ISPA 2010 Conclusion

By the third day of the ISPA Conference, things feel like they are moving so fast!  This is the last day for the Expo; breakfast was served in the hall at 8am to facilitate early browsers, and there are no morning breakouts to create conflicts.  Those who got onto the floor early were able to get a lot done by 10am, when more crowds started showing up.

I stopped by the booth for Imprint Plus, which is an affordable and eco-sensitive resource for reusable name badges that is new to ISPA, but already has a presence in the hospitality and retail worlds.  Their badges come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and feature a metal back plate, a lens cover, and a clear insert that you customize and print on your own printer using proprietary software.  All you need is a starter kit and you’re good to go, even for small orders.

Kim Matheson, Liz Terry and Kerstin Florian on the show floor

Another new vendor was Neuma, which offers a line of hair care and styling products in 5 different ranges that offer professional performance, but use only renewable, plant-based ingredients, and are also sustainable in their packaging, which is 85% post consumer waste or 100% recycled fiber.

The relaxation area was quite crowded also, with the vendors who were participating reporting sold-out conditions for appointments.  One of the most impressive new introductions was the Murad Inclusive Health Program, which has been designed as a 10-week program to optimal health which can be offered at spas or wellness centers.  This program, 5 years in the making, addresses topical, emotional and internal needs of clients through both services and products.  Participating spas receive a 40-hour training program before offering the 10-week course, which begins with a one-hour client consult.  The client is tested, using proprietary software, and assigned a “wellness score;” then the therapist will design a program for them based on the results, which will incorporate internal supplements, spa services, and physical and mental activities to address emotional self-care.  Each week in the 10-week calendar (chosen because it’s the average time for complete cell turnover) introduces a specific topic such as “Find Balance” or “Love How You Look.”  The client receives coaching through a variety of methods, including excellent written tools that come with the program, visits with their certified Inclusive Health Practitioner, and email updates, and they are tested again at the conclusion of the 10-weeks to chart their progress.  Retail pricing for the program varies by spa.  Murad Inclusive Health President Tracey Sameyah has done a great job creating a method to help all spas get into wellness programming.

Afternoon breakouts included an excellent session by Charles Compton of MARS Solutions entitled “Spa Retail 2010, What’s Changed,” and another terrific customer service presentation by Bryan Williams, “Six Habits of Service Superstars.”  STR’s Jan Freitag and Mandarin Oriental’s Andrew Gibson discussed Spa STAR reports and how to use them; Jim Mathis, a self-proclaimed “reinvention strategist,” conducted a session encourage attendees to think strategically and adjust their business models for the new reality, and Neil Ducoff conducted a Compensation Roundtable, which, given the current challenges in this area, seemed to be sparsely attended.

The late afternoon offered a General Session with noted author Marcus Buckingham (First, Break All The Rules) focused on maximizing personal strengths and understanding the differences between management and leadership, and later in the evening was the annual networking dinner.

The 4th and last day of the conference was a half-day, closing with a General Session Visionary Panel featuring Peter Yesawich, Paul Byrne, Roger Helms and Tory Johnson, all great entrepreneurs and business minds, but I had to leave early and missed it.  If you saw it and have comments, please add them here!