Vendors Forge Strategic Partnerships with Spas

Much like department store's and the brands they represent, vendors are deepening the relationship with spa properties. Product and eqipment vendors are offering deep discounts and an array of value-adden services--wooing the larger pcompanies for coveted 'preferred vendor' status.

In an attempt to lower the 'transaction costs' involved in procuring product, large hospitality companies and day spa chains are developing preferred vendor programs. Preferred vendor status means that chains and management companies will 'recommend' certain vendors to the properties they represent, with the understanding they will receive the best quality and price.

In general, the fewer vendors a spa deals with, the more money it saves. Preferred vendors programs will include select skincare, spa equipment, and operating suppy companies. Each will be pre-qualified by product offering, price, service, and lead time.

Consultants are also joining preferred vendor networks such as Avendra, the online procurement web site designed by Marriott, Hyatt, and Bass Hotels (Holiday Inn). The Avendra network recently chose Spa Concepts International, Health Fitness Dynamics, Blu Spas, and Sylvia Planning and Design as 'preferred vendors' for their hotel procurement network.

In some cases, large cosmetic companies are investing in spas. The Shiseido Co., Ltd., Asia's leading cosmetics company Shiseido, acquired a 40% share of Mandara Spa's worldwide operations last year--the first time an international cosmetics company has made a major investment in a spa company.

Thomas Gottlieb, President and Chief Executive Officer of Mandara Spa announced, 'Shiseido is a familiar and trusted brand internationally and brings us financial resources, management expertise and industry knowledge. As a marketing partner, they can help us leverage recognition of the Mandara Spa brand. We will be aggressive in developing affinity programs with Shiseido.' One of the first initiatives was to place Decleor (owned by Shiseido) into Mandara Spas.