An escape from the outside world, spas are a place where people retreat to relax, recover, and unwind. Designing and opening a new spa is an enormous project, so it is important to have a clear vision of the space you want to create. Here to help, senior project manager at global spa consulting company, Raison d’Etre, Ian Bell, is sharing some of his tips and tricks to help new spa owners and developers along the way.
- Create a clear concept of what the spa is about and why it is being created. It’s not about being different or better than your competition, it’s about creating a space that truly reflects what you believe a place of healing and wellbeing should be about. Often you might have a feeling about what that is, but you might not be sure how that could be manifested, which is what a spa consultant would do. A consultancy firm like Raison d'Etre take your feelings, inspirations, and passions and turn them into a workable and feasible creative concept. This starts with understanding your guests and target market and takes you through to what equipment and massage tables to use and which spa products will support the concept. Creating a clear concept for the spa can then be used as a guideline for the architects, interior designers, and other specialists you bring on board. This will ensure consistency in design, service and marketing.
- Ensure you understand the essence of what you want to offer, so that guest and treatment spaces can be created accordingly. For example, how do you want to touch the senses of a guest and why? What are the real health benefits of hot and cold bathing facilities, or why is it important for guests to relax at the end of the treatment? What are the actual benefits of massages and facials? Once you understand the essence, you will find it easier to make space for the things that are important to the guest journey through the spa and you can be creative in doing so. Understanding the essence creates lasting experiences that have guests coming back for more. When you just focus on the experience, you may only be creating a fleeting fad.
- Decide how much space is needed and find the right balance between back and front of house to make it feasible. Often the back-of-house spaces are ignored, which only affects the efficient running of the spa and the guest experience. For example, if dirty linen has to be carried through changing rooms or reception or if staff do not have direct or easy access to products and equipment, which can delay the time treatment rooms are set up. You need space for the operational aspects of the spa, such as offices and staff areas. A strong operational foundation will make sure the guest experiences the spa journey as a seamless, intuitive flow.
- Choose quality over quantity. Opening a new spa requires commitment; it's expensive, and understandably business owners usually try and reduce costs where possible. However, it is sensible to invest in the best quality equipment you can afford. This will offer guests a better experience and is guaranteed to save you money in the long run.
- Take care of your team. Once the spa has been built, the next most important job is recruiting a creative, innovative, and loyal team. Your staff will become your most important asset and looking after them will reflect in your service and profits. This starts with staff care programs and spaces that reflect the wellbeing concept of your spa so that your therapists can truly walk the walk.