Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Smith

Deborah Smith

Principal, Smith Club & Spa Specialists, USA

Deborah Smith is a native New Yorker with a Masters degree in Business Administration and Bachelor of Arts degree from Tufts University. She has completed graduate coursework at New York University in education and therapeutic recreation. Ms. Smith began her career in the advertising industry as an account executive for a major Procter & Gamble brand. Her first job in the spa industry was as executive assistant to the Deborah Szekely, owner of the Golden Door and Rancho la Puerta resorts. Prior to founding Smith Club & Spa Specialists in 2000, Ms. Smith served in a variety of top management and development roles in the spa and hospitality industry in positions such as National Marketing Director, Spa Director, Club General Manager, and Vice President of Business Development. Her consultancy, Smith Club & Spa Specialists, has provided project assistance to over 100 clients in commercial real estate development, asset management, spa and hotel operations. The firm's specialty is branding and business planning, conceptual development and program design, and operational audits. She served on the Board of Directors of ISPA (the International Spa Association) and as Treasurer/CFO for BANA (Balneology Association of North America), a California non-profit dedicated to education, research, and information about natural mineral springs in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. Ms. Smith earned a CMC in management consulting in 2011. This professional certification meets the stringent global standards of ISO/IEC 17024 and signifies the highest standards of knowledge, competence, and ethics. In her spare time she is an outdoors enthusiast and teaches Spa Marketing & Branding for the University of California/Irvine in its Spa & Hospitality Management professional certification program.

Ms. Smith can be contacted at 970-927-1549 or spasmith@comcast.net

Coming up in July 2019...

Hotel Spa: Pursuing Distinction

The Wellness Movement continues to evolve and hotel spas continue to innovate in order to keep pace. Fueled by intense competition within the industry, hotel spas are seeking creative ways to differentiate themselves in the market. An increasing number of customers are searching for very specific, niche treatments that address their particular health concerns and, as a result, some leading spas have achieved distinction by offering only one specialized treatment. Meditation and mindfulness practices are becoming increasingly mainstream as are alternative treatments and therapies, such as Ayurvedic therapies, Reiki, energy work and salt therapy. Some spas specialize in stress management and offer lifestyle coaching sessions as part of their program.  Other spas are fully embracing new technologies as a way to differentiate themselves, such as providing wearable devices that track health and fitness biomarkers, or robots programmed with artificial intelligence to control spa environments, or virtual reality add-ons that transport guests to relaxing places around the world. Some spas have chosen to specialize in medical procedures such as liposuction, laser skin therapy, phototherapy facials, Botox and facial fillers, acupuncture and permanent hair removal, in addition to cosmetic body shaping procedures and  teeth whitening treatments. Similarly, other spas are offering comprehensive health check-ups and counseling services for those who are interested in disease prevention treatments. Finally, as hotel spas continue to become more diverse, accessible and specialized, there is a growing demand for health professionals with a specific area of expertise. There is a proliferation of top class, quality wellness practitioners who make a name for themselves by offering their services around the globe, including athletes, chefs, doctors, physical trainers and weight loss specialists. The July issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these trends and developments and examine how some hotel spas are integrating them into their operations.