World Spa & Wellness Asia Speaker Spotlight: Johnny Chang

Ahead of our debut World Spa & Wellness Asia conference, taking place May 21-22 in Phuket, Thailand, we caught up with one of our speakers Johnny Chang.

Johnny is the Founder and CEO of Spa Solutions Management & Training Consultancy (Shanghai) Limited and has experience of hotel spa and spa product development spanning 20 years.

What is the biggest challenge your business faces and how do you overcome it?

The biggest challenge our business faces is cultural differences. Many foreign brands only noticed that China has a massive market and they only need to get a very small portion of it to make their brand viable, but many of them did not realise that it is an extremely crowded and different one as well. This is why we are seeing businesses struggling to get their glow on as competition continues to intensify, business models dilute and consumer buying behaviour transforms. We overcome the challenge by helping our clients realise that culture must be lived.

What is your greatest career achievement to date?

I believe it is as a guest lecturer sharing my entrepreneurial experiences and professional journey with the post-graduate students from Les Roches Jin Jiang International Hotel Management College, on how I have achieved these four components: self-awareness, balanced perspectives, personal convictions and authenticity to becoming a successful self-leader.

What is the most common mistake you see in the spa and wellness business?

Being too idealistic instead of being scientific. Too many spas focused more on the hardware than on staff training, especially self-leadership for spa directors and managers, inter-personal skills and retail sales training. That often leads to poor investment return.

What do you know now, that you wish you knew at the beginning of your career?

The importance of communication skills for the spa & wellness business.

What do you think the future holds for the spa and wellness industry?

The future holds limitless promise for the spa and wellness industry if it is done right. According to China Hot Spring Tourism Industry’s report, there were 350 million hot spring trips in 2016 which generated almost CNY 100 billion revenue, more than four times the revenue of 2006 (CNY 22.8 billion). More and more hot spring resorts have been transforming from sauna-style to spa-style because the owners have noticed the importance of improving their guests’ experiences. However, resorts and hotels can find it difficult to recruit qualified staff to manage the spa and deliver the spa treatments that modern customers have come to expect, as well as successfully sell the retail products.