A dynamic morning of east meets west, the potential of retail and spa operations 101 made up the morning’s session of the 7th Cosmoprof Asia Spa Conference 2014.
Ginnie Koay, Event Director UBM Asia Ltd, opened the 7th Cosmoprof Asia Spa Conference in front of 80 delegates on 13th November. She called the annual event a “platform to exchange ideas and keep up with trends”, and the professional line-up had attendees heralding it one of the most dynamic and interesting of the annual event’s spa seminars to date.
Keynote speaker Andrew Gibson, VP Spa & Wellness, FRHI Hotels and Resorts discussed the development of the wellness industry by comparing east and west, citing figures that valued North America and Europe’s industry at USD339 billion compared with Asia’s USD69 billion. However, he added, “Growth will shift from the west to the developing world with growth predominantly coming out of Asia.” While America’s hotels currently dominate the world scene, Asia’s spa brands are far better known globally, which he says is largely a result of America’s corporation bottom line approach versus Asia’s family run passion project mindset.
He summed up saying there are four global trends which will shape the way we create hotels of the future: the rise of wellness travellers, the lucrative future of beauty, the renaissance within fitness and what he calls ‘imperceptible wellness’ gleaned by merely staying (rather than investing in spa or fitness) at a hotel designed to make you feel better.
The following panel discussion, MC-ed by Melinda Yon, Senior Academic Staff at Republic Polytechnic in Singapore, revolved around the significance of maximizing revenue from spa retail, and Sean Harrington, MD of Elemis, said, “We are in the age of consumerism and there will never be this level of growth in consumerism ever again. We are in danger of letting this pass us by.” The success of retail at Elemis he puts down to focusing on being consumer driven rather than industry driven.
Jessica Maher, Plateau Director at the Grand Hyatt, Hong Kong said she coaches her therapists in building relationships with their clients, laying the foundation to help them communicate that take-home products will maximize the effects of the treatment, rather than approaching the interaction as a hard sell. Lois Chan, Regional Commercial Manager, Nuxe Hong Kong Ltd agreed, and added that the brand Resultime reinvented their packaging to be more eye-catching and appealing to results-oriented consumers, making the transaction easier for both sides. Lahra Tatriele, Founder of Fivelements, said that it is key that the product is an extension of the concept and brand, and a great Fivelements experience also encourages guests to take products back home to extend that experience and tempt them to return.
Samantha Foster, Development Director, Destination Spa Management Ltd, then took to the podium and discussed how revenue minus expenses equals profit, with an x-factor of leadership that could amplify the profit exponentially. She gave delegates a useful 101 on all things spa operations, such as revenue, branding, facilities, menus, products, retail, pricing, training, promotions, marketing strategies and plans.
by Catharine Nicol
Freelance writer, editor, photographer