Varied programme on day one of the Professional Spa & Wellness Convention

Employee engagement and the importance of getting the fundamentals right during your first 100 days as a spa owner or director were some on the topics on the agenda on the first day of the Professional Spa & Wellness Convention yesterday.

Getting to know your team, ensuring you establish the kind of spa that is relevant for your clientele and creating a positive atmosphere from the beginning were stressed as key success factors by panellists during the Getting it Right from the Start: The First 100 Days as a Spa Owner or Director session.

Larisa Marinica, director of Purovel Spa & Sport at Swissotel The Bosphorus, Istanbul, emphasised the importance of bonding with your team and understanding their needs. Melissa Rancourt, owner of Serendip Spa in Brussels, underlined the value of finding out what your staff’s aspirations are, unearthing future leadership potential at an early stage and remembering to communicate the spa’s good news outside the spa.

Meanwhile, Greg Payne, spa operations director at Aman Resorts International, highlighted the danger of creating a spa that is led purely by design, rather than practical considerations. He said: “The size of the spa and the facilities included need to be relevant to the needs of the property.”

The focus of the Employee Engagement session was how to inspire your employees through great leadership. Nathalie Roy, vice president of spa development at Spa Eastman, said that staff is the key  to a successful business and encouraged spa directors to value their staff as much as they value their customers. She said: “If you don’t have staff, you don’t have a business.”

Charlie Thompson, chairman of the UK Spa Association, said the secret to being an inspiring leader is to know your staff and understand what motivates them – ultimately leading to a more profitable business. Kenneth Ryan, senior director of global spa operations at Marriott International underlined the importance of seeing the potential of your staff and allowing them to grow. He said: “People grow by being allowed to make decisions.”

Other topics on the programme during day one of the convention included interior design, spa management and social media strategy. Today is the second and concluding day of the Professional Spa & Wellness Convention.