Authenticity and communication were among key themes at virtual Spa Life Ireland event

The importance of authenticity, communication between spa directors and general managers, and a focus on teams were among the key themes at the fourth annual Spa Life Ireland conference this week.

The event took place online, due to the Covid-19 restrictions, on on September 29, having been postponed from May, when it had been planned as a physical event in Belfast.

Instead, the event was held via Remo, a live virtual event and networking platform, which offered video meetings, live Q&A sessions and in-app chat.

With the theme of "Raising the bar in wellness", author and HR leader Debra Corey began the day with a talk on revolutionising employee engagement. This was followed by an interview with Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort’s managing director Colin Johnston, and head of spa operations Tara Moore.

Johnston spoke about how surviving a previous recession has helped the business meet the more recent challenges of Covid-19. The next six months are crucial, he said, and he advised attendees to continue to invest in their marketing budgets, and ensure they have the right team, which is their best asset. 

International spa consultant Heidi Grimwood joined the event from the Maldives. Speaking on the topic of revenue hacks to drive profits, she highlighted the importance of managing turnaround or cleaning times in spas, as well as the different ways upselling can be achieved.

Speaking from Austria, spa management expert Judith Ertler focused on strategies for recruitment success. This was followed by a discussion between award-winning former spa director Helena Grzesk and Jason Adams, managing director of Rockliffe Hall hotel, golf and spa resort in Durham in the UK,on the challenges of running a successful and profitable hotel spa. The pair talked about the issues that can arise between the spa manager and general manager when running a hotel spa.

Justin Caffrey addressed the audience on ‘Leadership 2020 – Eastern wisdom in the realm of better communication, influence and negotiation’. He placed huge emphasis on the value of authenticity, stressing that its power can never be underestimated, particularly within the spa industry. Nutritionist Lorraine Perretta completed the day’s line-up of speakers with her talk on ‘The rise of the 'skintellectual' consumer and its impact on your spa’. She spoke about how supplements can fit into the spa environment, and offer the opportunity for long-term engagement with clients.

Delegates were encouraged to network virtually with the events sponsors in between sessions over the course of the day. Spa Life UK will also be a virtual event, taking place on November 24–25.

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