Swedish Classic Massage celebrates 200 years!

The Swedish gymnast Per Henrik Ling is called the “father of Swedish Classic Massage”  from when he opened the Royal Gymnasium Institute in Stockholm – 1813, 200 years ago. He developed his own comprehensive system of athleticism and treatments – Swedish gymnastics and massage, to stimulate blood circulation, strengthen the muscles and create a better balance between bones and muscle tissue.

massage 1Ling’s system was fast spread over Europe and the popular treatment method was one of the greatest exports from Sweden under the nineteenth century. Students arrived to Sweden from different parts of the world to learn and then started their own practice in their home countries and both the methods and literature was spread early and translated into several languages. Many of the international expressions within manual therapy and massage came from Ling’s followers, such as “medicina gymnastica”, “therapeutic manipulation” and “kinesitherapie”.  Note that these were published in the beginning of the nineteenth century, long before the establishment of other western manual therapies (such as osteopathy, chiropractic and orthopedic manual therapy.)

At our LivNordic Spa in Stockholm, this treatment is of course the most popular one and our Swedish Training Director, Isabella dos Santos, has developed the basic techniques further, to create an exceptional massage – unique for Raison d’Etre and LivNordic.

Wall inscriptionlabout Swedish Classic Massage at LivNoric Spa in Stockholm.

Wall inscription about Swedish Classic Massage at our LivNordic Spa in Stockholm.

Swedish Classic Massage (or actually just ‘Classic Massage’ as we say in Sweden) has definitely been a source of inspiration for most of the western massage techniques and is still one of the most popular treatments booked in the world. So, why do not do as we do, go ahead and find a place near to enjoy a Swedish Classic Massage and celebrate the 200 years anniversary with us!

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

Skin supplies for the spring season

Even though there are some (but not many) advantages of cold weather; for your skin it is torture.  Harsh winter winds and dry, hot indoor climate often leaves your skin dehydrated, fed-up, pale and stressed out.

Now when spring has finally arrived to Stockholm and the humid springtime air calls for a change in your beauty regimen! It is time to boost, freshen up and prepare your skin for the summer season. What do we then need to think about? At winter time we normally use heavier moisturizers to compensate for the lack of humidity in the air but as spring arrives many of us can switch to a lighter cream, preferably one with sunscreen already included. The SPF protection should be high if you use a thin layer of your cream (as many of us do) since the thinner you put on the lower the SPF. Start to rejuvenate your flaky skin with a gentle exfoliator to get rid of the dead skin and give your dull face new life. A good eye cream that cools down and reduces puffiness around eyes is also a good investment in allergy-seasons like spring.

I would recommend you to book a facial to get help to remove the toxins that are embedded in the pores and allow fresh oxygen to circulate in the skin. If you seldom treat yourself with facial treatments, this is the perfect time of year to book one. An eyebrow and eyelash tint is also o great investment this season to cut down some makeup and enhance your natural beauty.

Make sure to get rid of old products that have past the expiration date, looks/ smells odd or products that appear dry and crusty. Clean all makeup tools thoroughly.

I thought I would share my highlights on products tested last month that have helped me this spring:
Skin

1. Patyka – Repair Face Cream
This light, fresh and fast absorbing face cream repairs skin and gives a fresh and soft result lasting the whole day. Love it.
2. Dr Burgener – Green Caviar Crème
This is just a fabulous, fabulous, perfect cream to use both day and night. Feels light once applying but is rich in its formula and gives me that perfect surface. Works all by itself and that is rare for a serum/boost/oil lover like me…
3. Subtle Energies – Facial blend
Charming scent, exclusive texture and glowing result is what you get from this tiny oil bottle!
4. Organic Pharmacy – Self Tan
I have mentioned this one before, but it is just the best self tan exsisting. And it is pure and organic.
5. Jurlique – Herbal Recovery Gel
This product is my true skin savior in all times. It is a pure moist gel that repairs, moisturizes and restores my skin, whatever products or climate that might have made damaged to the skin. Perfect for spring and for skin like mine who sometimes gets sensitive.

Happy spring!

