Studying Spa Management while living in Seychelles…

SusieQOur third Spa Management Online Course, for this year, is currently running. We took the opportunity to talk to one of the students. Let’s meet Susana Queirós, who is currently managing a spa in the Seychelles and at the same time she is participating in Raison d’Etre’s Spa Management Online program.

RDE: Susana, where are you currently based and what is your current position? S: I am currently working in Seychelles, in Desroches Island Lodge, presently managing Escape SPA, a beautiful and peaceful piece of Paradise in the Indian Ocean.

RDE: Why did you choose Raison d’Etre Online Spa Management Program? S: Being in such a remote destination and with limited access to the internet I was looking for an online school that would give the opportunity to join the online training, but at the same time being able to have a flexible schedule as the operation of the hotel and a hotel spa is constantly changing. The Raison d’Etre blog and the website gave me all the information that I needed about the course contents. The contact that I had with Josefin, the Course Manager, also made everything extremely easy and accessible.

RDE: You started the course a while ago, how was the start? S: All the way from the start it has been a pleasure to do this training, especially because all provided material is so complete and all the videos and lectures are enthusiastic.

RDE: How do you find the course so far? S: Perfect. After being in the SPA industry for almost 10 years now and being a spa manager for more than 3 years, this course brought knowledge and new specific fields to me. This will enable me to improve my routines and operations and be a great help in the future.

RDE: Which subject are you working on currently? S: I am going through the last module right now, which is the business plan.

RDE: When do you normally study, watch the lectures (videos) etc? S: As I am working and we have a busy hotel,  I only find time to study in the evenings after work.

RDE: What subjects / areas are you mostly looking forward to study during the course? S: My favourite modules were Finance and HR, both of them bringing a lot of new knowledge to my operations, as well as new routines to be established to help in my daily work.

RDE: Do you have any advice to those who are considering participating in this course? S: Even if you do have a tight schedule and think that you don’t have time for the training, the flexible schedule makes it possible to do the course any way. I strongly recommend this online training.

Thank you Susana and good luck with your Business Plan and final part of the course!

PS We have one more course running this year, please contact Josefin Rooth, Education Manager for more information. smc@raisondetrespas.com

Inspirational Leadership Video – Good is the enemy of great

Today we just want to  launch our next inpirational video and share some words from our Managing Director Annika Jackson. Enjoy!

Ps. We have few places left for the Spa Management Program Nov 17th!
Email your interest to: smc@rdespas.com

Spa Managers – time to slow down?

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: smc@raisondetrespas.com

Warmly Welcome!
And have a peek:

smc 1

 

The Power of Three

The formula for creating inspiring mission statementsP1000280 - Version 2

We can’t deny that religious and spiritual beliefs are the foundation of, if not all then most cultures on this planet. There is something about religion or spirituality that resonates with us at a level that goes beyond concept, to how we experience this world – consciously or unconsciously.

Why do they have such a hold over us? In times of stress or danger we are inadvertently drawn to seek some higher power to help us out – be it God or Mummy. And when we do feel those moments of spontaneous gratitude, we still need something to focus it on.

Next time you are at a friend’s home, take a look around to see if you can’t find something that smacks of an altar – even if they don’t think it is. A photo frame positioned in a place of honour, a small group of items, lovingly placed in a special space, a funky pink plastic Buddha statue sitting on a window still.

So, what is the one thing that all religions, spiritual and philosophical, even some psychological, theories and beliefs have in common?

All are founded on a trinity. Buddha, Dharma & Sangha; God, Son and Holy Spirit; Mind, Body, Spirit; Osiris, Isis, Horus; Light, Truth, Path…… in fact we would probably find that most things that have some kind of power over us, or the power to influence us, will at their heart, be based on a trinity. Because all true trinities express the formula of creation. Being the created and part of creation, it is this formula that is at the centre of who we are. And this formula, when perceived consciously or unconsciously, has the power to touch us deeply, no matter which culture, religious background or belief system we subscribe to. And no matter whether it is presented to us in the context or religion or spirituality or from a cultural or even materialistic point of view. We are creators in our own right and we know it deep down. We are happiest when we are creative. And I’m not only talking about music, painting, arts, but everything that allows us to express ourselves. Think too, that all true creativity is of benefit to others in some way. We can be creative listeners, creative when creating spread-sheets, in the kitchen, the garden …. Everything.

Buddhists believe that all phenomena are an assembly of three dimensions. The outer, the inner and the hidden. Part of the hidden dimension of humankind is the ability to create. And the formula of creation is simple: You have a source (represented by God, Buddha, Spirit, Soul, Light), you have a dynamic (Truth, Holy Spirit, Mind, Dharma) and you have the manifestation (Christ, Body, Sangha, the Path).  Source, Dynamic, Manifestation. Mind, Body, Spirit should really by Spirit, Mind, Body by the way. But then, ego will always put itself first when it can.

