Trends, marketing and retail strategy at the Professional Spa & Wellness Convention

Industry trends, retail strategy, spa marketing and hotel general manager’s view on spa were some of the topics on the agenda at this year’s Professional Spa & Wellness Convention 

Thomas Wurzinger, group director of operations at Goco Hospitality, said wellness retreats will continue to grow in popularity, while Susan Hamsworth, founder and chief executive of skincare brand Espa, said confusion within the industry about what wellness is, is in turn creating confusion among consumers. 

Harmsworth, who like Wurzinger, spoke as part of the trends session on Sunday February 22, said: “Many of us are confused about what wellness is, and we’re confusing our consumers. The biggest trend we’re going to see over the next few years is consumer confusion.” 

Jeff Matthews, president of Steiner Spa Consulting and chief operator officer of Mandara Spa, highlighted the important role of the Millennial generation in the growth of the industry going forward. 

Franz Linser, chief executive officer of Linser Hospitality and Vayu Medical Resorts, emphasised a consumer desire for more time and for mindfulness. Linser explained that we will see a consumer demand for silence and for going back to nature. 

He said: “Peace and quiet is going to be important. In the future we will have to sell more than treatments, we will also have to sell the stage, the environment.” 

Keynote speaker Carol Phillips, spa owner, educator and author of In the Bag: Selling in the Salon, explained that retailing well is not about hard sales. She also encouraged spas to consider whether their retail space has truly been designed for retail, or simply to look visually appealing. 

Phillips also emphasised that while most therapists don’t like selling, the spa can “be a space to both shop and relax”. 

Speaking as part of the session on KPIs on Monday 23, Stavros Mavridis, spa manager, at the Amanzoe hotel in Greece, said: “The most important thing is to interpret the numbers to come up with a strategic plan.” 

Speaking at the same session, Marion Hayden spa manager at Oceo Spa at Ireland’s Seafield Golf & Spa Hotel, emphasised the importance of going above and beyond. “You need to recognise what guests want but then give them more.” 

Speaking as part of the Hotel GM's Perspective on their Spa as a Profitable Business Unit session Dale MacPhee, general manager of the Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh, The Caledonian, underlined that spas need to be fully integrated into the hotel as a whole, and that there needs to be cross promotion with other departments, in order to maximise the potential of hotel spas. 

Other topics covered at the convention included emotional engagement, why clients shop, and social media.