/Josefin

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 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

A Spa at a Formula 1 course?

relaxThe Spa Meeting in Abu Dhabi took place in a very cool venue; The Yas Viceroy. The hotel is placed in the middle of a Formula 1 course and just a few weeks ago the yearly race took place here. I could almost feel the energy from the event still swirl in the air…

Arriving to the Yas Viceroy in night time is quite spectacular and it really looks like something that has landed from the outer space. The hotel consists of two buildings and parts of the course (Formula 1 circuit) and they are all  connected and covered by something that looks like a mesh (a LED canopy) and it emits a concert of colors at night time, so the arrival is impressing.

The view from my room was over parts of the Formula 1 course, maybe not so breathtaking and maybe not the most serene place to be in, as there were motorbikes driving in the evenings on the course. However the vibe in the hotel is still cool and kind of funky.

But, what about the spa? The spa was not disturbed by the activities on the course on my visit, however I’m sure you are not able to close out the noise during the actual F1 race, but on the other hand – during the races I’m sure most people are on the grandstand, rather than in the spa…

The spa at Yas Viceroy is operated by ESPA, it is a modern interpretation of the Middle Eastern traditions, it is a chic and urban sanctuary and if you have been to ESPA before you will recognize the design and ambiance. The spa is rather large and consists of has two floors and you have to take the elevator to reach the treatment rooms. The changing and waiting rooms are spacious, it is cosy and quite dark, in some spaces I would say that the lights are almost too dimmed (vanity).

I took the opportunity to book a Hammam treatment as they have a special female-only hammam. The treatment was overall good, some parts were of course tweaked from the traditional Hammam treatments. The results were expected; skin is soft as velvet, and I felt it was a good detoxification after a long flight, I literally rinsed off all stress and worries. My only issue was that the steam generator was quite loud and I would have liked the room and the Hammam table to be somewhat warmer.

After the treatment I emerged into the relaxation room, were one part of the room is facing the Marina with a view on all the luxury yachts. The other part of the realxation room, is a “room in a room”, which is kind of cone shaped. It feels like entering a pyramid and inside it is all white with a large, white round shaped daybed. Lying down you see hundreds of thin cords with a LED light in the end of each cord, displaying different colors. (see picture) The color of the lights changes and you easily drift away as you close the door to the outer world… This relaxation room was a great and unexpected experience…

I also had an aromatherapy massage and I must say the therapist did all those small details, asking me for pressure preference, room temperature, I could also choose the oil I wanted and the therapist also did a small thing that made a big difference for me. She placed a bowl with hot water and some drops of eucalyptus oil in the water, under the headrest. I always tend to get stuffed in my nose while lying on the massage table (even without having a cold) and this way the essential oil actually helped me and (my nose) and I could breathe properly and felt so much more comfortable during the treatment.

So all in all, a good spa experience, even on a Formula 1 course…

//Maria

Wellness Trends 2013 – Part 2

Last week i touched upon the fitness and health & wellness packaged food, this week the second part – enjoy!!

Beauty industry trends

According to Euromonitor consumers wants when it comes to skin care

  • Understand the benefits
  • Buy organic
  • Buy anything labeled “Anti-aging”

The McCann Group conducted 7,249 online interviews, a conjoint study, and 40+ focus groups in 15 global markets resulted in the very interesting “The Truth About Beauty 2012”. Among the findings were

  • 76% believe that the right beauty products makes us look longer
  • Almost 70% of women in Brazil and Mexico consult a beauty blog for tips and advice at least once a month
  • 63% of Chinese women and 55% of Brazilian women change their beauty routines once every couple of months or more.
  • 70% of women globally think that being beautiful helps them get what they want out of life
  • 70% believes that beauty equals happiness (and vice versa!)

The rise of the WHOLE beauty

Women are looking within for beauty. And according to McCann there are four key components that women think about when it comes to building and maintaining their beauty: Foundation Beauty (skin care), Enhancement Beauty (color cosmetic), Wellness Beauty (food sleep, fitness), and Emotional Beauty (confidence, charisma).

The Whole Beauty Ecosystem is a virtual circle; women around the world believe that if they look more beautiful then they will feel healthier and more confident…and if they feel healthy and confident then this will shine through, making them look more physically beautiful.

 

Retail trends

Retail is the spa industry Achilles. We are always struggling with retail sales and motivating the staff to enhance the guest’s result with products (or why not food!).