So, now we come to mission statements. Aren’t we in effect creating a belief system when we create a mission statement for a spa or a business? We move into the hidden dimension and with that the source of everything that is created or made manifest after. Amanresorts, whom so many have tried to copy, have at its heart a very powerful mission statement based on three simple values. Unfortunately it’s a secret, which makes it all the more powerful. But it works. However, most people attempt to copy the manifestation, rather then understand the source and so any attempt to copy becomes just that, a copy.

But when you truly understand the hidden aspect of a thing, the essence, the source, in that moment you make it your own. And in that moment it becomes unique.

I was recently working on a spa, which had as its root the value: ‘to nourish’. It works on so many different levels. The design should nourish the guest through the spa journey. We will nourish our staff, to ensure they can preform to the best of their abilities. The spa structure should nourish its environment, rather than being in resistance to it. Add the other two values – ‘to sustain’ and ‘to connect’ and you have a beautiful trinity. One that everybody was able to understand and able to connect to. Whether it was the architects or designers, management, staff, shareholders everybody was able to understand – or was guided to understand – what their role was in the fulfilment of this mission statement for this particular spa.

To nourish, to sustain and to connect become the spa’s mantra, it’s unique aspect as each part of the puzzle fell into place around it. It become a guide and if up-held, will give a simple elegance to the spa as a whole. Everything on some level will be an expression of this trinity and so, everything not only has a place, but harmonizes with everything else, complements it, supports it.

To create a truly an exceptional mission statement is to quite simply find the essence of what is being created. And once you have that, miracles will happen. When you find the essence, you find the flow. The deeper you move into it, the more powerful it becomes. It will influence the kind of people you hire to take care of the spa. It will help you to decide which products to use, which colours to choose, where to place something in the room. And once it is done, people will walk through the spa, feeling that you have created something truly miraculous. Even it if is just a hut on a beach.

Lastly, how do we find our essence, our trinity? It’s actually quite simple. We naturally tend to express it – usually unconsciously. We might pick an image, a logo, to represent the spa, which when contemplated reveals the trinity to us. We might, when reading everything we have written about the spa, keep seeing certain values popping up again and again. Or the name that was chosen, might actually represent the hidden aspect of what we are trying to create. Often it is the most obvious, which suddenly becomes the deepest.

And if it is not obvious because you have been looking at it for too long, then ask. Throw the question out into the universe, sit back, allow yourself to become still and receptive, add a little patience, and I promise you – the answer will come. It always does.

Happy creating!

/Ian

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 spastaff.com, 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

Resources:

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

How do we choose the right Spa Software? Part 3

As confirmed before, it is not easy to make the pick. If you have not read Part 1 and 2, I recommend you to search for them and read them first.

How can we compare the different spa software vendors to each other? In the segments below we compare small vendors to mid-size and big, to show what you can expect from each type of company.

11

22233I hope these three posts have helped you to understand the spa software market a bit more, and remember that it is always important to look upon what you really need for your own facility.

/Josefin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

5Scheduling
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.

1Updates
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!

/Josefin

Spa Management Online Course started today!

Today is the start date for our Spa Management Online Course and we are as always very excited to start and learn more about our participants and what we can do to make them even more successful within Spa Management than they are today.

After the introduction and trends section they begin with the first part of the course which is Marketing & PR lead by course leader Maria Nystedt. She will lead our participants into a strategic way of working with sales, marketing and PR and share the most important things when it comes to marketing specifically for the spa and wellness industry. After video lectures and manuals read, she will guide them through creating their own Spa Marketing Plan.

Marketing Maria

Spa SelctionGood luck to all new participants!

Ps. There is still a chance to join in last minute.

/Josefin

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 smc@raisondetrespas.com for more information.

/Josefin

First part done of the Spa Mangement On-line Course!

Participants from all over the world have joined this year’s course with just one purpose; to become successful within their spa management.  It is fantastic that we have reached out to so many people and we are really glad to be able to coach and inspire for the future of spa management! We are also very thankful for the inspiration and motivation we get back from our participants.

The very first module of the course contained finance and the participants have sent in their first draft of their own profit & lost statement. For some this was simple already driving a business and updating their current P&L, but for other this is a brand new world. Just before the course started I got the question: “Why does your course start with finance, since all other spa management educations does not?” That was a good question, and we find it beneficial to start with this module because that reflects exactly how it works in the real world. You will always have to go back to your budget when introducing a new treatment, updating your shop area or taking your staff on spa workshops..

