How the world's leading spas have pivoted during Covid-19

If there’s ever been a time for outside-of-the-box thinking within the industry, it’s now. At the World Spa & Wellness Online Conference, happening as part of Professional Beauty World (February 28–March 2), we’re welcoming some of the most creative minds from the spa world as “mentors” and asking them to assemble their own dream teams of innovators, or “mentees”, for in-depth conversations on how they handled the pandemic and their crucial next steps.

We don’t want to give too much away – you'll have to join us from Sunday for the best insights – but here are just a few highlights from the mentors leading the panels, discussing how they confronted one of the toughest years in recent history and came out on top.

Andrea Lomas, head of group spa operations, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group (join her on Sunday February 28, at 9am GMT) 

“Since 2015, we have been offering colleague wellness programs in our hotels and corporate offices. In 2020, we increased these offerings to daily wellness tips and a variety of digital content: videos, live streaming and audio meditations, together with the launch of an online course called Inner Strength Outer Strength.”

“This course is designed to help our colleagues stay strong, both physically and emotionally, helping them to come back to work being at their best and ready to be of service to others. The course focuses on three areas: physical vitality, mental vitality and character strengths.”

Ghislain Waeyaert, vice president of development, Deep Nature (join him on Monday, March 1, at 11am GMT) 

“For our digital marketing strategy, we decided to occupy the field with a “Deep Nature at home” approach based on advice around four themes: ‘Did you know?’, ‘The Ingredients’ (presentation of an active ingredient), ‘The Gesture at Home’ (self massage, for example), and then ‘The Recipe’ (skincare or other combinations).”

“This gave rise to articles on the Deep Nature site and on the sites of our hosting partners, as well as an internal newsletter at Center Parcs and further social network posts. This approach was supplemented in the second lockdown by videos on Instagram offering exercises and gestures to be done at home around wellness in the broad sense: sophrology, pilates, yoga, makeup, massages, etc.”

Christelle Besnier, senior spa director, Four Seasons Hotels (join her on Tuesday, March 2, at 11am GMT) 

“There has been an implementation of a clear and reassuring signage, as well as an efficient training of the team to protect themselves and be able to confidently guide and educate the guests. Cleaning duties are no longer to be hidden – they are the shining stars and guardians of everyone's safety.

“All collateral has been revised with the new spa identity, which was in the making before the pandemic started. Us spa people were conservative to keep our beautiful paper brochures, but we have all made the digital transition. Now QR codes sound appealing and guide us through our wellness menu really well.”

Julie Cary, chief marketing and innovation officer, Massage Envy (join her on Tuesday, March 2, at 4pm GMT) 

“First and foremost, we doubled down in a very compressed time period on listening to consumers and franchisee input. They were our eyes and ears, and we were able to pivot quickly to meet the needs of a dynamic and quickly changing business environment. 

“We changed the customer experience by working with our IT team and franchisees’ vendor to develop an app that specifically enabled franchised locations to pre-screen their members and guests with a questionnaire. Franchisees used the app to help them reduce check-in time and facilitate social distancing by calling their clients forward from the parking lot when their treatment room was ready instead of waiting in the lobby area.”

Find out more about what the mentees have learned so far here.

The World Spa & Wellness Mentorship & Online Conference will take place at three-day online virtual event Professional Beauty World on February 28–March 2. 

Check out the full programme and sign up for free now.

Will you be attending the conference? Let us know which sessions you're looking forward to in the comments below.