McCann researched the In-Store experience and found that there were 3 top things to address

  1. Able to touch and feel the items
  2. Easy to find
  3. Beautifully displayed

PKF’s “Future of retail report 2012” shows that “Shopper to Shopper Service” is on the rise – meaning “help me to decide which one to buy!” with brand fans share their expertise and provide one-on-one advice to fellow shoppers.

 

Spa industry tips!

We have identified that the next trend in spa retail is “Shop Communication”. This is not dependent on the individual, but is a strategic system that can be put in place with moderate effort.Most buying decisions takes place in the actual shop. Therefore exposure and communication in the shop have significant impact on sales.

Yet, do not forget the power of one-on-one recommendation and create a forum for your guests to recommend items and treatments to other guests.

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 

HOW?

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 behaviors. 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.

Final words

The future is truly bright, one of Susie Ellis and Spa Finders trends for 2013 is “The healthy hotel & Wellness focused traveller” showing that hotels are more and more focusing on ensuring that their guest keeps well with healthy food, great sleep and spas and fitness to relax and rejuvenate in.

Embrace the shift and be creative, start small, trial and error and slowly grow and success will be around the corner.

//Anna

The ISPA Research and trend session

I was honored to be invited to speak at the general session at ISPA this year, and going around speaking at several events every year, I was truly impressed with their professionalism. Back stage there were make up artists (thank God!), coffee, great technicians that helped with my lost font on my presentation making it look like my 6-year old had made it.

Being a founding board member of the Global Spa & Wellness summit, myself and Mary Tabacchi (professor at Cornell) are responsible for collecting and tailoring the research each year and this was a summary with my analysis.

When it comes to fitness, I only need to say two words 

  1. Personal Training
  2. Functional fitness

And if you are not onto that yet, you need to get on the bandwagon fast.

Health and Wellness packaged food and beverage, there are two new words

  1. Nutroceuticals – which is food and beverage with a purpose, for example “White tea for radiant skin”
  2. Comseceuticals – is a suppment you take for stronger hair, brighter skin etc.

Health & Wellness package food is a USD 680 billion market, 10 times the spa industry and we have a huge opportunity to tap into this market. I found a couple of interesting companies trying to convince the spa market on the Expo, namely Forte Tea and FOHAÅFOH

When it comes to beauty, we find that women are starting to change beauty products more often depending on how well the skin care companies communicate benefits and if it also talks about anti-aging and organic, we are more likely to buy the product.

70% of women believe that beauty = happiness. Hey guys, we are not that complicated, make a woman feel beautiful and we are happy. Simple as that.

Now to the crown jewel. Every year the amazing Susie Ellis releases her top 10 trends for the coming years. The minute they are released they are broadcasted on television, blogs, twitter, magazines and news paper. It is an explosion of Susie’s trends world wide who everyone is talking about. I am not sure if she is spotting a trend or actually creating it, but the truth is that they are very much a reality 12 months later.

Working closely with Susie for the past 7 years on the GSWS board, I asked her if she didn’t want to give me a sneak preview of one of the trends to present – and she did! The trend that she predicts, and I wholeheartedly agree with from our own research, is that the traveler wants WELLNESS when staying at a hotel. Experience is great, but closer to their heart is sleeping really well, eating well, being able to enjoy great fitness offerings to stay fit and simply being well and there are several initiatives that are showing that hotels are catching on. One example is Even hotels www.evenhotels.com Check it out!

A little snippet from ISPA, you will probably hear more the coming weeks, a great event and fantastic people and a whole of sharing.

//Anna

THE ISPA Expo – spa news!

I spent just a bout a whole day, having planned 3-4 hours, I had truly underestimated the expo and the quality of the vendors. And I have to say there were some interesting stuff there…..

LED light therapy – this is called biophotonic technology (comes form NASA as everything else) that you can apply to any part of the body by choosing either 1) Acne, 2) Anti-aging or 3) Aches and pains and you put this on for 30 minutes. Usually when seeing these types of things I just walk passed, but this one was endorsed by people that I trust, so will definitely try this device.

Floating bed or Relaxing swing – it is just a great idea for relaxation areas, however mythought process is that it is much easier and cheaper to build then and there, then purchase and ship it…..

