Archive for December 2012

Christmas voucher sales

It’s time to get organised.  The demand for online gift vouchers is very clear.  Blue Spa have put together some  interesting information about the USA market.

  • 20% of gift certificates sold on the SpaBooker platform between August 2011 and August 2012 were purchased online.
  • 37% of gift certificates sold across the SpaBooker platform in 2011 were purchased in December.
  • Over 49% of those gift certificates were sold in the week leading up to Christmas.
  • According to ISPA, 73% of spas have offered at least one gift certificate promotion. Among these spas, revenue generated from gift certificate sales accounted for 14% of total revenue. With a proven ROI, gift certificate specials can only help your business grow.

Sunday Times fast track companies.

www.spabreaks.com hit the number 2 spot in the Sunday Times fast track 100 companies. They receive  600 inquiries a day and send 2,000 people to spa destinations each week. Spa Breaks has sales of £6.8m from 550 hotels in Britain and 100 in mainland Europe.

To get the most out of working with 3rd party websites, make sure you’re making money after the dreaded commission and VAT, Blue Spa www.bsandl.com offers some quick tips;

  • Keep you Spa days fresh, change them every 3 months
  • Produce promotional offers that gives the  perception of value but add very little cost to the package.
  • Invite employees of the 3rd party  website to your spa for the day

When working out your costs make sure you have included

  • VAT
  • Commissions
  • True payroll cost
  • Robes, towels, slippers & treatments towels
  • F&B
  • Welcome drinks & Gifts

Any Spa day with less than a 40-50% margin is just not worth selling, so you have to be creative.


Bridge the gap with Spa and Hotel operations.

Blue Spa and Leisure have teamed up with Flexis Hospitality Solutions who are a experienced team of hotel industry consultants with expertise in managing and operating hotels, restaurants and hospitality businesses. The Spa & hotel  businesses should be linked, but in most operations each department feels that the other speak a different language and we felt we should start to bridge the gap.

Along with Blue Spa who will take care of all the Spa operations, we’ve worked  really well with Flexis Hospitality who offers a range of consultancy and hotel management services for hospitality businesses, including operational support in all disciplines as well as strategic development and investment project management. Flexis supports hotels and hospitality related businesses with :

  • Interim Management : short term multi-discipline management and Head of Department support for hotels and hospitality businesses.
  • Project Management : strategic and tactical support on all aspects of hospitality businesses. This service ranges from new build hotel projects, support in buying a hotel to implementing Property Management Systems.
  • Hotel Management Full Service : Flexis can enter into full property management agreements, to take on the full responsibility for managing a single site or a group of properties.
  • Troubleshooting Projects : investigate ongoing issues and provide consultancy support on how to implement solutions.
  • Management Support in all aspects of hotel operations.

Why The Garage?

It makes total sense to follow on the great history of the building and the area, so when Jeremy Smith the Director of Blue Spa ( www.bsandl.com)  sat with the owners on the first meeting the name was born.

Once Upon A Time…


In rural Teesdale in the North East of England there was an important refueling and resting place for people travelling between London and Glasgow.  Two thousand years later it revs into life again as The GARAGE, an indulgent quintessentially English spa which builds on its historical roots as a place to refresh and recharge.


Chariots and the Horseless Carriage


The current buildings which comprise The Morritt and The Garage Spa are well over 200 years old and were refurbished in the 1920’s to accommodate, refuel and repair the new “Horseless Carriage,” the motorcar. While their proud owners rested overnight at the hotel, the chauffeur would, clean, polish, and prepare his charge ready for the next day’s journey south to London or north over the challenging  Stainmore pass to Carlisle and Scotland.

The concept of the overnight rest at Greta Bridge had long been established.  Through the 17th Century and the rise of the mail coach, Greta Bridge became the second overnight stop for the London to Carlisle coach. At that time there were three inns in Greta Bridge, which included The Morritt, The George, on the bridge on the other side of the river and the New Inn, which is now Thorpe Farm.  Only The Morritt remains as an Inn today.  With the advent of the “horse-less carriage” – the motor car – two of the coaching inns went out of business. A motor repair shop however, also dispensing petrol, was built onto the Morritt and this ensured its survival as a travellers’ resting-place. Horses would have been stabled overnight in “The Garage” with the coach parked up, or the team exchanged to provide a new lease of energy the following day, since the express coaches took just two days to reach Greta Bridge from London.

In 1838, Charles Dickens immortalized his visit by coach to Greta Bridge in The Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby. Going further back, the history is less well chronicled until Roman times. The “Garage” and the adjacent Morritt Country House Hotel are built on the site of a Roman fort, one of a line of forts protecting the key route to the north over the Stainmore pass and guarding the crossing of the River Greta. The chariots would have plied this route and stopped here to rest their horses and riders.  Photographs in the lounge of The Morritt clearly show how the Roman site can be seen today, while pottery and arrowheads found during building excavations can be found in the Bowes Museum.

The association of art with The Morritt is clearly demonstrated today with the unique mural of Dickensian characters in The Dickens Bar.  In 1946 Jack Gilroy, a well-known portrait and landscape artist completed the mural in just 11 days as a favour to Major Morritt whom he also coached as an amateur artist.  Three of Major Morritt’s paintings hang in the hotel today, while Gilroy’s Dickensian faces are said to represent local characters of the time.  In 2012 local artist, Stuart Short added to the artwork in The Dickens Bar with a mural which humorously incorporates some modern touches.

The Riches of Rural Teesdale


For proud owners Peter Phillips and Barbara-Anne Johnson, The Garage development has been about preserving the location’s place in history and its environmental impact on the future.  Green energy is used throughout with the implementation of a BIO mass unit and air source heat pumps.


Outside there is an Electric Quick Charge unit to service the coming era of the electric car so maintaining the location’s tradition, while inside riders and passengers can be refreshed to prepare them for tomorrow.  There is even a car valeting programme so vehicles can benefit from a deep cleanse and makeover while they wait the return of their owners.


Items from the original Garage have been recycled in the new development including light fittings and radiators.  Original windows have been refurbished and bricks from old chimneys have been made into a new fire place.  Old petrol tanks have even been cut in half and used as planters.


Sourcing local natural products has been an important consideration for the development.  Local materials have been used in abundance throughout The Garage including Teesdale stone and mellow red cedar timber.  Spa products incorporate the richness of local honey and herbs to offer guests natural wellbeing benefits.  The Garage lunch and dinner menu overseen by The Morritt’s award winning restaurant, makes use of many local ingredients ensuring high quality freshness and thereby minimizing transport miles.    Vintage goods have been sourced from the area and upcycled to furnish the spa providing guests with a journey down memory lane and contributing to the warmth of times gone by.


Welcome to The Garage


The result is a quintessentially English spa with an abundance of character in rural Teesdale.  A warm and inviting destination for rest and relaxation.  From the cosy interiors and warm log fires to the steaming outdoor Canadian hot tubs and quirky Shepherd’s Hut log sauna, it’s all about feeling at home in surroundings that are designed for maximum comfort and pure relaxation.


The Garage Spa at The Morritt Hotel, Greta Bridge, Nr Barnard Castle, Co Durham DL12 9SE

Tel: +44 (0)1833 863100

www.thegaragespa.co.uk      |  www.themorritt.co.uk