Spa Executive | Issue 3 | February 2019

Looking over the content in this month’s issue of Spa Executive, I’m reminded of the importance of attention to detail. The details make all the difference between a good spa and a great spa. And don’t we all want to be at the top of this wildly competitive industry, recognized as leaders, and praised for our sublime service? When AccorHotels’ Daniel Poulin talks about what he looks for in a spa director, and what makes Fairmont spas unique, you can tell he has spent a lot of time focusing on details. We also share insights from past interviews we’ve done with industry leaders on the mistakes spa managers make, and offer tips on how to create an incredible customer experience that is both effortless and human. Enjoy our magazine!

Looking over the content in this month’s issue of Spa Executive, I’m reminded of the importance of attention to detail.

The details make all the difference between a good spa and a great spa. And don’t we all want to be at the top of this wildly competitive industry, recognized as leaders, and praised for our sublime service?

When AccorHotels’ Daniel Poulin talks about what he looks for in a spa director, and what makes Fairmont spas unique, you can tell he has spent a lot of time focusing on details.

We also share insights from past interviews we’ve done with industry leaders on the mistakes spa managers make, and offer tips on how to create an incredible customer experience that is both effortless and human.

Enjoy our magazine!


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ISSUE #03 FEBRUARY <strong>2019</strong><br />




What’s on the<br />

food menu<br />

at five top spas?<br />

Page 6<br />


6 Common<br />

Mistakes <strong>Spa</strong><br />

Managers Make<br />

Page 13<br />


Incredible<br />

Customer<br />

Experience<br />

Page 15<br />

AccorHotels’<br />


Naked Labs'<br />

affordable 3D<br />

body scanner<br />

Page 17<br />

Daniel<br />

Poulin<br />

What makes a successful<br />

spa director


Roger Sholanki<br />

EDITOR<br />

Elizabeth Bromstein<br />


Yeniffer Padrino<br />


Stephanie Meszaros<br />


Snehaa Karthik<br />


Shajee Aijazi<br />

Note from the Publisher<br />

Looking over the content in this month’s issue of <strong>Spa</strong> <strong>Executive</strong>, I’m reminded of the importance<br />

of attention to detail.<br />

The details make all the difference between a good spa and a great spa. And don’t we all want<br />

to be at the top of this wildly competitive industry, recognized as leaders, and praised for our<br />

sublime service?<br />

We achieve this by paying attention to even the smallest details through every moment of the<br />

guest experience; from the time of booking to the time they leave the spa, and beyond. It’s not<br />

just about the treatment; it’s in the way they experience filling out their intake forms and being<br />

greeted by staff, it’s in the food we serve, and the connections we make.<br />

I noticed this thread throughout this month’s content; even when we don’t mention the word<br />

“detail,” we’re talking about detail – the attention to which is a key element of every<br />

award-winning spa.<br />

When AccorHotels’ Daniel Poulin talks about what he looks for in a spa director, and what<br />

makes Fairmont spas unique, you can tell he has spent a lot of time focusing on details.<br />

We see this attention to detail in at the culinary offerings painstakingly prepared at some of the<br />

top spas around the world. And in the design of Finland’s new Tullin Sauna, created by Studio<br />

Puisto.<br />

We also share insights from past interviews we’ve done with industry leaders on the mistakes<br />

spa managers make, and offer tips on how to create an incredible customer experience that is<br />

both effortless and human. Again, it’s all in the… well, you know.<br />

That’s the business insight I’ll take away with me today, courtesy of all the people that<br />

demonstrate this incredible attention in everything they do. I hope you find the examples they set<br />

