Speaker in the Spotlight: Neil Orvay

Neil Orvay, founder and chief executive of Asia Spa and Wellness, reveals the details of his Negotiation Theory and Application workshop on day one of the 2015 Professional Spa & Wellness Convention 

What will your convention workshop on negation theory contain?
It’s negotiation 101, covering the fundamentals of negotiation theory. The workshop will deliver must-have tools that any professional will benefit from. It will be centred around role-play, in which participants negotiate against each other. The building blocks of negotiation theory will be introduced sequentially, with reference to the role-play, and there will also be case studies introduced during the session. 

What do you hope participants will derive from the workshop? 
The aim with all the training I develop is to give participants a tool kit of techniques that they can apply in their daily business lives. With the workshop being specifically for the spa industry, I will make frequent references to how the application theory can be applied to situations likely to occur in the spa environment. I have built my spa business from zero to 10 outlets with 100 staff over the past 12 years, so there are many situations I can reference where negotiation skills have been useful. 

How important do you think negotiation skills are in the spa environment? 
Negotiation is a critical skill in which few people in the spa industry have ever benefited from formal training, but everyone from the spa owner to the manager needs to be able to negotiate. The fundamental principles of negotiation are the same in any industry so what will be discussed at this workshop is very relevant to spa professionals. At the spa owner/director level, the discussions may revolve around securing the lease for a prime location, while at the customer-facing level it could be about dealing with a customer complaint, for example. 

What are you most looking forward to at the convention? 
It’s always good to meet like-minded professionals, exchange ideas and learn from the many excellent speakers and panellists. 

Why are events like the Professional Spa & Wellness Convention important for the industry? 
Our focus should be on educating the market and bringing more people into spas, rather than worrying about competing for the existing pool of spa clients. I believe that industry events such as the Professional Spa & Wellness Convention play a crucial role in facilitating this objective by promoting collaborative engagement and setting market standards. 

Which have been the biggest achievements in the spa and wellness industry over the past few years? 
I remember attending the Global Spa Summit, as it was then called, in New York in 2008. Dr Richard Carmona, the 17th Surgeon General of the United States was one of they keynote speakers and he spoke of a world where medical care would be pre-emptive rather than reactive, with the spa industry playing a major part in this transition. 

A world where insurance providers would charge lower premiums for companies that offer massage, yoga and other stress-reducing therapies to staff. We’re not there yet, but I do see signs of corporate awareness of the fact that spa therapies can be a solution to issues such as absenteeism, stress and sleep depravation. If we can continue on this course, it could be a game-changer for our industry.

Are there any particular industry changes you would like to see in 2015?
I am personally interested in the intersection of spa and nutrition. It’s not enough to simply focus on how you look on the outside, what you put inside you is equally, if not even more important. I’m currently looking into ways to partner with specialists on healthy eating, as a logical complementary offering. Seeing more spas putting [healthy nutrition] into practice and delivering a more holistic health offering to their clients can only be a good thing. 

Neil Orvay’s half-day workshop on Negotiation Theory and Application takes place on Saturday February 21, 2015. To find out more about the workshop, view the full Professional Spa & Wellness Convention programme and book your place, click here