to help people become successful spa managers.

To get a better understanding and feeling of what it is like to take the online course, I will show you a preview of our introduction module. Enjoy!

Contact me on for more information.


Retail management for spas is crucial but seldom done well….

Retail is an absolutely vital part of a successful spa operation. In many cases it can be the difference between generating a profit or sustaining a loss.

Today, spa retail revenue on average generates 5-25% of total spa revenue but represents 20-25% of total profit. Therefore, it is clear that by increasing retail revenue there can be a huge effect on overall spa profitability. Every spa operation today needs to evaluate their retail operations to ensure that they are fully maximizing their retail revenue/profitability potential.

SHOP COMMUNICATION is something we see will be the new “buzz” word for spa retail management – just becuase this is something that we can improve at drastically and it is not that hard to do.

Most buying decisions takes place in the actual shop. Therefore exposure and communication in the shop have significant impact on sales.

Shop communication purposes

  • Communicating the retail range in an attractive manner
  • Provide information on product characteristics
  • Help the customer to make purchasing decisions on their own
  • Controlling the sale of the goods with the highest profitability and turnover
  • Inspiring add on buying
  • Communicate the retail brand


Exposure affects profitability. Products given more space and clear exposures will sell more. The products that you want to sell most of should have prominent positions at the entrance, near the checkout and the “main shopping street”.

Some tips…

Eye tracking– There have been numerous studies to show how our eye is tracking the retail item in terms of packaging design, placement, preferences and search behaviours. Studies have then shown that the eye perceives the most exclusive products to be on the top shelf, and budget/low cost products on the bottom shelf. Research has also shown that the most effective retail display is the ones that include a face and those products that are repeated in display and in an actual product sells better, as customers like to purchase products the feel familiar with.

Guest round – The way your customer “walks” the shop; studies shows that 80% of the customer walks clockwise and that they are most interested in the beginning in the “round”. Further that the customer best sees an item from knee height up to just above eye height. This gives you hints on how to strategically place retail products to encourage flow and minimize “cold” spaces.

First impression – Eye tracking has also shown the crucial importance of first impression, capturing the customer’s interest to explore the shop further. The goal is to inspire and simplify the first impression.

The McCann Group study “The truth about beauty” (great study BTW – you can download from showed that consumers desired in-store experience should include

  1. That they can touch & feel the products
  2. That products are easy to find
  3. Beautifully displayed

So get going with making your spa shops shine!


Ps. The above is part of our Retail chapter from our on-line spa management course. Ds.




Achieving Operational Excellence won’t happen overnight, but it won’t take years or decades either.  There are two major steps that, done correctly in the beginning, will enable us to “jump” to Operational Excellence.  These steps are:

  1. Establishing a destination.
  2. Building a roadmap to that destination.

We spoke about the destination in the last blog post last week, if you haven’t read it, probably a good idea to glance it through! No to the roadmap…

The Roadmap

Once we’ve taught each employee to think the same way about continuous improvement and Operational Excellence, we can start on the more practical side of achieving Operational Excellence by building a roadmap.

Just think of it this way:  companies that know where they are going will simply get there faster, and companies that achieve Operational Excellence will grow their businesses by taking market share – most likely from those who don’t.

The basis for the road map is to obtain consistency, something that the spa business isn’t famous for. In all industries, it takes attention to detail, it takes a combined effort, it takes training, sometimes it takes inspection and testing, and it always takes a real commitment to Quality.

In the Spa industry all of these things are more difficult because we lock our customer in a room with our employee and hope all goes well and our client is happy. Once we have consistency – which is essential service, then we can build excellence.

The three main weapons we have to achieve consistency are:

  1. Standard Operational Procedures
  2. Training
  3. Evaluating & Testing

The cost of poor customer service

The Research Institute of America, which conducted a study for the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, sheds some light on the devastating consequences of poor customer service:

  • The average business will hear nothing from 96% of unhappy customers who receive rude or discourteous treatment.
  • 90% of those who are dissatisfied with the service they receive will not come back or buy again.
  • Each of those unhappy customers will tell their story to at least nine other people, and 13% will relate their tales of woe to over 20 people.
  • For every complaint received, the average company has 26 customers with problems, six of which they consider serious problems.
  • Only 4% of unhappy customers bother to complain. For every complaint you hear, 24 others go un-communicated to your company, but not un-communicated to other potential customers.

So get out there an achieve operational excellence!!!



Achieving Operational Excellence won’t happen overnight, but it won’t take years or decades either.  There are two major steps that, done correctly in the beginning, will enable us to “jump” to Operational Excellence.  These steps are:

  1. Establishing a destination.
  2. Building a roadmap to that destination.

Today we will speak about the destination and the next blog post on Tuesday we will go over the roadmap. Stay tuned!

The destination

Establishing the destination of our efforts is key.  It lets everyone know we are not trying to just get better every day; we are trying to attain a level of performance in the operation where management is no longer needed to tell each employee what to do.  To achieve this, a good destination to set is Operational Excellence.

Operational excellence is when: “Each and every employee can see the flow of value to the customer, and fix that flow before it breaks down.”