as valuable as I do.<br />

The online magazine for <strong>Spa</strong><br />

<strong>Executive</strong>s, featuring news<br />

and exclusive interviews.<br />

Roger Sholanki,<br />

CEO<br />


Contents<br />

<strong>February</strong> <strong>2019</strong> Volume 3<br />

3<br />

NEWS<br />

Tilman Fertitta opens The <strong>Spa</strong><br />

at The Post Oak Hotel<br />

3<br />

5<br />

6<br />


L'Occitane acquires Elemis for<br />

$900 million<br />


What's on the food menu at 5<br />

top spas around the world?<br />

9<br />


Daniel Poulin: What makes a<br />

successful spa director?<br />

6<br />

13<br />

15<br />


6 common miskates spa<br />

managers make<br />


5 ways to make your customer<br />

experience effortless<br />

17<br />


Naked Labs’ affordable 3D<br />

body scanner<br />

15 18<br />

18<br />

GROWTH<br />

Beautiful community sauna<br />

opens in former railway station<br />


Texas billionaire Tilman<br />

at The Post Oak<br />

The Post Oak Hotel at Uptown Houston has<br />

announced the opening of The <strong>Spa</strong>. The Post<br />

Oak, Houston's only AAA Five-Diamond<br />

hotel, is owned by Texas billionaire Tilman<br />

Fertitta, owner of the NBA's Houston<br />

Rockets.<br />

According to a media release, The <strong>Spa</strong> is a<br />

20,000-square-foot urban oasis on the<br />

hotel's 5th floor that offers unique treatment<br />

rooms, including a couples suite with an<br />

en-suite bathtub and shower; tranquility pools<br />

with body-contouring hot stone daybeds;<br />

aromatherapy-infused steam rooms; high<br />

temperature, low humidity saunas;<br />

multi-sensory thermal showers; and a<br />

state-of-the-art Technogym fitness center.<br />

“I have travelled the world seeing the most<br />

beautiful spas with the finest amenities,” said<br />

Fertitta in a statement. “Houston deserves a<br />

unique, first-class spa and I was inspired to<br />

bring one to my Post Oak hotel. We offer only<br />

top-of-the-line products and services that you<br />

won’t find anywhere else in the country.<br />

Whether you are a Houstonian or a hotel<br />

guest, you will want to visit our spa.”<br />

The release states that The <strong>Spa</strong> promises to<br />

indulge guests with an unparalleled wellness<br />

menu that features exclusive products,<br />

aromatic oils, body and facial treatments,<br />

massages, rituals, and the latest innovations<br />

in skin care techniques.<br />

For this, The Post Oak Hotel has partnered<br />

with Cinq Mondes, a leading Paris spa brand<br />

creating rituals and treatments cultivated from<br />

Brazil, Japan, Polynesia, Bali, Switzerland,<br />

Morocco, India, and Thailand.<br />

Among the exclusive treatments designed for<br />

The <strong>Spa</strong> is the “Rituals of Five Worlds.” The<br />

Ritual features a warmed, steam poultice<br />

massage and gentle body stretching with a<br />

Javanese fusion of lemongrass, ginger and<br />

bergamot to ease muscular tension. The<br />

treatment includes dual-therapist cranial<br />

acupressure and foot reflexology with fragrant<br />

Moroccan eucalyptus and cinnamon to<br />

“awaken the senses."<br />

03 | <strong>Spa</strong> <strong>Executive</strong> News

Fertitta opens The <strong>Spa</strong><br />

Hotel in Houston<br />

“Nowhere else in the world can someone<br />

receive our Rituals of Five Worlds treatment,”<br />

said Daisy Tepper, <strong>Spa</strong> Director at The Post<br />

Oak Hotel. “With more than 145 different<br />

languages spoken in Houston, we were<br />

inspired to develop a diverse and cultured<br />

experience that pays homage to ancient<br />

traditions from masters around the world.”<br />

Another unique treatment is the“Ko Bi Do<br />

Lift.” Inspired by a Japanese wellness ritual,<br />

this is said to be "a highly effective and<br />

non-invasive face lift that begins with an<br />

in-depth purification of the skin. An intense<br />

massage lifting technique is performed,<br />

exercising the facial muscles and contouring<br />

the face for a toned, plump effect."<br />

Yet another exclusive to The Post Oak Hotel<br />

is the German-engineered and<br />

Italian-manufactured In-Skin facial system; a<br />

two-hour treatment featuring<br />

microdermabrasion, oxygen, LED lighting,<br />

radio frequency, electroporation, and air<br />

massage.<br />

Tepper said, “This In-Skin technology was<br />

only offered in Los Angeles until now. We<br />

know the importance of technology in today’s<br />

world; and this In-Skin treatment is truly a<br />

one-of-kind experience. Guests see<br />

immediate results.”<br />

Other partners include Jacqueline Piotaz,<br />

known for revolutionary and<br />

environmentally-friendly skincare products<br />

made in Switzerland; and Aromatherapy<br />

Associates of London.<br />

With the latter, The <strong>Spa</strong> takes personalization<br />

to another level with a “Bespoke<br />

Aromatherapy Journey.” This journey begins<br />

with a one-on-one consultation with the<br />

guest to develop a specialized formula of<br />

aromatherapy oils and practices specifically<br />

for that individual.<br />

Signature massages and treatments for men<br />

can also be found at The <strong>Spa</strong> at The Post<br />

Oak, including “The Modern Man’s Facial.”<br />

This treatment first softens the skin, heals<br />

bumps and revitalizes complexion using a<br />

potent multi-layer peel and anti-stress<br />

massage.<br />

News<br />

<strong>Spa</strong> <strong>Executive</strong> | 04

L'Occitane Group is buying<br />

Elemis for $900 million<br />

L'OCCITANE International S.A., a leading<br />

manufacturer and retailer of natural<br />

cosmetics with a portfolio of premium beauty<br />

brands, recently announced that it has<br />

entered into an agreement to acquire<br />

ELEMIS, the luxury British skincare brand, for<br />

$900 million in cash from Steiner Leisure<br />

Limited.<br />

Founded in 1990, ELEMIS is a world leader in<br />

prestige skincare and the number one<br />

independent British skincare brand. ELEMIS'<br />

prides itself on a strong cross-generational<br />

consumer appeal, “with a proven ability to<br />

attract Millennials while maintaining loyal Gen<br />

X and Baby Boomer consumers.”<br />

L'Occitane International S.A is a global leader<br />

in the premium beauty market that uses high<br />

quality products that respect nature and the<br />

environment. The group has more than 3,000<br />

retail outlets in 90 countries. ELEMIS will<br />

become part of a portfolio that includes<br />

L'OCCITANE en Provence, Melvita, Erborian,<br />

L'OCCITANE au Brésil, and LimeLife by<br />

Alcone.<br />

"We are pleased to welcome the ELEMIS<br />

business, brand and people to the<br />

L'OCCITANE family. It is a major step<br />

forward for L'OCCITANE in building a<br />

leading portfolio of premium beauty<br />

