What do spa-goers want? The million dollar question that the spa industry is constantly looking for, Cosmoprof Asia asks four spa and wellness professionals their opinion ahead of the upcoming Cosmoprof Asia Spa Conference, where the panel will discuss the subject in depth.
Melinda Yon, Senior Academic Staff at the school of Hospitality, Republic Polytechnic Singapore
“As the proliferation of spas continues and the discerning spa-goer has more choices, expectations are certainly higher from every aspect – design, facilities, products and services. For local spa use I believe spa-goers still evaluate basics such as hygiene/cleanliness, location, price, reputable products and experienced staff. However for special occasions they look for service and the overall experience and when travelling they are looking for spa experiences, wow-factor from the spa facility and they expect to try new treatments – especially those unique or indigenous to the location.
“As a spa trainer/educator, I consider customer service and expertise important factors that spa-goers expect and hence we place a lot of emphasis on this and the overall role staff play in the guest’s overall experience. In addition products must be good quality, more results-orientated and tailored to suit customers’ needs. The “one glove fits all” approach is no longer effective. With less time to spend at the spa, consumers want shorter treatments but still expect the same results.”
Sara Codner, Spa Director of the Mandarin Oriental Guangzhou
“Spa-goers still want quality service, being taken care of, being nurtured, like all of us in our daily lives. They want people to spend quality time with them and not feel like they’re ‘in and out’ which is why we at Mandarin Oriental are so successful as a spa brand.
“In general, spa-goers these days are a lot more savvy, they know what they want, they’re more demanding of quality treatments and they want something that they can’t get elsewhere. Also the authenticity of the treatments is very important.”
“Mainland Chinese want very different things compared with western customers. The most surprising for me being in China, is that people want to smoke in the treatment rooms. Five star spas in China are still in their infancy, so there is a lot of educating still for Chinese spa goers.”
Joanne Mazzitelli, International Training Director of Thalgo Cosmetics
“Many spa-goers are now in search of traditional therapies with indigenous products; for them, spas really need to be authentic in their offerings. Clients expect value for money and that includes impeccable service, professional consultation and diagnosis, immediate treatment and home-care results, along with coaching on how to get the best out of the spa experience. When they leave your spa, they expect follow-up, but it has to be unobtrusive. Above all they need to feel valued!”
“On a worldwide level, nowadays everything is done online, including clients’ bookings. Spa internet sites have to clearly show what they are offering – clients’ gain their first impression of the spa through the website and the telephone booking experience also has to be good. But in an urban environment, the corporate male/female clientele requires a quiet room with wifi. In addition, they require specialised services for the aches and pains that accompany long hours of computer usage, shorter services to enable them to sneak away for a quick respite and healthy on-the-go snacks and drinks.”
“In the last eight years, spas have become part of the lifestyle in Hong Kong. Trends come up from time to time and skin science is the new sought-after spa treat right now. Clients are more discerning, more aware of this field and are conscious about anti-ageing. Products and machine manufacturers have re-invented medical equipment and skin products for highly trained therapists to operate. And while Botox has become a household name and is no longer taboo to talk about, soft laser treatments for skin tightening and pigmentation lightening have also become popular.”
“I don’t believe spa treatments have really changed much, they have just improved with time. For example facial treatments follow the same protocols and facial treatments delivered ten years ago, it’s just some steps have improved with new technology, for example exfoliation can vacuum blackheads out no longer requiring that painful steel remover, and masks can leave skin feeling firm in one treatment. Nowadays you can view your skin from underneath its layers with a camera that takes seconds, and even prints out a report. Plus there are more advanced ingredients in skincare products.”
By Catharine Nicol
Freelance writer, editor, photographer