Blue Spa Blog

Hotel Owner

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Here’s to the crazy ones…

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The Rebels. The troublemakers. The ones who see things differently. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world. Are the ones who do.”
Steve Jobs

This man needs no introduction and I don’t really think he ever did. I’ve read the book and even seen the film about the vision and determination of one man’s dream.

What have I learnt?  Well, I don’t think I will ever be a world leader, or the owner of the world largest company (history will make that decision), but we can defiantly make an impact being a purpose-led business.  We can help and grow ambition, but not just to create, to add value and meaning to the customer, employees and the owners who’ve had many sleepless nights thinking about making the right impact to the wider society. Steve Jobs was brilliant at getting talent, he lead from the front and he drove the team to perfection and that’s what we aspire to do!

Here at the Factory we do see things differently.  Looking at a Spa industry that has not changes for so many years, it’s going to take some rebels to join our cause to make the some changes.  After working in the Spa and Leisure industry for over 20 years it’s time to break free and looking at how to do things differently. How to train staff, how to use your spa products, and how to become different from all your competitors and not follow the same path as all the other spas that are just competing against each other. Think about it – if your spa was in the food industry, would you be a like a fast food business – (same food menu, following a manual for 12 months of the year) or are you like a Gastro Pub (freedom to choose ingredients, freedom to change menus, freedom to buy products from the best supplier and change menus with the seasons etc).

Let’s start thinking like Steve Jobs, if he ran your spa what would he do?

Some things are evolving and some things stand still…

We all travel on the motorway and stop off to have a sandwich or pasty with a coffee, or pop by the fast food ‘joint’.  We’ve all accepted this as the norm, and as a stop gap to something better – by why?

I’ve just had the most amazing shopping experience at Gloucester service station, where they are doing things differently!

It’s eating as if I’m sitting in a trendy cafe in Notting Hill – I’ve  bought dinner with the most outstanding local fresh produce, all from the Gloucester services on the M5.

It’s just great for someone to stop, think honestly about what their customers want, and not accept what everybody else is doing.  Instead they are using the space to the customer’s advantage.

I think it’s probably a step too far to take the wife for dinner , but it’s always good to have it up your sleeve!

So, how does this apply to spa retail?

Ever feel like your pushing water up the hill? The management and commission systems have not changes for donkey’s years and the space is a few shelves with spot lighting is the same place in nearly all spas.  It could be that the typical product houses net margins are so poor that spas don’t really see this as time well spent.

If you look at Gloucester services, it’s really inviting – you want to go in and spend money. You have the choice to spend a small amount or even do your weekly shop. You’ve got choice and that’s a major issue for spa retail – lack of choice.

Why not sell chocolate bars, we all eat them and love them? Clothes, books, magazines – you need to have something the for ‘guilt’ purchase. What about your till teaser? The Natural Spa factory have some great ideas with this from face mask to massage candles.

If you fancy a chat about how you can make the most of your space, get in touch.

How things are changing…

10 years ago we didn’t fully understand what a Spa was and how to utilise the space that was given to it. How things have changed!

We’re having some really fascinating conversations with Hotel Owners and General Managers about the contribution of ‘Spas’ and what they can bring to the hotel.  Years ago, the word ‘Spa’ would appear on the bottom of the P&L under leisure or other income,  and generally only get about 2 minutes in the ‘lime light’ of the management meeting.

However, in some cases Spas are now bringing in more profit than food and beverage, and more than conferencing.

The Spas that we are talking to bring in between 46-50% operating profit to the hotel, plus the increase in hotel room occupancy of 7-15%, annualised or an increase in room yield of £3-£10.

So, the Spa has really found it’s place within the hotel industry and, as General Managers start to embrace the business of Spas and selling the space just like hotel rooms, we will only see revenue grow.

You still need to look at margins and how to make the Spa stand out and sell more treatments a the right price. This comes from independence, just like your hotel restaurant, you’re not a chain and don’t have the same menu as the hotel down the road, so why does your Spa? It’s time to let the Spa Managers do exactly that – manage.

Just like your Head Chef changes the food menu every season, so should your Spa. Does your Head Chef go to his suppliers for training or food ideas? I hope not! So why is your Spa Manager following the formulaic guidance of the Product House? Its time for you to come up with treatments that are right for you and your customers, and that sell and give you back the margins that work for you. Freedom is what’s required from the typical Product Houses. That’s why we use the Natural Spa Factory  for all our products.

I’m always happy to chat on the subject of Spas, so please feel free to contact me.