brands. ELEMIS is well positioned for<br />

continued global growth due to the<br />

brand's broad appeal, award-winning<br />

product portfolio, robust new product<br />

development pipeline and effective<br />

consumer-focused digital and<br />

brick-and-mortar distribution strategy.<br />

We have long admired ELEMIS for their<br />

commitment to natural ingredients and<br />

scientific innovation, and we look<br />

forward to utilizing our expertise in the<br />

category to expand the brand's footprint<br />

around the world."<br />

Reinold Geiger,<br />

Chairman and Chief <strong>Executive</strong> Officer<br />

L'occitane<br />

"We are thrilled to announce this<br />

agreement with L'OCCITANE, which will<br />

strengthen the continued growth and<br />

momentum behind our timeless brand<br />

and remarkably transformative products.<br />

Reinold Geiger has a strong history of<br />

developing and supporting brands like<br />

ours that are creating products sourced<br />

from nature and developed through<br />

cutting edge science and technology.<br />

With his inspiring and entrepreneurial<br />

leadership, I am confident that through<br />

this transaction, we can continue to<br />

realize our mission of delivering<br />

extraordinary products and experiences<br />

and grow ELEMIS into one of the leading<br />

skincare brands in the world."<br />

Sean Harrington,<br />

Co-Founder and Chief <strong>Executive</strong> Officer<br />

Elemis<br />

The purchase is expected to close in the first<br />

quarter of <strong>2019</strong>.<br />

L'OCCITANE has more than 90 spas in 30<br />

countries, including the UK, Japan, Brasil,<br />

and France. <strong>Spa</strong> L’OCCITANE comes in three<br />

different formats. These include “Flagship<br />

<strong>Spa</strong>s,” offering the ultimate brand experience<br />

in a luxurious setting; “<strong>Spa</strong>s By,” located in 5<br />

star hotels around the world; and “Petit <strong>Spa</strong>,”<br />

smaller spaces that are connected to<br />

L'OCCITANE stores.<br />

ELEMIS has three flagship spas: The House<br />

of ELEMIS London, ELEMIS Day <strong>Spa</strong> Miami,<br />

and ELEMIS Day <strong>Spa</strong> Bangkok. You will also<br />

find ELEMIS in the world’s 5 star resort spas<br />

and in more than 1600 independent spas<br />

around the world.<br />

05 | <strong>Spa</strong> <strong>Executive</strong> News

Langoustine tartare with caviar and cucumbers. La Grand’Vigne, Les Sources de Caudalie<br />

What’s on the<br />

food menu<br />

at 5 top spas around the world?<br />

You are what you eat, as we’ve been saying<br />

for as long as we can remember. So, when it<br />

comes to food, spas and wellness<br />

destinations should be putting a lot of<br />

thought into their culinary experiences.<br />

Food is a fundamental element of health and<br />

wellness and a key ingredient for getting the<br />

most out of life. It’s a simple pleasure and a<br />

daily requirement. The best spas turn<br />

sustenance into an exquisite experience for<br />

the senses that nourishes the bodies and<br />

minds of discerning guests. They also provide<br />

a culinary experience that aligns with their<br />

overall philosophy and guest experience.<br />

We reached out to five top, award-winning<br />

destination spas and asked: “What’s on the<br />

food menu?”<br />

Feature<br />

<strong>Spa</strong> <strong>Executive</strong> | 06

Les Sources de Caudalie – the<br />

wonders of the French paradox<br />

Bordeaux, France<br />

Restaurants: La Grand’Vigne, La Table du Lavoir,<br />

Rouge<br />

Located amidst the Grand Cru vineyards of<br />

Château Smith Haut Lafitte, Les Sources de<br />

Caudalie is a 5-star hotel and Vinothérapie<br />

<strong>Spa</strong>. Inspired by the “French Paradox,” a<br />

reference to a study finding that the French<br />

diet and lifestyle (high fat, rich sauces, and<br />

wine!) is conductive to good health, “Les<br />

Sources de Caudalie is a genuine source of<br />

wellbeing.”<br />

La Grand’Vigne chef Nicolas Masse has<br />

earned two Michelin Stars for making the<br />

most of carefully chosen ingredients to<br />

produce creative yet traditional dishes. La<br />

Grand’Vigne prides itself for serving honest,<br />

tasty, and healthy food. Amidst the Graves<br />

vineyards is an “ecosystem for the joy of<br />

living.” Chef Masse likes to feel close to this<br />

region and those who farm it.<br />

The menu at La Grand’Vigne features fish,<br />

cheeses, and meats, including a veal chop<br />

with black truffle and verjuice; and pigeon<br />

with corn and agen prune. Starters include<br />

“The Angry farm egg” with white asparagus,<br />

chlorophyll and jus de volaille. Dessert is<br />

lemon tart or ice cream with cognac.<br />

Chiva-Som – foundations of health<br />

and a source of pleasure<br />

Hua Hin, Thailand<br />

Restaurants: The Emerald Room, Taste of Siam<br />

A wellness retreat in the Thai seaside town of<br />

Hua Hin, Chiva-Som blends the art of ancient<br />

health practices with the vitality of innovative<br />

holistic therapies. Chiva-Som designs<br />

bespoke personal wellness programs based<br />

on six wellness modalities: spa,<br />

physiotherapy, holistic health, aesthetic<br />

beauty, fitness and, of course, nutrition.<br />

Cuisine at Chiva-Som is based on 10 pillars.<br />

Among these are using only organic,<br />

GMO-free and whole foods ingredients of<br />

superior nutritional quality, and reverence for<br />

the planet.<br />

Egg white congee with chicken, spring onion, ginger, and mushroom.<br />

The Chiva-Som food philosophy is also<br />

based on empowering the individual to<br />

restore and sustain wellness. Food at<br />

Chiva-Som is regarded as a foundation of<br />

health, as well as a source of pleasure.<br />

The menu includes Beef Broth, made with<br />

juniper, fresh rosemary, and fresh thyme; and<br />

Egg White Congee with chicken, spring<br />

onion, ginger, and mushroom.<br />

Canyon Ranch – simple pleasures<br />

that satisfy and nurture<br />

Tucson, AZ; Lenox MA, Las Vegas, NV – United<br />

States<br />

Congee is an easily digestible porridge said to promote<br />

good health and tonify Qi and blood. – Chiva-Som<br />

Restaurant: Canyon Ranch Grill<br />

Canyon Ranch is one of the top wellness<br />

destinations in America, offering luxury spa<br />

resort experiences on land and at sea. With<br />

locations in three states Canyon Ranch<br />

provides an immersive exploration of<br />

mind-body wellness in a relaxed, casually<br />

elegant setting.<br />

The food philosophy at Canyon Ranch is<br />

simple and consistent: “when you eat better,<br />

you feel better.” Canyon Ranch serves<br />

balanced, nutritious, soulful and honest<br />

“The Angry farm egg” with white asparagus, chlorophyll and jus de volaille. – Les Sources de Caudalie<br />

