The afternoon’s session included navigating business in China, the latest in spa interior design and how to negotiate the world of social media, wrapping up what delegates were calling the most dynamic and interesting Cosmoprof Asia Spa Seminar to date.
After an animated lunch at Congress Plus, a new panel debated the pros and cons of opening a successful spa business in China. Panelists Clive McNish, FM of GOCO, Elie Papiernik, Design Director and Managing Partner at Centdegrés, Jeff Matthews, President Steiner Spa Consulting and Sophia Patel, Director of Spa, Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou discussed the importance of educating Chinese spa-goers on how to best enjoy western-style spas, while McNish cautioned, “Go in expecting to learn along the way as well as educate.”
Flexibility, staffing, understanding the need for special treatment for guests (‘little Emperors’) and ensuring enough exclusivity and privacy, the difficulty of earning guest loyalty and tempting guests with the right skincare brands were all deliberated, revealing above all that the country is still a challenge.
Adria W. Lake, Founder and Managing Director of AW Lake Spa Concepts, then led delegates on a high-energy journey through spa design, encouraging them to be bold, focused, purposeful and impactful, engaging, authentic and real. She discussed how space utilization should be at 60%-80% rather than the usual 30% by using clever innovations, integrating facilities and functions and increasing traffic.
The final panel discussion on social media had everyone listening intently as Andrea Lomas-Gong, Head of Group Spa Operations, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, Stewart Chen, Marketing and Communications Manager, W Hong Kong, Julian Peh, CEO of White Wave Media Group and Nicola Oldfield, Regional Business Development & Marketing Director, GHC Asia shared their recommendations, citing that while different platforms leant themselves to different objectives, overall Facebook (outside China), WeChat and Weibo (within China) and Twitter (in SEA and to reach USA audiences) came out ahead of the crowd. They added that shares and reposts are more indicative of a successful campaign than ‘likes’ and warned that if you can’t maintain momentum on social media it may be better not to start in the first place.
The 7th Cosmoprof Asia Spa Conference came to a close with a thank you ceremony for presenters and the event’s sponsors, who were skincare brands Christina and Elemis, spa consultant AW Lake and SpaBooker, whose Market Development Manager Asia Pacific Paul Morris with his APSWC board member hat on had organised a post-event networking evening to wrap up the day.
by Catharine Nicol
Freelance writer, editor, photographer