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 January 2019...

Mobile Technology: The Future is Now

Mobile Technology continues to advance at a relentless pace and the hotel industry continues to adapt. Hotel guests have shown a strong preference for mobile self-service - from checking-in/out at a hotel kiosk, to ordering room service, making dinner reservations, booking spa treatments, and managing laundry/dry cleaning services. And they also enjoy the convenience of paying for these services with smart phone mobile payments. In addition, some hotels have adopted a “concierge in your pocket” concept. Through a proprietary hotel app, guests can access useful information such as local entertainment venues, tourist attractions, event calendars, and medical facilities and services. In-room entertainment continues to be a key factor, as guests insist on the capacity to plug in their own mobile devices to customize their entertainment choices. Mobile technology also allows for greater marketing opportunities. For example, many hotels have adopted the use of “push notifications” - sending promotions, discounts and special event messages to guests based on their property location, purchase history, profiles, etc. Near field communication (NFC) technology is also being utilized to support applications such as opening room doors, earning loyalty points, renting a bike, accessing a rental car, and more. Finally, some hotels have adopted more futuristic technology. Robots are in use that have the ability to move between floors to deliver room service requests for all kinds of items - food, beverages, towels, toothbrushes, chargers and snacks. And infrared scanners are being used by housekeeping staff that can detect body heat within a room, alerting staff that the room is occupied and they should come back at a later time. The January Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in this exciting mobile technology space.