cooking.<br />

07 | <strong>Spa</strong> <strong>Executive</strong> Feature

“Ours is a contemporary, generous and<br />

satisfying cuisine that nourishes body, mind<br />

and soul. We are guided by the rhythm of the<br />

seasons and the simple pleasures of working<br />

with impeccable products. The end result is<br />

food you’ll love that will love you back.”<br />

The breakfast menu at the Canyon Ranch<br />

Grill in Las Vegas includes Organic Tofu<br />

Scramble, Strawberries and Cream Whole<br />

Grain Crepes with marscapone and toasted<br />

walnuts, and Avocado Toast with petite<br />

cilantro and piquillo peppers on artisan wheat<br />

Yum Sum-O Pomelo salad with minced chicken, shallot, red chilis, kaffir lime leaf, and mint. “Pomelo is packed with<br />

immunity-boosting vitamin C as well as body-balancing potassium, whilst the zing of chili helps fire up your metabolism<br />

and reduces inflammation.” – Kamalaya<br />

bread.<br />

The lodge focuses on sustainable living, and<br />

the culinary experience features locally grown<br />

produce and meats, including produce and<br />

herbs from one of the three on-property<br />

gardens.<br />

Kamalaya – Healing and quiet<br />

reflection<br />

Koh Samui, Thailand<br />

Restaurants: Soma Restaurant, Amrita Café,<br />

Alchemy Tea Lounge<br />

Avocado toast with petite cilantro, piquillo peppers, and Alaskan<br />

smoked salmon on artisan wheat bread – Canyon Ranch<br />

The Lodge at Woodloch –<br />

sustainable and creative<br />

Hawley, Pennsylvania – United States<br />

Restaurant: TREE restaurant and bar<br />

The Lodge at Woodloch, a luxury woodland<br />

retreat in the Pocono mountains of<br />

Pennsylvania, embraces a philosophy of<br />

“personal awakening.” A respite from the<br />

pressures of daily life, the Lodge at Woodloch<br />

provides the opportunity to reconnect to<br />

creative and stress-relieving outlets. These<br />

might include creative discovery workshops,<br />

fitness and wellness classes, outdoor<br />

adventures, cooking demonstrations and<br />

wine tastings, or speaker events.<br />

Located high in the tree tops with a view of a<br />

private lake, TREE Restaurant and Bar offers<br />

a diverse menu, and the chefs take pride in<br />

creating delectable dishes that are healthfully<br />

prepared with seasonal and locally-sourced<br />

ingredients.<br />

The menu at TREE includes steak frites and<br />

edamame dumplings for lunch. Dinner may<br />

include Filet Mignon au Poivre with broccolini<br />

and Hudson Whiskey peppercorn sauce,<br />

Maine Lobster Pappardelle Pasta with fresh<br />

tarragon and truffle pecorino, or Southwest<br />

BBQ Grilled Cauliflower Steak with black<br />

bean puree, pico de gallo, chimichurri sauce,<br />

and dark chocolate mole.<br />

Kamalaya Koh Samui is a Wellness<br />

Sanctuary and Holistic <strong>Spa</strong> resort on the<br />

southern coastline of Koh Samui, Thailand.<br />

Kamalaya is centered around a cave that<br />

once served Buddhist monks as a place of<br />

meditation and spiritual retreat. The resort<br />

offers a holistic wellness experience that<br />

integrates healing therapies from East and<br />

West, a breathtakingly beautiful natural<br />

environment, customized wellness programs<br />

and retreats, and inspired healthy cuisine.<br />

At Kamalaya food is a key to living a healthier,<br />

more vibrant life. Chef Kai Mueller’s Kamalaya<br />

Cuisine is based on principles of Asian<br />

healing traditions as well as the latest<br />

nutritional research. Principles for Kamalaya<br />

Cuisine include placing emphasis on high<br />

quality, fresh ingredients, and serving foods<br />

close to their natural state, without additives,<br />

preservatives, and artificial flavourings.<br />

The menu at Kamalaya includes Yum Sum-O<br />

Polemo Salad with minced chicken, shallot,<br />

red chilis, kaffir lime leaf, and mint.<br />

Feature<br />

Southwest BBQ Grilled Cauliflower Steak with black<br />

bean puree, pico de gallo, chimichurri sauce and dark<br />

chocolate mole. – The Lodge at Woodloch<br />

<strong>Spa</strong> <strong>Executive</strong> | 08

AccorHotels’<br />

Dan<br />

What make<br />

Daniel Poulin is the Director<br />

<strong>Spa</strong> & Fitness, North &<br />

Central America,<br />

AccorHotels.<br />

He oversees 18 spas, which include the<br />

world-renowned Fairmont properties, 60<br />

fitness facilities, and hundreds of recreation<br />

programs. Fairmont spas have won many<br />

accolades, including a Forbes 5-Star rating<br />

for the Fairmont Grand Del Mar, San Diego.<br />

Three Fairmont properties also recently<br />

earned spots on <strong>Spa</strong>s of America’s list of Top<br />

<strong>Spa</strong>s of 2018.<br />

Mr. Poulin’s career in the fitness and spa<br />

industry spans over 30 years, and he holds a<br />

Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology<br />

and a Master of Science degree in Nutrition<br />

with a specialization on exercise and breast<br />

cancer.<br />

09 | <strong>Spa</strong> <strong>Executive</strong> Spotlight

iel Poulin<br />

s a successful spa director?<br />

We spoke with Mr. Poulin about the<br />

personality traits that make a successful spa<br />

director, and what he’s doing to deal with the<br />

staffing shortage in the industry.<br />

What is the secret to being a<br />

successful Director of <strong>Spa</strong> and<br />

Fitness?<br />

important as well. Nerve is, for me, the ability<br />

to think outside the box, to not be afraid of<br />

challenge or to speak up. And, obviously,<br />

talent is something that you bring with you,<br />

and we expect you to bring that when you<br />

are coming to our property, but it is also<br />

something that I work very hard in developing<br />

in my team.<br />

The Hospitality Quotient, the HQ, is extremely<br />

important in our field. First and foremost, we<br />

are in the people business, and we use our<br />

spas, fitness and recreation programs, and<br />

facilities as our tools to connect with our<br />

guests. So, our spa directors need to be at a<br />

very high HQ in order to deliver on the<br />

experience.<br />

On a popular reality show they always say<br />

