Roberto Arjona, chief executive of Mexican wellness resort Rancho La Puerta and a speaker at the 2014 Professional Spa & Wellness Convention, on how to go green, the resort spa market and key industry trends
Why is Going Green Pays – Smart Ideas on Ecology Can Impact Positively your Bottom Line an important industry topic?
Because everyone talks green, but there isn’t enough said about the financial and business benefits of going green. I believe businesses need to know about those aspects in order to be able to make sound decisions.
How well has the spa and wellness industry has embraced sustainability so far?
Not well enough. There are many easy and cost efficient ways to embrace sustainability, but those are the things we are not doing right. Instead, we try to make big changes that are often expensive and don’t necessarily change behaviours.
What are the most important steps for the industry to take in the next few years, in terms of going green?
We need to first look at education and behavioural change and understand what we are trying to do. Implementation and communication with employees, customers and the local community can then follow.
Which practical steps can spas take to become more environmentally friendly?
1) Audit your consumption of natural resources and the amount of waste you generate and use the data to create a benchmark. 2) Review your top ten expense items (products) and look for greener options in the marketplace. Skincare products are easy to replace with natural and organic options and reducing the amount of paper and plastic you use is also easy. Once you have gone through the first ten expenses, move on to the next ten, and so on. 3) Talk about it and lead by example. Soon you will notice that you have embraced the concept of sustainability and you begin to build your passion for it. People will sense this passion and know that you’re for real, which will make for quick and positive change.
Which have been the most significant changes in the resort and destination spa market over the years?
We have become more relevant. Twenty year ago, resort spas were an amenity that provided a competitive advantage. Today spa and wellness is part of the lifestyle for many travellers and, as such, these travellers are seeking destinations that can help them maintain this lifestyle while on holiday. One of the issues today is figuring out how to take advantage of medical advancements without becoming clinical. I have seen a number of resorts transform their spa experience into a wellness experience and, most importantly, new developments are [now] using wellness as their base. What successful resorts have in common is that they are able to provide a true wellness experience that embraces mind, body and spirit.
Read the full interview on page 48 of the October issue of the Professional Spa and Wellness digital magazine for FREE here, or access the digital magazine by selecting your chosen platform here.