Clarisonic brush – this little brush, only available in the US now, but will go international next year, works wonders for your skin. It cleanses the poores on a deeper, gentle, more effective ways than hands and helps products to penetrate deeper. Again, I heard sooo many recommendations from people on this little device, that this is something I think we will incorporate in our facials for sure!

Living Earthcrafts manicure and pedicure chair – finally!!! A combined manicure and pedicure chair where you can do professional manicures. This means that we can take away the space requiring manicure tables in salons and use this all in one chair instead. Well done Living Earthcrafts!

Sand therapy massage bed – a really cool bed actually with heated sand that you lie on and really relaxes you, while receiving a treatment with poultices and accupressure. Can be used as stand alone relaxation beds or transformed with a foam to a massage bed. Might have to look into this one!

So, great Expo, lots to try, have a whole pile of brochures to go through and see what are gimmicks and what actually works!

//Anna

ISPA conference update!

I am just on my way back from the ISPA conference in Kissemmee/Orlando Florida. Orlando. Once my home for a year (1987) when I was there on a basketball scholarship, and it brought fond memories back and I regretted only staying for 2 nights. The spa event was super professional, great organization, and although it is in essence a US centric event, it has attendees from over 40 countries.

It is set up in a way that there are general sessions for 1.5 hours in the morning, then the expo opens and one can chose to walk the expo or attend the many valuable breakout sessions or why not book a facial at the small mini-spas set up. There is lots of time for network and in the evenings there are myriads of parties and gatherings to join. Some for all, and some by invitation.

What ISPA is really about is networking and I did my fair share of that. After arriving at 6.30pm (00.30 my time in Sweden) I went straight into dinner with some dear friends, Anne McCall from Fairmont, Polly Johnson from SpaEquip and Elaine Fernard from SpaStrategy, who had Moet waiting and we had a great dinner. I was invited to a party at Universal Studios, but after the dinner bed was calling….

Susie Ellis, Deborah Szekely  and Nicki Bryan

Susie Ellis, Deborah Szekely and Nicki Bryan

As we are on the dinner theme, the following night I was invited to the late “Alex Szekely Humanitarian Award dinner”. Alex was taken from us way too early by cancer, and the dinner hosted by his mother Deborah Szekely, 90 years, founder of Rancho la Puerta (a fantastic destination spa), Susie Ellis from Spa Finder and Mary Elisabeth Gilford from Washington Spa Alliances. This was a moving event which showcased the passion and love that is all around us and why we all love working in this industry. People shared fond memories of Alex and experience and great conversations were held. Poker, spa management workforce gaps, the US election debate, the future vision of the spa industry and how we have to evolve in the coming years wear dealt with and I was honored to be part of that. I even sat next to a married couple, who actually met 7 years ago at the same dinner event!

In the next blog post I will tell you a bit what I found walking the expo – some very interesting stuff and also a bit about today’s speech I held at the general session, before whisking off to the airport and back to good old Stockholm.

 

//Anna

Entering a relationship with your therapist?

Looking at a Spa menu there are an array of different treatments – and the question arises, what to choose? What do I want, what do I need and what would be most beneficial in this moment?

Do I choose from my head, sensible choices or from the heart, what do I long for, or do I choose at all?  Do I just pick the dish that I tried before and that I know that I like? Maybe I don’t want any surprises or take any risks?

It’s no news that the most common treatment booked at spas globally is a massage. Not unusual that massages covers 60-70 % of all treatments taken during a month. It’s a human primal need, to get one’s body kneaded, touched and treated. Muscles worked on and a silence mind, yes, that’s what I want – instant relaxation and liberation! But, is a massage always the best remedy?

When creating Grand Hotel Nordic Spa´s latest treatment menu, we got familiar with the latest trends, we looked at different techniques and also on statistics telling us what people ask for in spas. All this information helped us to renew and to make the menu inviting and luxurious and at the same time therapeutic in an attempt to satisfy our guests’ different needs.

When creating our signature massages, we choose to make them long; Giving 2 hours to allow the receiver to really sink into and surrender to the treatment. It’s not only the actual treatment time that is the beneficial ingredient; it’s actually the relaxation in itself that is the healer. The different systems start to adjust after being manipulated. So that’s the reason the therapists asks the guest to rest after the treatment, giving the space and time to allow the body to adjust.