that you have to bring your charisma,<br />

uniqueness, nerve, and talent. This, I think, is<br />

what I'm bringing, and what I expect my team<br />

of 18 fantastic spa directors to bring.<br />

We are in the people business, so we have to<br />

be charismatic and engaging. Charisma also<br />

relates to relationship building. I'm a big<br />

believer in relationships. Uniqueness is being<br />

able to bring your personality -- what makes<br />

you yourself -- to the job. I think that's<br />

You’ve also mentioned the<br />

“Hospitality Quotient.” Talk to me<br />

about that.<br />

Danny Meyer, who owns the Gramercy<br />

Tavern in New York City, talks about<br />

“hospitality” versus “service.” In his words<br />

"Service is what you do to someone,” the<br />

procedures you have in place. “Hospitality,”<br />

on the other hand, is what we are doing to<br />

make people feel the experience.<br />

How do Fairmont spas stand out?<br />

What makes them unique or<br />

special?<br />

Fairmont is all about turning moments into<br />

memories. This is based on four pillars:<br />

Authentic Experiences: You don’t go<br />

to a luxury spa to receive a massage. You go<br />

to a luxury spa to have an experience.<br />

Spotlight<br />

<strong>Spa</strong> <strong>Executive</strong> | 10

We are in the people<br />

business, and we use our<br />

spas, fitness and<br />

recreation programs, and<br />

anticipation is that in a few years we may not<br />

be able to run our spas due to lack of<br />

therapists. So, we’ve been working with Zeel,<br />

which is the Uber of massage. And if things<br />

continue in this direction, and we aren’t able<br />

to find therapists in North and Central<br />

America, we're going to have to start hiring<br />

from abroad. In other parts of the world being<br />

a spa or massage therapist is still a<br />

profession that is very highly regarded.<br />

facilities as our tools to<br />

connect with our guests.<br />

Can you talk about any new<br />

developments or plans with any of<br />

your spas?<br />

There are far too many to fit in here! Accor<br />

Nurturing Environment: We create a<br />

sanctuary for our guests that is also social.<br />

That means a fun and social place that is<br />

safe, comfortable, welcoming, caring, clean,<br />

and uncluttered.<br />

Guided Journey: We guide each guest<br />

through a spa experience customized to their<br />

needs. The Guest Journey is authentically<br />

linked and seamlessly touches our five<br />

senses in each stage -- sight, touch, taste,<br />

sound, smell.<br />

Energized People: We measure our<br />

success by the level of positive energy in the<br />

spa. We look for the positive effects of people<br />

with good energy coming together. We call it<br />

the “synergy of energy.” That's what makes<br />

us so unique.<br />

How have your degrees in Nutrition<br />

Sciences and Exercise Sciences<br />

helped you succeed in this<br />

industry?<br />

I think it gives a certain weight to the<br />

programs that we launch because I make<br />

sure they are not just fads. <strong>Spa</strong> and fitness it<br />

one of the trendiest industries in the world.<br />

For example, something that is a meaningful<br />

industry development, rather than a trend or<br />

fad, is cancer awareness. The 2017 Global<br />

Wellness Summit identified cancer as<br />

something that should be addressed in spa<br />

and fitness, and that is what we are going to<br />

do. My Master of Science degree was on<br />

breast cancer and exercise. That means that<br />

I have extensive research on this, which<br />

allows me to get involved in a way that is<br />

coming from a place of education and<br />

understanding.<br />

Let’s talk about the ever-present<br />

issue of staffing and turnover<br />

This is such a well documented issue for the<br />

spa industry. The new generation in North<br />

America doesn't seem to want to go into spa<br />

therapy, or if they do, they want to open their<br />

own business. I approach massage schools<br />

and try to engage with them and inform them<br />

about the great opportunities we have. I think<br />

it’s important in terms of educating people<br />

about the benefits of working for a large hotel<br />

chain.<br />

We need to be prepared. Last year, ISPA<br />

conducted a lot of research on this and the<br />

has recently made some exciting purchases,<br />

including Mövenpick and 21C Museum. 21C<br />

is a very cool concept - the hotels are<br />

actually art museums. I’m very excited about<br />

that because it’s an aspect of wellness that<br />

we don’t see often: mindfulness is the idea of<br />

stopping and taking the time, in this case, to<br />

look at some art. They also have spa and<br />

fitness.<br />

We also have some great openings in <strong>2019</strong>,<br />

like the Fairmont Century Plaza in Los<br />

Angeles. That is an iconic building that’s<br />

being completely gutted and rebuilt and will<br />

be opening in <strong>2019</strong> with an unbelievable spa,<br />

very cutting edge. It's going to be a flagship<br />

for Fairmont. We also have our first SO/<br />

opening in Havana, in Cuba. SO/ is the cooler<br />

sister of Sofitel. It will have obviously a spa<br />

and fitness so that's very exciting.<br />

Those are just a few of the many things I’m<br />

really excited about.<br />

11 | <strong>Spa</strong> <strong>Executive</strong> Spotlight

6common<br />

mistakes<br />

spa managers<br />

make<br />

Being a spa manager is a lot of work and<br />

requires constant learning.<br />

This isn’t specific to spa, of course. The best<br />

leaders never stop learning, and they also<br />

make a lot of mistakes. Behind every leader is<br />

a road littered with errors. Making them is<br />

normal and a part of the process. Correcting<br />

them and learning from them, however, is the<br />

key to success.<br />

We looked over some interviews we’ve done<br />

with experts in the industry, and found a lot of<br />

valuable insight in their comments, which<br />

outline common errors spa managers make.<br />

And we’re listing them here, so that you can,<br />

ideally, avoid doing the same yourself.<br />

