Intention Key to Successful Spas

Intention was a word heard again and again at the keynote speeches, breakout sessions, roundtables, and hallways at the International Spa Association (ISPA) conference in Las Vegas last month. It seems that intention, or integrity of word, thought, and deed, is finally being recognized as a crucial component of the hard, cold bottom line.

Founder of Canyon Ranch Mel Zuckerman began the conference with a key-note speech entitled "Intention: The Key to the Spa Experience." He invited the audience to ask themselves, "how can you contribute to a higher purpose."

Zuckerman spoke of the media's lack of understanding of the intention of a spa, and their shallow portrayal of the spa industry. "The media defines who we are, what we stand for, and what sets us apart. Spas are viewed as frivolous, indulgent, hedonistic, and we need to help people to not view health as merely the absence of disease, but rather as the condition of individuals that makes possible the highest enjoyment of life."

Keynote speaker J'Amy Owens spoke about the "spirit of intent in retail." She preached respect and intention when selling products and services to customers, insisting that it will improve the bottom line. "Establish trust; ask what they (your customers) want; listen to them, then give it to them." She emphasized that most people are not in the spa business to make money: "Money is an outcome of caring for people."

As the spa industry grows, intention will be the thread that runs through every aspect of spa business. If the intention is simply to "make money," will spas be able to provide customers with a caring spa experience?