What You Should be Aware of Before You Build a Spa

By Casey Olsen Owner, Spa Sources | June 15, 2010

The inclusion of a health spa within your project is almost always a great idea and will definitely offer your property a competitive entity. Certainly, in today's resorts a spa is a must. The business traveler, as well as the vacation or weekend guest now insists on having the ability to experience spa amenities. There have been so many spas built in the past 10 to 15 years, and many have done it well, however, far too many have made costly design errors. I can walk into a spa facility and design errors emanate immediately. The number one issue that is continually overlooked by the architects of record on these projects is flow. It seems that if an architect has not experienced numerous spas first hand, and by experienced, I mean actually have been a guest and used the spa services often, they do not possess the necessary experience that will provide them with all the nuances of what makes a health spa facility a success, from both an aesthetic view and an operational view.

This is why so many developers have contacted our consulting firm for guidance and direction. They understand that spending a few dollars initially on getting a review of drawings from those who have actually run large and successful spas is money well spent. They understand that to do the homework prior to construction may avoid costly design errors in the future.

So, your first step is to find a greatly experienced consultant that has operated and run spas. Personally, I have been brought in on projects following the design process and recommended drastic changes to the drawings so that the owner/developer does not have concentrated operational concerns, as well as, liability issues after opening the facility.

A fast growing arena in the spa realm is the high rise condo market. Most of the newly planned facilities have realized the need to provide a spa for their residents, however, many have underestimated both the size of the facility and the potential to create a unique experience for their property owners. Once again, contacting that consultant that has years of development experience will provide these projects with the appropriate information that applies to this kind of development.

Once the layout of the spa is finalized, your immediate next phase is to acquire FF&E bids from your consultant. Since this industry took off, there have been tremendous advances in all areas of spa equipment, product and amenities, however, buyer beware. Having an assistant in your office go to a trade show and acquire vendor information, is not the best path towards achieving a cost efficient equipping process. From the procurement of linen, uniforms, skin care product, staff uniforms, treatment product and equipment to the pens, pencils, computer scheduling systems, and on and on, there is a wisdom of the industry needed at this phase. And also, there are some consultants, I am sad to say, that take advantage of the developer that is unaware of these costs. In every industry these individuals exist and unfortunately, this is true as well with some spa consultants.

It is advised that the developer have their support staff review and check all pricing recommended by any advisor they may have on the project. Calling the vendors provided by the consultant directly and obtaining their price lists is a good practice and the competent and reliable consultant should welcome this.

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Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.