These are some of the common mistakes<br />

spa managers make.<br />

1<br />

Jumping on bandwagons<br />

<strong>Spa</strong> and fitness are among the trendiest<br />

industries there are. Wellness is a heavily<br />

trafficked road of bandwagons, and if you<br />

miss one, there will be another along any<br />

minute. Trent Munday, Senior Vice President<br />

at Mandara <strong>Spa</strong>, recently told us he has “a bit<br />

of an issue with the <strong>Spa</strong> Trends lists that get<br />

trotted out each year.” He explained, “My<br />

concern is that often times these are really<br />

fads, not trends. These fads are fueled by an<br />

overwhelming desire to find something new<br />

to talk about. Fads in and of themselves are<br />

no problem. Where they do become<br />

troublesome is when a business makes<br />

investments in products and equipment<br />

based on tends that turn out to be fads.<br />

Once the fad fades away, that business is left<br />

holding the bag in terms of its investment.”<br />

“<br />

Once the fad<br />

fades away,<br />

that business<br />

is left holding<br />

the bag in<br />

terms of its<br />

investment.<br />

Trent Munday,<br />

Senior Vice President<br />

Mandara <strong>Spa</strong><br />

13 | <strong>Spa</strong> <strong>Executive</strong> Management

2<br />

Being all business<br />

Carlos Calvo Rodriguez, Corporate Director<br />

of <strong>Spa</strong> Training at Shangri-La Hotels and<br />

Resorts, once said in an interview with <strong>Spa</strong><br />

<strong>Executive</strong> for a special report on staffing that<br />

most spa managers are good at either<br />

business or treatment, but almost never both.<br />

“People either climb up the ladder through<br />

one direction or the other, but they very rarely<br />

have both skills,” he said. “The people who<br />

are strong in the business side tend to burn<br />

out therapists and staff by pushing too hard.”<br />

This leads to high staff turnover because<br />

people can’t keep up with the workload, and<br />

it’s hard to maintain a business when you<br />

need to keep replacing your staff. <strong>Spa</strong> staff<br />

have jobs that are more physically and<br />

psychologically taxing than many. The best<br />

managers keep this in mind and are sensitive<br />

to it.<br />

3<br />

Not focusing enough on<br />

business<br />

A spa manager does, however, have to know<br />

something about the other side of things.<br />

Calvo Rodriguez told us, “When you are only<br />

good at the treatment or skills side, there’s no<br />

profitability because there’s no business<br />

acumen. The treatments might be really good<br />

but people don’t know about them. So, the<br />

spa just is not profitable.” No matter how<br />

great those therapists are, if a manager can’t<br />

run operations, it’s just not going to work.<br />

4<br />

Not promoting from within<br />

One study on this subject showed that,<br />

across all industries, more than 80% of<br />

workers had to move on to move up due to<br />

companies’ refusal to promote from within.<br />

And the tendency to look outside for<br />

managerial staff can hurt spas in more ways<br />

than one. It leads to high turnover, and to<br />

leaders who don’t understand both sides of<br />

the business. As Deirdre Strunk, Vice<br />

President of <strong>Spa</strong>, Fitness and Beauty at<br />

Canyon Ranch, recently told us, “Promotion<br />

from within is ideal because those leaders<br />

understand your business and have<br />

established relationships with team<br />

members.” That new leader may be missing<br />

some key skills, but if they have been working<br />

with you for some time, they will be starting<br />

with a valuable foundation that is hard to find<br />

elsewhere.<br />

“<br />

When you<br />

are only<br />

good at the<br />

treatment or<br />

skills side,<br />

there’s no<br />

profitability<br />

because<br />

there’s no<br />

business<br />

acumen.<br />

Carlos Calvo Rodriguez,<br />

Corporate Director of <strong>Spa</strong> Training<br />

Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts<br />

5<br />

Not properly training spa<br />

managers<br />

Carlos Calvo Rodriguez also told us he<br />

thought it unfortunate that the industry puts<br />

all its focus on training therapists or spa<br />

attendants, and neglects to train managers.<br />

Kathryn Moore, Founder and Managing<br />

Director at <strong>Spa</strong> Connectors, who also spoke<br />

to us for the special report on staffing,<br />

agreed. She said, “In some cases they’re<br />

running these huge assets, multi million dollar<br />

spas, and they’re not making any money. It’s<br />

dead, because they don’t know how to do<br />

the sales and marketing; they don’t know<br />

how to manage the team; to performance<br />

manage, to run a training schedule; they<br />

don’t know how to make sure the inventory is<br />

looked after. So, there’s stock on the shelves<br />

that’s been there forever, or is expired, or<br />

stolen. We’re expecting these kids to run<br />

businesses without teaching them how.”<br />

Unless managers are properly trained, spas<br />

will continue to struggle.<br />

6<br />

Keeping your distance<br />

Shane Bird, Director of <strong>Spa</strong> at Turning Stone<br />

Resort and Casino, told us recently that the<br />

key to managing a successful team is “being<br />

willing as a manager or director to do<br />

everything, and to really get in the trenches.<br />

To be able to get in there and work with<br />

someone, whether it’s at the front desk or<br />

collecting towels, and to do whatever they are<br />

doing.” He added, “You cannot stay in an<br />

office. Your team has to see you engaging the<br />

guests in the way you want the guests<br />

engaged. It’s being a part of the everyday<br />

operations as much as you possibly can.” In<br />

order to manage a team, one has to<br />

understand that team. To understand people,<br />

you must know them, and you can’t do that<br />

with a door between you.<br />

Management<br />

<strong>Spa</strong> <strong>Executive</strong> | 14

5 ways to make your customer<br />

experience effortless yet human<br />