The bottom line – all massages aim is to bring relaxation and balance, but we need different techniques to reach a state of equilibrium. I usually look at different massage techniques/treatments, as music pieces, either they excite us, bring us to a state of deep surrender or just make us calm. The register is endless.

The thought behind our signature massage; Deep Sleep was to induce total relaxation by using slow and meditative movements. Holding limbs and gently rock them to soothe the nervous system, allowing the muscles to let go and become soft and reliant.

When I left massage school I favored tough massages, the harder the better was my motto, but that changed, I no longer want a pain filled deep tissue/trigger point/connective tissue torture power hour and …I don’t want to deliver them either, I don’t believe in them any longer.

So what do I mean by saying; Entering a Relationship with your therapist? Treatments are like relationships, they become deeper and more loving with time, and they deepen and unfold with communication. In my room of memories there are some of funny, loving and successful stories regarding massage and treatments. Some of my clients stayed for a short or a longer period, I got to know them and sometimes we got to know ourselves better through the work explored.

So, the thought floats in my mind…why do we expect that one visit with a massage therapist will be the final fix for our sore muscles? Wouldn’t it be better to regularly make an appointment and work on staying relaxed? As I said; The register is endless…

//Isabella

(Picture borrowed from Six Senses Spas)

Make a woman feel beautiful and she is happy (?) – Part 2

Here is the second part of my recap of latest beauty research, if you didn’t read last weeks post take a look at that one first!

Celebrities

What about all the celebrity endorsement we see everywhere? According to McCann, celebrities increase sales as consumers like the aspiration of a dream and fantasy.

Their research shows that the majority of women around the world still feel either positive or inspired when they look at pictures of beautiful celebrities, and this is particularly pronounced in China (76%) and Mexico (75%). Very few women stipulated that celebrities make them feel depressed or angry.

However, 90% of women globally want the celebrities used in beauty adverts to be famous for something in addition to their looks. 86% of women say that in beauty advertising they like to see a naturally beautiful woman with a few lines on her face.

Retail

Research also shows that women want to touch and test products so having them easily accessible and displayed beautifully will encourage sales more than having them behind a class cabinet. Note this you spas with retail displayes behind glassed in areas!

If brands are to achieve an emotional connection with women, they must understand and reflect the role that beauty plays in women’s lives. This new research provides a great insight into ideas that perhaps can help spas become even more successful.

Thanks McCann Group for this great research and also Euromonitor!

//Anna

Telomeres – the new hot solution to youth?

During the Global Spa & Wellness Summit, we had the opportunity to measure our Telomeres (for free!).

Telomeres you might wonder?? Or you are one of those that has followed the very intense discussions the past year??

Advocates says that Telomeres is the answer to many chornic diseases. And given that 80% of the population at the age 65 has at least one chronic disease this is really good news. Would it be true….

Telomeres are two caps at each end of the chromosomes that we have in each cell (see picture). It is said that if we have long Telemores, we are biologically young (er), and if they are short, we are prone to get diseases.

Telomeres are said to be connected to our mental health (isn’t everything??), and if we are stressed and negative, it immediately leads to shorter Teleomeres. Another interesting observation is that if you are one of those that lets your mind wonder, well then you are more prone to depression.

So how can we lengthen our Teleomeres – not that surprisingly, research says that it is the same thing that we should always practice to be healthy, namely eat Omega 3, exercise, sleep well, have social support and practice mindfulness.

Isn’t it strange how everything is connected – or maybe not, as we are one ecosystem within a larger one. Practice the above, and you don’t have to worry about Telomeres.

I also want to say that there is A LOT of discussions if measuring Telomeres actually is valid, and if so in what way. If you have cancer, for example, then the Telemores are very long on the actual cancer cells. The many pills one today can take to lengthen Telemores should most likely be avoided, as if we are prone to have cancer, then we would help it on its way.

If you want to read more about the good, the bad and the ugly – check out Mark Sissons blog http://www.marksdailyapple.com/the-tall-tail-of-telomeres/#axzz1xaOcGblt  where he has a very good (and long!)  discussion about Telomeres.

I will let you all know my result when I get it in a about 2 months!

//Anna