Finding the Right Spa Partner
By Elaine Fenard Partner & Chief Operating Officer, Europe and U.S., Spatality | February 22, 2010
Spa is being embraced by a broadening spectrum of consumers, growing beyond traditional demographic profiles and target audiences. As a result, the industry has responded with more choice, offering an array of business models and branded spa concepts that address these niche consumer segments. This of course is a boon for hotel owners, developers and operators in terms of identifying the ideal spa solution for a property's amenity platform. It also makes choosing the ideal spa partner a very critical part of the equation.
There are a number of highly qualified individuals and organizations that specialize solely in the industry of spa, so don't be afraid to seek them out for advice and counsel. But let's first identify what "spa partner" actually means. In the field of spa, a partner can mean anything from an individual consultant to a thoroughly developed ready-to-deploy spa brand. A partner might offer franchising, management services, custom brand creation, design, pre-opening, operations, service standards, retail/product mix, training and any combination thereof. Realize that finding the right spa partner necessitates 1) an understanding of the various spa and customer segments and 2) an analysis of which partners provide the best brand alignment, operational support and spa management infrastructure.
Understanding the Market
In an increasingly segmented spa market, having an understanding of how clientele and usage patterns vary will help you identify those segments which best supports your specific spa objectives. Identifying the appropriate segment for your property will help you choose a spa partner that is experienced in that particular segment, creating a more focused analysis. This overview provides a glimpse at the primary spa segments, although it's important to note that new segments and even hybrid spa programs emerge constantly; keep this in mind if your situation doesn't easily fit within one of these primary segments.