<strong>Spa</strong> time isn’t just about taking a break; it’s an escape!<br />

Written by Snehaa Karthik<br />

Customers are looking for an escape from<br />

the stresses of daily life, and to slip into a<br />

cocoon of happiness. They want to be<br />

pampered and made to feel special. Even the<br />

smallest of interruptions will be remembered<br />

-- and not with fondness.<br />

Sound tough? Customer experience is as<br />

difficult to manage as it is important. Don’t<br />

worry. We’ve got some simple yet effective<br />

things you can do to improve the customer<br />

experience at your spa by personalizing it<br />

with a human touch.<br />

Here are five tips for delivering an incredible<br />

customer experience:<br />

1<br />

Make the experience a<br />

seamless one<br />

Imagine your customer walks into the spa,<br />

gives their name and information, almost<br />

immediately walks into a treatment room, and<br />

walks out with a smile on their face Wouldn’t<br />

that be perfect?<br />

What if your customers didn’t have to spend<br />

the first part of every visit filling out forms?<br />

After all, no one likes to wait. Especially, when<br />

they had to make time in a busy schedule to<br />

fit in a spa appointment. Wouldn’t it be great<br />

if they could fill out the forms at their own<br />

convenience before arriving at the spa?<br />

Technology makes it possible for you to send<br />

out an online form with your confirmation<br />

emails or texts. Guest Intake, for example, a<br />

HIPAA compliant solution that integrates with<br />

most spa management softwares,allows you<br />

o have your forms and waivers filled in<br />

beforehand, and to maintain your records for<br />

compliance audits. It also syncs the<br />

information with the customer profile, so they<br />

only have to provide this information once,<br />

even if they come back to your spa.<br />

15 | <strong>Spa</strong> <strong>Executive</strong> Insights

2 Enhance the waiting experience 3 Watch your language<br />

Let’s dive into this with a comparison, shall<br />

we?<br />

Situation 1:<br />

You are sitting in a well-lit room with chairs<br />

and a couch, with a few magazines to look at<br />

while you wait for your service to begin. You<br />

get to choose from water, green tea, or juice<br />

to drink.<br />

Situation 2:<br />

The seating is so comfortable you could sink<br />

into it, and the atmosphere so relaxing you<br />

could just close your eyes and listen to the<br />

calm surrounding you (but there are<br />

magazines to flip through if you want them).<br />

The lighting is soft, but not so low that you<br />

can’t see. A soothing aroma engulfs you.<br />

Someone walks in to ask if you’ll have your<br />

preferred chamomile tea as usual or if you felt<br />

like something else today.<br />

Which of these two<br />

situations would you<br />

prefer?<br />

This is what we mean when we say that there<br />

is good customer experience and great<br />

customer experience. The latter is what one<br />

might call “great.” And yes, you can deliver<br />

these standards even if you aren’t a luxury<br />

space with high ticket prices. All you need is<br />

the right spa software that will let you keep<br />

track of your customer preferences in<br />

addition to a space designed to feel<br />

welcoming and relaxing (even if it is not huge<br />

or luxurious). Taking care of the little things<br />

makes a huge difference.<br />

A “so glad to have you with us today” instead<br />

of a “welcome” can completely change the<br />

way your customer feels about their visit.<br />

You can make your customers feel like they<br />

are valued and special by choosing the right<br />

words. Sometimes this takes a little tweaking.<br />

Script it, try it, and pay attention to how your<br />

customers respond. Keep refining your script<br />

until you find what works best, and make<br />

sure your staff is trained to speak to guests in<br />

the way you decide they should be spoken<br />

to.<br />

If you’re looking for inspiration, visit five star<br />

spas and pay attention to the language they<br />

use and how they speak to their customers.<br />

Communication is an art, and perfecting<br />

one’s art takes practice.<br />

4<br />

Orient the guest in your space<br />

Imagine walking out of a sauna and not being<br />

able to find your way to the changing room. It<br />

doesn’t feel very relaxing, does it?<br />

Nobody likes to feel lost. That’s exactly how a<br />

new customer feels when they visit a spa for<br />

the first time. It is human nature to want to<br />

avoid being in uncomfortable and/or<br />

embarrassing situations. Always give your<br />

new customers a tour of the facility and help<br />

them adjust to the environment. Show them<br />

where the washrooms and change rooms<br />

are. Ask your repeat customers if they<br />

remember their way around and let them<br />

know they can reach out to any of the staff<br />

members if they need anything.<br />

You want your guests to feel at home, and<br />

everyone knows their way around their own<br />

home.<br />

5<br />

Personalize your product<br />

recommendations<br />

Retail sales are one of a spa’s biggest<br />

challenges. With e-commerce offering huge<br />

discounts and same-day deliveries,<br />

competition is fierce. But you have an<br />

advantage over the giants: you know your<br />

guests. One thing you can offer your<br />

customers that an e-commerce giant can’t is<br />

personalized recommendations based on<br />

your direct relationships with your guests.<br />

Take advantage of that. Familiarize all of your<br />

employees with the features and benefits of<br />

all the products you stock. Your therapists<br />

might be making the recommendations and<br />

initiating the sale but it’s the front desk that<br />

closes it. So, your front desk should also<br />

know your products well. And if a<br />

recommended product is out of stock, make<br />

sure everyone knows what to recommend<br />

instead, so you don’t lose revenue in retail<br />

sales.<br />

Keeping notes is an important part of this<br />

process. Your spa software should allow you<br />

