Spa Consultancy Distinctions: How to Match Your Needs
By Jane Segerberg Founder & President, Segerberg Spa Consulting, LLC | October 28, 2008
Working through the maize of spa consultancies is becoming increasingly difficult. The variety of entities offering assistance is expanding, yet the quality of assistance is being diluted.
Why is a qualified consultancy important to your project? You can probably name numerous reasons. In addition to those that you already know, consider the following: The spa Industry has undergone rapid growth. When spas first emerged in the hospitality industry, a resort or hotel was very unique because it had a spa. Soon spas became an "expected item" in resorts and hotels much as swimming pools were expected in the 70's. Currently, the phenomenon has evolved to requiring much more than just "having a spa" to be unique in the market place. It now demands a very unique and compelling spa concept that delivers a high level of service and draws business and attention to the property. What once was a unique feature just by its mere existence, has become fairly mainstream and is now seeking to distinguish itself once again.
Spa travelers have become very savvy spa consumers and expect a high level experience that is inspirational and satisfying. The media, in all forms, exalts the luxurious and one-of-a-kind experiences that are offered at resort and hotel properties. Of all of the types of spa properties in the spa industry, the resort and hotel spa businesses tend to be the most luxurious, chic and high-end. Therefore, there are high expectations amongst consumers for resorts and hotels to have this level of spa on property. Properties that have not maintained up-to-date spas in both program, design and level of service are seeing a decline in business and in attractiveness for their properties. There is currently a major move in the industry amongst the smarter players to vastly improve the level of service, inspiring design and programming in their spas. To understand this process, take a look at the golf industry - - with growth slowing consistently each year, the Professional Golfer's Association of America is focusing on retaining current customers by improving their experience. The association realizes that its core players want quality and improved play. The industry has tried hard to attract new players and realized that it missed a bigger opportunity: getting more rounds out of its most avid golfers. A concerted effort is being made to establish best practices and renovate courses to upgrade play. Much the same is happening in the Spa Industry; lower levels of service and uninspiring spa programs are overlooked by repeat and potential guests. Existing spas will have to upgrade and new spas will need to be well conceived to stay in or enter the game as a major player. The International Spa Association realizes this phenomenon and has instituted several educational manuals and certifications for spa personnel as well as currently developing a set of "best practices" for spas.
Since numerous spas have been developed over the last decade and a half, there are many ideas and designs floating in the field that may be quality or non-quality. As a result there is an influx of entities offering consulting assistance that ranges from a recycling of ideas that don't work well operationally to creative solutions based on well-founded knowledge. It is definitely a period of time for the buyer to beware.
The tendency of ownership and management to minimize the number of people involved may appear to save initial costs, when, in reality this line of thinking costs more in dollars spent on the project and loses dollars in profit.
The needs for spa consultants will vary with each project. The undertaking may be a new build, a renovation, an interim management or a trouble shooting project. Requisites for the project will probably fall within the following ranges: