Located in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania, Nemacolin (Farmington, PA) has grown to include three hotels, two golf courses, a Wildlife Academy, a private airfield, and more. Woodlands Spa, opened in 1988, features 40 treatment rooms, an indoor pool, whirlpool steam and sauna areas, a mineral bath, and a hot/cold water path and has long been popular among guests. After undergoing a full-scale renovation and design update by Clodagh in 1999, it was later expanded in 2015 and updated again in 2016. In 2014, the property added the Holistic Healing Center, which focuses on offering a holistic approach to wellness. It has four treatment suites, a private yoga and meditation room, a consultation room, and an infrared sauna. A 2019 expansion of the Holistic Healing Center included whole-body cryotherapy, float therapy, and private locker rooms. Here, Katlyn Hatcher, director of spa and wellness, shares how Nemacolin continues to prioritize wellness and is putting training front and center to ensure future success.
To what do you attribute the spa's success?
A. We empower our associates in their roles and fuel their education and growth as individuals. Training and developing career paths for our staff is one of our keys to success. Our average tenure for treatment staff is nine years at Nemacolin. We have an extensive training program internally and externally to keep our therapists developing their skills and passion in their roles. We provide continuing education to all of our staff. The Holistic Healing Center is a more specialized and personalized style of practitioner. This serves as a growth area for associates to continue to learn and develop skills to apply in this more targeted setting. In 2019, we launched a Massage Apprentice program. In this eight-week intensive program, a newly licensed massage therapist can learn all aspects of the spa operation and receive in-depth hands-on training. We have been thrilled to see the dedication and growth and have identified some stand-out new associates through this program. Through mentorship and training, we are developing the future of the Woodlands Spa and Holistic Healing Center for years to come. We are a tight team but must continue to build our future through incorporating new talent. Some other leaders on property joke about our “spa cult,” but I am so very proud of our tight-knit spa cult. We perform 46,000 treatments per year. While we are a large operation, the key to our success is personalized service from the heart. We empower our associates to make decisions to accommodate the guests. We encourage them to do what needs to be done to go above and beyond. As a leadership team, our role is to remove obstacles and provide resources so our team can serve our guests and, in turn, feel fulfilled in their ability to execute at a high level.
What makes the spa stand out from the competition?
A. It’s our highly skilled staff, beautiful natural setting, and unique signature treatments. Nemacolin has a spirit and culture of evolution. There is always something new happening on property. This spirit of innovation, set from our owner Maggie Hardy Knox, inspires us to continue to think big and develop new and better experiences for our guests.
What prompted the addition of the Holistic Healing Center?
A. Alik Minikhanov, our lead acupuncturist, worked at the Woodlands Spa for 18 years. He championed a dedicated space to offer healing therapies and services, a place we could go deeper to address guests’ concerns on their path to wellness. In 2014, we opened the Holistic Healing Center and have grown each year since. We recently completed an exciting expansion of our Holistic Healing Center, adding on new technologies and curated wellness packages to enhance guests’ physical and mental wellbeing. Our new enhancement suite offerings feature body cryotherapy, float therapy, and NovoThor PBM therapy—treatments that are beneficial individually but especially impactful when paired together with therapeutic bodywork. We studied the latest research available and selected these three new modalities based on effectiveness. We have already seen a tremendous guest response.
What have been the biggest challenges in growing the spa?
A. It can be a challenge navigating the varying expectations of our guests. They are looking for different experiences, and we enjoy crafting unique experiences for them. It is important for our associates to understand the guest’s expectations and needs to craft the experience to suit.
How do you attract new and repeat clients and encourage them to visit?
A. We work internally with our reservations and concierge staff to ensure from the time of booking we are mentioning our spa and wellness opportunities. We have developed phone trees, treatment indexes, resources, and weekly hands-on trainings, so they are knowledgeable and helpful to our guests regarding the spa. We utilize seasonal promotions throughout the year to keep things fresh for our repeat guests and continued from page 33 encourage them to come back to try something new. We rely on our vendor partners to provide special promotional gifts with treatments or purchases in the spa boutique to promote a new service or product. Genuinely connecting with our guests in a treatment is the number-one way to ensure they will return.
How do you use digital marketing and social media to boost business?
A. We use geotargeted ads on social media and eblasts to promote new services and specials. We also utilize Facebook to promote specials and events.
How do you keep the treatment menu fresh and relevant?
A. We have menu development teams that are always looking for ways to enhance or develop new treatments. Our practitioners play an active role in shaping future services for guests. Our owner Maggie once told me, “Always listen to your associates, because your associates are listening to your guests.” It’s important to keep that flow of communication open when planning new treatments. The Ritual Facial (starting at $310, 1 hour 50 minutes) was the passion of our skincare supervisor Kim Wright. She wanted to come up with the most decadent and inclusive facial imaginable based on feedback she had received. We came up with a one-hour-and-fifty-minute facial featuring a stimulating back exfoliation, kansa wand massage, 24-karat gold collagen mask, and healing quartz massage. It has it all and has become one of our bestselling treatments. Pushing boundaries is at the heart of the Nemacolin culture, so we are always looking for new, unique experiences for our guests.
What are your plans for the future?
A. In our quest for new and innovative ways to help our guests live well, we are adding new wellness programs and three new treatments with highly advanced equipment scientifically proven to enhance physical and cognitive function: full-body cryotherapy, photobiomodulation (PBM) therapy, and float therapy. Used together, they allow for a full-circuit wellness experience rarely seen outside of a clinical setting, especially within a luxury resort environment.
For more information and an inside look at the resort and spa, check out the Jan/Feb issue of American Spa.