This means we want to get our operation to a point where the flow of product has been made so visual that everyone in the operation can see if we are on time to the customer without asking any questions. We also want to make disruptions to the flow visual, too, and then create standard work for abnormal flow conditions that employees can enact when – or even before – flow breaks down.

There are nine questions about continuous improvement that do just this.  These questions are critical to achieving Operational Excellence because they show that there are many “opinions” on why we do continuous improvement instead of one straightforward, solid answer that each employee can understand.  Here are the nine questions.

  • Why do we do continuous improvement?
  • What is the best way to improve?
  • How do we know where to improve?
  • Why do we strive to create flow?
  • What causes the death of flow?
  • What would the spa floor look like if we did everything right?
  • What would the office look like if we did everything right?
  • What would the supply chain look like if we did everything right?
  • Where will our continuous improvement journey take us?

You need to set the destination with your team, there is no pre-set universal destination, each spa is different and the best way to decide upon where you want to go, is to do this together with your team.

Once we’ve set our destination as Operational Excellence and understand what it is, we then need to create the roadmap that will get us there.

Until next time!


My typ 6 spas in the world – Part 1

I often geet asked which are the best spas in the world I have been to. Of course it all depends on what you want to get out of them and the below list is a mixture of destination, city and resort spas, and what they all have in common is that they ambience and energy of the spa is special and transformational combined with excellent well-trained treatments.

Today you will find 3 of the top 6 spas and on Tuesday the remaining 3. Cliffhanger!


Amanpuri was the first Amanhotel built and the spa opened 2001 and just as the rest of the resort, it has that magical feeling. Each treatment room is a villa overlooking the valley and part of the ocean. After your treatment you have a private sala where you can relax and enhance the treatment. Treatments are of course top quality.


Ayurveda is a way of life and a powerful healer, not to be taken lightly as done in many spas. At Jiva spas it is true Ayurveda supervised by a certified Ayurveda Doctor, providing their guests with actual health results. Jiva’s spa concept is 100% Indian, and even the more pampering treatments are true to Indian and rare experience in the spa world.


I love this spa for its cosmopolitan feel, great service, very high quality therapists and great design. To sit and wait for your treatment overlooking all of New York, then experience a personalized treatment in their amazing spa suite and using their superb wet areas to conclude the experience is one way to spend a great day in New York.


Saty tunded for the next 3!


The Practice

During a conversation with some yoginis sitting on a lawn in the middle of Stockholm some reflections surfaced. During the summer there are many Yoga workshops taking place in Sweden and we were talking about the different messages and interpretations of Yoga. How one takes on the practice – do I Yoga to live or do I live to Yoga?

Is my practice serving me or do I get injured? Do I use the practice to become more aware of my body and energy level and can adapt my practice according to the received information? Or do I bring my competitive mind to the mat and race towards achieving the asanas no matter what?

There, on the lawn in the afternoon sun, one of the Yoginis spoke about doing the mountain pose (starting ones practice) with integrity, those words stayed with me during my own practice that evening. To stay soft, focused on my own needs and accomplishments rather than going into achieving and comparing with my status yesterday or my aspirations on tomorrows practice or comparing myself to someone else’s practice in the room.

So I am trying to stay in tune with my breath, here and now, what is needed in the moment and the community in the room.



Shanti shanti


From EWG – Cleansers Hall of Shame

Today I read from EWG newsletter (Einvornmental Working Grouop) about cleaning products from the President Ken Cook, and I though we would just publish the letter on our blog, as one of our goals is to make everyone question and be more aware what we get exposed to every day through food, products and environment.

Happy Reading!


Dear Friend,

Did you know that on average we’re exposed to 126 chemicals through personal care products every day?

This alarming fact made me wonder: what about the cleaning products I use? If my shampoo and deodorant contain that many chemicals, what the heck is in my laundry detergent?

Turns out, most cleaning products don’t even list their ingredients on the label. I had to jump through hoops – going to the website, calling the company – and even then I couldn’t get the full story. So I talked to the research team
at EWG. And they went to work for me – and for you. Next month we’re releasing a new database with more than 2,000 household cleaners ranked on how hazardous their ingredients are and how much information is on their labels.

Our analysis found some startling facts. Many products contain ingredients known to cause asthma or are contaminated with carcinogens. And, maybe even worse than that, lots of products provide little to no ingredient information – leaving you in the dark about what you think is cleaning your home.

“Green” products aren’t necessarily any better. Many of them boast of using ingredients made from plants rather than petroleum – but there’s little or no safety data for some plant-based ingredients. A truly green product should pose few risks to your health and to the environment – and be transparent about what’s in it.

We know that indoor air is sometimes more polluted than outdoor air, so it’s important to know what’s in your cleaning products. Labeling cleaning products isn’t mandatory – as it is for food, personal care products and drugs – but as a consumer, you ought to have that right. You shouldn’t be left in the dark about products you buy and use every day.
I’ve been working to protect consumers from harmful products for almost 20 years now, but what I’ve learned about cleaners shocked me. I hope you’ll take some time to learn the truth about the products you use so you can continue to keep your family safe.


Ken Cook

President, Environmental Working Group