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Entries in spa (8)


Seeking Wellbeing, Millennials Invest in Spa Services

When members of the Stone Creek Club & Spa in Covington, LA, need a place to relax, the club’s spa area is often their first choice.

Well, of course.

In addition to providing post-exercise relief, a well-appointed and professionally staffed spa can serve as an oasis, a place where people of all ages can enjoy a respite from the accelerating pace, proliferating demands, and many unsettling events that, increasingly, seem to define our lives these days.

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Building a Winning Spa at Your Fitness Business 

This post is part of our Session Spotlight series, previewing just some of the extensive education that will feature at IHRSA 2017, March 8-11 in Los Angeles.

A thriving spa can open a number of doors for health clubs. A spa can strengthen your club’s value proposition, bring in extra revenue, and help you appeal to a broader demographic. 

But creating a winning spa isn’t easy.

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6 Things to Consider Before Adding a Spa to Your Health Club

The following post was written by April Smith, spa manager at The Ocean Reef Club, for our Best Practices series.

Question: We’re thinking of adding a spa treatment room to our facility. What fundamental things do we need to know in order to create the right atmosphere and ensure the spa’s success?

April Smith: The good news is adding a spa room doesn’t have to be expensive or complex. The main thing to keep in mind is that you want it to be a tranquil, relaxing space that’s comfortable for both the client and the service provider. Here are some important guidelines to consider:

Consideration #1: Size

Many spa rooms are either 10' x 14' or 12' x 14', which translates to 140 to 168 square feet. A typical massage table measures 72" x 30", but a face cradle can add up to 12" to the length.

You’ll need to make sure there’s at least 3' of space around each side of the table, as well as a treatment chair for the service provider. Of course, there should be room for the door of the room to open and close. You’ll also need space for a cabinet to store linens, treatment supplies, a sink with counter space, a comfortable chair for clients to sit on while taking off their shoes, and clothing hooks fastened to the wall.

Consideration #2: Flooring

The best choices include wood, vinyl tile, or cushioned flooring, rather than a hard surface, such as marble or ceramic tile. Keep in mind that your clients will be barefoot, so the floor shouldn’t be cold or slippery. Avoid carpet, as it can be easily stained and is hard to change out. Instead, try a nice, soft area rug that will create a warm feeling, and can be cleaned without difficulty.

Consideration #3: Lighting and décor

Lighting should operate by means of a dimmer, and not be positioned directly above the massage table. If there’s a window, add some kind of window covering or a blackout curtain.

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7 Insights on Creating an Exceptional Spa Experience

The U.S. spa industry, including club-based spas, has a long history and continues to grow; between 2013 and 2014, the most recent year for which figures are available, revenues climbed 5.3%, to $15.5 billion, and the annual number of visits rose 6.7%, to 176 million. 

When it comes to looking for valuable advice to improve one’s spa offering, it would be hard to do better than to check in with Aspria, a London-based chain that operates a total of eight facilities, all of which have world-class spa amenities. The company has one club in Milan, Italy; three in Brussels, Belgium; and four in Germany, with one in Berlin, one in Hannover, and two in Hamburg. 

Brian Morris, the company’s founder and chief executive officer, offered his thoughts on succeeding in spa services in the April issue of Club Business International

1. Minimize Overhead: “Payroll has the greatest impact on a club’s profit-and-loss situation. In the Far East or other markets with low labor costs, you can afford to have a fairly labor-intensive spa offering that’s based on personal treatments. In Europe, where the cost of labor is high, the alternative is to focus on amenities that minimize payroll—things such as saunas, steam rooms, and relaxation rooms. Our spas are very well equipped and as automated as possible. There’s still some impact with utility bills, but we’ve combined the heat and power systems at several of our clubs to ameliorate this.” 

2. Keep It Personal: “Member-facing services need to be personal and individual, particularly when, as in Europe, there are cultural and linguistic differences to be considered. The common systems are those that operate behind the scenes—the finance and membership systems, for instance. Because ours is a very complex product, achieving the appropriate balance is challenging; we’ve had to do a lot of tailoring of our processes.” 