to keep detailed customer profiles and<br />

automatically sync any product purchases to<br />

their profile.<br />

This allows you to ask questions like, “Would<br />

you like to replace the shampoo and<br />

conditioner you got from us four months<br />

ago?” Or “Since you love our aromatherapy<br />

massages so much, would you like to buy the<br />

chamomile oil from our professional series?”<br />

These are all simple changes to implement. It<br />

just means taking the time to train your staff<br />

to engage with customers on a personal level<br />

with professionalism. You and your team can<br />

create lasting memories for your customers.<br />

That’s the first step towards improving your<br />

customer experience.<br />

Insights<br />

<strong>Spa</strong> <strong>Executive</strong> | 16

Naked Labs’ affordable 3D body scanner<br />

Introducing a new, affordable 3D body<br />

scanner by Naked Labs Inc.<br />

The Naked 3D Fitness Tracker, or simply<br />

“Naked,” is the world’s first 3D body scanner<br />

designed for home use, and it retails for<br />

significantly less than other 3D scanners.<br />

Naked includes a full-length 3D scanning<br />

smart mirror with a connected rotating scale<br />

-- or “turntable” -- and companion mobile<br />

app. The technology consists of a scale that<br />

rotates the user 360 degrees in 15 seconds<br />

in front of a WiFi/Bluetooth-enabled mirror<br />

that uses cameras to construct a 3D body<br />

model. After scanning, users can view their<br />

scan in the mobile app to see a full suite of<br />

metrics including body fat percentage, lean<br />

mass and fat mass, circumferences,<br />

side-by-side comparisons, and historical<br />

data. The technology allows users to track<br />

how their bodies change over time.<br />

Naked Labs co-founder and CEO Farhad<br />

Farahbakhshian came up with the idea for<br />

Naked while working as a spin instructor in<br />

the San Francisco Bay Area. Farahbakhshian<br />

repeatedly witnessed discouraged gym goers<br />

abandoning their fitness goals because they<br />

weren’t seeing visible results, even though<br />

they were actually making progress. The idea<br />

was to design something that would allow<br />

people to see those changes that weren’t<br />

visible to the naked eye, or through unreliable<br />

methods like scales and selfies, and keep<br />

them motivated to continue.<br />

From the media release:<br />

“Naked Labs believes that every body has a<br />

story. Giving people the opportunity to see<br />

themselves in an objective, visual way reveals<br />

the impact that diet, exercise, and other daily<br />

decisions has on the body. Additionally, 3D<br />

scans show progress faster than anything<br />

else, keeping users motivated and<br />

accountable. Democratizing this information<br />

— previously available only in gyms and<br />

medical facilities — empowers the individual<br />

to take control of his or her own body story.”<br />

“We have been looking forward to this day for<br />

a long time,” said Farahbakhshian. “Today,<br />

people are searching for evidence-based<br />

methods to track health and fitness that<br />

aren’t solely focused on weight. We are<br />

excited to get Naked into people’s homes to<br />

give them better insight into exactly what’s<br />

going on in their body and help them work<br />

towards their goals.”<br />

Most other available body scanners are<br />

designed for business use, and retail for<br />

between 10,000 USD and upwards of<br />

$100,000 USD. The Naked 3D Fitness<br />

Tracker is available in the U.S. for $1,395 at<br />

www.nakedlabs.com. The companion Naked<br />

app is free to download.<br />

17 | <strong>Spa</strong> <strong>Executive</strong> Technology

Beautiful community<br />

sauna opens in former<br />

railway station warehouse<br />

Take a look at this communal sauna, which<br />

opened recently in Tampere, Finland, the<br />

international “sauna capital of the world.”<br />

The sauna is designed by Studio Puisto and<br />

is called the Tullin Sauna, which translates to<br />

“customs sauna.” Constructed in what was<br />

formerly a warehouse for the nearby railway<br />

station, Tullin Sauna is a public sauna that<br />

functions as a related extension to Dream<br />

Hotel, also designed by Studio Puisto<br />

Architects, and located across the street.<br />

Designed to be a reprieve from the bustle of<br />

urban life, the Tullin is tucked in the heart of a<br />

former industrial red-brick neighborhood. The<br />

project’s name takes root in local customs,<br />

and the purpose is to create a gathering<br />

place for residents and visitors.<br />

Tullin is designed to serve as a korttelisauna,<br />

or “neighborhood sauna.” The 19th century<br />

was a time when space in Finnish cities was<br />

limited and many homes were too small to<br />

have their own washrooms. So,<br />

korttelisaunas were built to serve as<br />

communal bathing areas. These ultimately<br />

took on the role of gathering places where<br />

people came together to bathe and socialize.<br />

Growth<br />

<strong>Spa</strong> <strong>Executive</strong> | 18

19 | <strong>Spa</strong> <strong>Executive</strong> Growth

The building also houses a co-working space<br />

and a bistro, and serves as a communal space<br />

for locals, as well as the guests of the Dream Hotel.<br />

One of the most prominent materials is<br />

natural, warm Finnish pine to contrast with<br />

the cooler, rougher concrete textures of the<br />

warehouse. The building features traditional<br />

wood-burning Finnish saunas constructed by<br />

local craftsmen.<br />

To keep the feel of the space, including the<br />

bistro and co-working space, true to the<br />

ritualistic calm that it represents, one of the<br />

log saunas physically cuts into the reception<br />

and bistro with a small but tinted window<br />

offering a peek inside. Adding to this effect,<br />

the exterior windows are given a soft and<br />

milky appearance to make it seem like they<br />

are fogged up from by the sauna’s steam.<br />

Growth<br />

<strong>Spa</strong> <strong>Executive</strong> | 20

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