When the course is online, you choose where to study. This is one of my favorite places for reading – The Quiet Room at Grand Hôtel Nordic Spa & Fitness

When you are aware on where you stand and where you are going – you can achieve anything. I often meet people working in the industry that are not interested in the finance parts, at all. Some people don’t believe it is possible to focus on the hard skills together with the soft skills; described as the feeling and passion for wellness, energy and people. I would say that is not true at all, you should be really lucky if you already have the soft skills (that are harder to learn) but there is nothing to stop you from learning the hard skills! Everyone can do it! And if you do you will certainly get more successful and be able to spread your passion and inspiration even further than you can imagine.

We will soon update more information about the next Raison d’Etre Spa Management On-line Course starting February 1st 2013.

Wish you all a wonderful and productive Monday!
/Josefin

The Spa Management dilemma

Around this time last year, I had an idea. We had run our Spa management courses for about 7 years and we are constantly getting queries from students on where they can find and compare spa management educations (such as candidate and bachelor) as well as shorter courses, such as ours, for those already working in the spa business.

We as employers had a huge challenge to find qualified spa managers, and so had all my colleagues in the business. And the ones that actually did graduate did not have the skillset that the industry want to hire.

Confused yet? You should be. Basically we are all over the place, as educational institutes, students and also the industry.

It had been lingering in my head for a long time that we have to do something about the spa management challenge, as spa managers are essentially those who build our future.

Beautiful Aspen

Beautiful Aspen

So we commissioned a study via the Global Spa & Wellness Summit (GSWS), where I happened to be on the board and we presented the result this week in Aspen,

In short (the long version can soon be downloaded at www.globalspaandwellnessummit.org )

a)    educational institutes are not educating the spa managers that the industry wants to hire

b)   the industry is not investing in the spa managers they already have, and therefore many of today’s spa managers do not have the tools to lead a successful and profitable spa

The industry has a lot of responsibility in this, we have to communicate with the educational institutes and tell them what core competencies that we want them to educate in.

As Dave Ramsay says “ we can either chose to educate our staff and risk looking them OR keep them dumb and slow” – we as an industry has chosen the latter.

We had a very productive round table discussion about this, that I led and we agreed to that it is now time for the industry to step up to the plate, and although I promised myself that I would not take on a leading role in this (it took quite some time to get this research together with SRI International….), I found myself passionately saying that I would head the initiative up.

I hope that we will in one year have a website where students can find all spa management educations and courses, that we have a set of core competencies that we are all educating in and that we have an active industry where we are communicating with students and educational institutes

Stay tuned and I will keep you posted on new advancement as we go along!

 

//Anna

There is no Plan(et) B…..

The Global Spa & Wellness Summit is right now taking place at the Aspen Institute in the US. I am one of the founding board members and have been to each one since the start 7 years ago. It is an amazing event, and this year is unparalleled.

I will give you some insight to what is happening the coming days and weeks. Today will be perhaps not the most uplifting brief, but no doubt a wake up call!

The first day was about innovation and also talking about how the world as we know it is changing. As Costa Rica’s former president Jose Maria Figueres Olsen said – there is no Planet B, we have no second chance, we need to act now. What we are currently doing, he said, is re-arranging the deck chairs on Titanic….

An equally grim picture came from Philippe Bourgingon. Who said that the economy and growth that we have experienced since World War II is coming to an end, the consumption led as well as the export led economy are dying. We have been living above our means, the current lack of consumption is pushing countries to debt and the western methods to correct this do not work any longer. This recover is the worst recover of the last 11 crisis recoveries. What we are doing right now is giving the economies pain killers, takes away some of the symptoms but does not cure the root cause….

So what do we do?

Innovate and imagine!

Former US Chief Surgeon, Dr Richard Carmona talked about – among others – that he got an advice from Senator Kennedy when he took the position “when you enter Washington, bring a dog, this will be your only friend”…

He also spoke about that the world today is delivering a “sick care” system and not a “health care” system. 2 of our 7 billion inhabitants on the planet is living on less than USD 1/day. That the declining state of our environment is directly linked with many of the diseases today, such as for example asthma.

The good thing is that what science has found is that 3 our of 4 people do not need to be in the hospitals if it wasn’t for our behavioral problem we are showing. Food, drugs, domestic violence, life style etc. is what in 75% of the cases pushes us into the sick care system.

This is good news! We can do something about it – wellness and spas play a very important part here!

Well, that was the wake up call! Tomorrow I will speak about what John Kao (innovation activist) and Ted Souder (Google) said. That will make you happy again!

//Anna

Ps. Ted SOuder from Goole congratulated the very innovative idea to give out our LivNordic bath brushes to market our new brand! Ds.