3. Make It Exciting: “During peak times at the spa, an ‘aufguss,’ or ‘sauna meister,’ will stage a sauna ceremony. This raises the participants’ body temperature over a short period of time, and then modulates the temperature. It’s fun, theatrical, and quite dramatic, and an experience that our German and Scandinavian members, in particular, love. The members engage in a lot of banter during the aufguss. It’s not dissimilar to a group cycling class with an incredibly popular instructor who’s developed a strong following.” 

4. Train Your Team: “Developing a truly excellent management team in a spa department isn’t easy. The industry isn’t very well developed, and it doesn’t travel terribly well. European therapists, for instance, may have a different idea than their Asian counterparts about what a treatment should be like. As a result, it’s important to invest in training and to think long-term. I look at it from the perspective of the world of soccer. The best soccer clubs have academies that go back decades, and field new players after an extensive period of scouting, preparation, training, and growth. That’s the approach we’ve taken at Aspria.” 

5. Think Smartphone: “In the old days, you used a phone to make a call. Now, people organize their lives around their smartphones. In a way, that’s what our clubs are like; they’re very complex and offer so many possibilities. Most members will use only a fraction of the services we’re able to provide. So it’s our job to educate them. We need to help them identify and make full use of the value inherent in their membership. Our team members show them around, talk to them, and invite them to ‘taster’ sessions. It’s very much a handholding exercise—one in which we educate not only our own members, but also the market, through osmosis and direct contact.”

6. Evaluate Thoroughly: “New spa products are being introduced every other week. We want to offer treatments that can deliver proven benefits over a long period of time. Our members trust our advice, so we don’t want to say, ‘This is the greatest thing since sliced bread,’ and then, six months later, withdraw it and replace it with something else. … So, when we choose the product houses we’re going to work with, we tend to look for longevity, quality, service support, and good advice. … Aspria’s current treatment brands include Decléor, Carita, Comfort Zone, St. Barth’s, Dermalogica, and Phyt’s Organic.” 

7. The ‘Health’ in Health Club: “Fitness is easy—it’s a box with some equipment in it. True health, on the other hand, is a wholly different ball game. We have a system, called AspriaPro, that’s probably the finest health assessment program available outside of a hospital or health clinic, and we’re also working with some of the finest medical specialists in Europe. … While, in the U.K. and Europe, fitness probably yields a penetration rate of 5%–15%, we’re convinced that most people are interested in health, so that’s the direction we’re taking—we’re looking at prevention and rehabilitation.” 

Read the full “The Exceptional Spa Experience” article in the April CBI.


The Weymouth Club is not afraid of change

The Weymouth Club, a beautifully designed, meticulously maintained, 100,000-square-foot multipurpose club in Weymouth, Mass., that has some 4,000 memberships, prides itself on ongoing innovation - so much so, it’s undergone 14 upgrades over its 25-year history. 

Yes, that’s 14! This just might be a record among IHRSA members.

The club’s owners, the husband-and-wife team of Steve and Sally Goldman, have been willing to endure the headaches, the inconvenience, and the expense of a renovation - things that few operators look forward to - because there’s a tremendous payoff.

Read on to see how their dreams turn into reality.


IHRSA 2014 Programming track: successful spas

For some people the term “spa” is fluffy - seen as a perk, extra service or something only for the well-off. Sure, in some situations and businesses, that is exactly how it can be defined.

But there are other areas that, paired with fitness, can be an essential part of one’s well-being. 

“Most people see spas as an ancillary service that they may (go to) if they feel like it,” said Danielle Terranova, Corporate Spa director at Healthworks Fitness Centers in Boston, “People can be a little passive on how it can lead to overall, wellness and a health lifestyle. It is a necessity to maintaining the body through relaxing and targeted muscle groups.

