On Course for Success
Since its debut in March 2002, The Spa at Pinehurst (NC), located on the grounds of the historic Pinehurst Resort, has been a mecca for both sports aficionados needing rejuvenation following a day on the famous greens and those who simply have a penchant for pampering. “Our menu of services was created with both spa connoisseurs and athletes in mind and includes several massage services designed to help with athletic recovery,” explains spa director Jennifer Reid.
Thankfully, there is plenty of room—and options—for all. The 31,000-square-foot spa features 28 treatment rooms; two private suites; a full-service hair and nail salon; a fitness center; private steam, sauna, and hot tub areas; and an indoor three-lane lap pool. The spa has continued to evolve and thrive since opening in March 2002, thanks to meaningful treatments, an exceptional staff, and constant creativity, among the highlights being the recently debuted Heart of the Pines ($185, 80 minutes). The unique massage includes a dry-brush exfoliation followed by all-over light tapping using locally gathered fresh long-leaf pine bundles. All this and more has resulted in steady revenue growth and a healthy profit margin that has increased 10 percent in the last seven years. Here, Reid shares the secrets of the spa’s ongoing success and explains why the spa is on par for a fabulous future.
Why has The Spa at Pinehurst continued to succeed?
A. We have made it a priority to maintain a consistent standard of luxury through some cyclical changes in demand, and throughout it all, we have leveraged our “classicism” as a point of difference. Because we are a destination resort, we are on the top-10 lists of many world travelers, and because of our close proximity to several major cities, we are also in a unique position to be able to offer a world-class standard of service and experience to a loyal regional and local following.
How has the spa evolved over the years to stay current?
A. Prior to 2012, the spa focused primarily on keeping current via fitness trends and by active participation in charitable events. In the last two years, the focus has switched to a complete revamp in protocol, backbar, and retail lines so that the spa now offers an extensive lineup of luxurious and unique treatments that utilize green, sustainable products made in the U.S.
What do you do to keep your offerings fresh and current?
A. I keep an eye on what is going on industry wide, attend conferences and industry events whenever possible, and try to stay on top of trends in travel and hospitality. I also regularly ask my staff for input and ideas. Several creative heads are much better than one, and you never know when or where the next great inspiration might pop up. The key is staying open-minded to the possibilities.
Why do you think your business has been able to succeed where others have failed?
A. Several factors play into our success; clearly, being part of a large, iconic golf resort is helpful. We actively partner with Pinehurst Country Club, whose members are frequent patrons of the spa and who also make up a substantial component of our local business. I also make every effort to take good care of my staff. As the old saying goes, “You are only as good as your people.” I have fantastic people, and they are a huge part of our success here.
How do you attract new and repeat clients and encourage them to visit?
A. We offer a variety of promotions to locals, host regular vendors and partner events for the public, offer a Wellness Education Series of lectures throughout the year, actively advertise specials on SpaFinder Wellness 365, and probably most importantly, are constantly evaluating how effective these programs are in improving our bottom line.
How do you use digital marketing and social media to boost business?
A. We have a strong presence on the resort’s website and work very closely with our marketing department to keep information up to date. We advertise classes, such as our Sunrise Yoga, and any upcoming events on hotel reader boards as well as the local paper. We have even done contests on Facebook, including a “Tell Us Your Worst Ever Valentine’s Day Story.” Every few weeks, I also write a spa blog, aimed primarily at golfers, for the Pinehurst website. The blog is then promoted through all of our social media channels.
What steps and cost-cutting measures do you use to keep the spa financially successful?
A. Because we do not want to cut corners on the quality of our backbar, we in turn have to be very careful with managing it. We do pre-portioning with almost all of our services and have one supervisor who oversees the majority of the purchasing so we are not overlapping or over ordering. One of the ways we better manage our skincare backbar is to give each esthetician a set of inexpensive, reusable plastic palettes to use in services. This allows them to easily and quickly portion out and use product in a way that keeps the flow of the service going and also helps us to minimize waste. We also actively monitor our linen usage and are continuously looking for ways to streamline linen use in our protocols.
What have you learned from surviving the recent recession, and how do you plan to incorporate those lessons in the future?
A. Probably the biggest lesson is that you can’t rest on your laurels. The spa world is always changing, and even in a place like Pinehurst, where we value our traditions, it is absolutely vital that the spa experience for our guests is not just about luxury but is also about discovery and delight. I am always looking for a fresh perspective, but ultimately, I only incorporate “the next big thing” if it truly make sense for who we are and what is of value to our guests.—Compiled by Julie Keller Callaghan