“If your objective is to achieve overall health, to ignore skin care, acupuncture seems to be a limited view of wellness.”

Terranova won’t be attempting to convince spa doubters at the IHRSA 2014 33rd Annual Convention & Trade Show. However, she will present, “Strategies for Developing & Managing a Successful Spa Business in Your Club on Saturday, March 15, 9 to 10 a.m., in the Programming track.

Read on for more on the Programming track.


Weymouth Club unveils Mind-Body Center and Spa

The Weymouth Club, in Weymouth, Mass., just south of Boston, recently had the grand opening of its state-of-the-art Mind-Body Center and Spa. 

The Center includes large studios for Pilates and hot yoga and is designed to establish a tranquil environment. The space also allows for meditation classes. There is also a large member lounge that has a big screen TV, fireplace and a great place to watch the tennis courts. Both men and women can get manicures and pedicures at the Center.

“With the Mind/Body Center, we will be able to offer quietness and centering programs and services which will help reduce stress and assist in unplugging from the constant bombardment of outside stimuli,” club co-owner Sally Goldman said in a press release.

For a virtual tour of the Mind-Body Center and Spa, click here.


Mind and Body Wellness at Vail Athletic Club

By Patricia Glynn

Nowadays, it seems nearly everyone, young and old alike, has taken to practicing yoga. 

It has essentially become ubiquitous. And the pages of CBI magazine offer further evidence—next month, in the May issue, I provide an in-depth look at how Colorado’s Vail Athletic Club (VAC) has incorporated this very popular workout into its group fitness lineup and how it has, in the past several years, grown participation by an astounding 74%. 

The VAC treatment

Of course, you’ll find a lot more than just yoga at this 18,000-square-foot full-service facility, which is part of the larger Vail Mountain Lodge and Spa. Another equally notable feature, one that’s expected to experience equally significant growth in the coming years, is The Longevity Center. Launched in January of 2010, the center is home to the area’s first comprehensive wellness program. It’s here that members, along with the general public, are given an opportunity to learn from, and be treated by, a team of renowned medical, nutritional, and spiritual experts.

From individual diagnostics, to guided, intensive regimens, to group retreat programs and workshops, The Longevity Center is the VAC’s way, says spa director Lisa DeKoster, to “give clients more.” In this case, “more” equates to such options as nutritional consultations, hormone treatment, chiropractic adjustments, assistance with stress-reduction, and extensive blood work analysis.

“More” also means offering education. There are, for example, a series of fee-based sessions. Conducted throughout the year, and lasting for several days, these “intensives,” as they’re called, incorporate lectures, fitness, meditation, healthy eating, and other wellness-related events. Each is kept small, with about eight to ten participants, to make the experience more personalized. And each, DeKoster notes, can be “a significant source of profit.”

Lisa DeKoster, Spa Director

Then, too, there are the complimentary talks. They’re held at least once a month, and attract upwards of 50 people; recent topics have ranged from a look at sports nutrition to insights into spine health. DeKoster emphasizes that “the ultimate goal is to educate.” Nevertheless, attendees usually find their interest piqued and will subsequently seek treatment at the center. And so these “free” lectures become yet another source of revenue, albeit an indirect one. “Out of a lecture,” she reveals, “we typically get at least three or four people signing up for services at the center.”

In the future, DeKoster expects interest in mind/body wellness to increase substantially. After all, she says, people are more stressed than ever. They’re also finding it difficult to afford medical care and medical insurance. “People want—and need—alternatives, which is why, in just over a year, we’ve had great success with this. And I expect we’ll receive a lot more recognition in years to come.”  

Felix leads a meditation class at VAC

The Longevity Center has been an ideal fit for the VAC. Participants, as well as staff, have found tremendous value in the program. Dekoster herself acknowledges that she “loves watching people have transformational experiences.” And she believes other wellness professionals will also appreciate the many rewards that this sort of programming addition can confer. She points out: “It’s what our industry is really about; it’s our mission, and we’re driven to help people be well.”