92. Start a Spa Resort & Health Centre
In 2010, spas were a $12.8 billion industry with more than 19,900 locations receiving more than 150 million visits. While the industry continues its explosive growth, it also grows increasingly competitive with customers becoming more demanding and savvy about the spa experience. Even amid the recession, this industry continued to grow. To be successful, however, requires a commitment from the spa owner and managers to an industry that focuses on wellness, health and pampering.
The idea of starting a spa business and owning our own health spa arose from three main motivations: to let people know about the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle, working in a truly stimulating, beautiful environment and the freedom one gets by being your own boss. The fact that one can, if successful, earn a good income was clearly not overlooked but is indeed the most uncertain issue as it depends on a number of influences, which one can only partially or not control at all (e.g. a general economic crisis). In contrast, the first three facts will always be part of your lifestyle as a spa owner and are there to stay
To live and work in a health spa is certainly a privilege, in spite of all the hard work it requires to get and keep the place in top shape. The smell of aroma oils and the sound of spiritual music in the rooms and relaxation areas, the availability of herbal teas and light snacks and salads throughout the day, and the possibility of enjoying inhouse fitness center, sauna annd steam bath (and even a massage from time to time), which employer can compete with such an environment.
Starting A Spa Business – The Seven Key Strategies
As a future or existing spa or salon owner, you need to have a clear picture about the key strategies, which you have to understand and ensure that they are applied on a day-to-day basis by management and every staff member. It is my experience that as soon as the owner loses sight of one of those even for a short period of time, things start to deteriorate. This will be reflected mostly sooner than later in your income situation and not long afterwards will affect the image of your establishment too.Seven Success Strategies are:
1. It all starts with having a clear vision, what kind of spa or salon you want to have. Many owners neglect that point and believe they get away with what others have done, basically copying their operation. Your vision to create something beyond the standard in the marketplace makes or breaks your future success. All other strategies only have one purpose: to make such vision everyday reality!
2. The second strategy is to materialize your vision in form of your spa location, interior design and products and services you will offer. If all those elements do not reflect your vision in a homogenous manner, you will never be able to exceed mediocrity and come to fame. Where should fame come from?
3. Strategy number 3 is the human element. Your staff has to be educated to live that vision. The fact that your clients may be in a very special, beautiful environment does not mean thay they feel special while being there. People only feel special, if they are treated in a special, not the common way. Common is that everybody does care for him-/herself. But if you get genuine attention and care from somebody, you automatically feel special, appreciated, worthy. For such an experience people are prepared to pay money, good money. Your staff must understand that (again and again) to their own benefit (tips!).
4. If your staff practices all those elements, it will be your job to ensure that it is practiced by everybody every day. In other words, be there to enforce and control that continuity and consistency in high quality services is what your clients are getting each and every time they come for a visit. Mc Donald’s is a success story just because of that and not because their hamburgers taste better than all others in town.
5. Strategy number 5 is to create an automatism (procedures), which ensures that consistency. Without precise and transparent rules, which all staff has to adhere to, believe me, you will lose that battle. Staff wants to maximize their life, not yours. So don’t fool yourself, they will always try to make their life more comfortable and some are very smart in doing so – at the expense of the owner. Trust is good but control is better, I even say absolutely necessary in a spa operation!
6. It is no rocket science that a business needs traffic, which is another word for customers.
Customers may come, if they know about your existence and when they believe they get something, which helps or pleases them. Word-of-mouth is known to be always the best marketing you can ever have but at the beginning, it simply does not exist. So your strategy has to be to be creative in marketing your place. We are living in the internet age, where there is no shortage of incredible opportunities to get the word out, locally and beyond. No excuses for not making clever use of those!
7. Strategy number seven is to be on top of things, knowing, where your business is earning money and where it is losing it. This looks rather obvious at a first glance, but diving a little deeper, trust me, you may discover that even relatively harmless looking matters drain your income to a frightening degree. Find those leaks early enough before serious damage is done. As important is clearly to maximise turnover, not missing real income opportunities.
If you feel it would be worthwhile to enter into the various issues in more detail, the access is just a mouse click away.
Here come my tips for starting a spa business, which I recommend to study and follow carefully in order to avoid the mistakes, which has cost me thousands of dollars and a lot of time.
1. Don’t compromise with the interior fixtures as once it is done, it will be very difficult – if not impossible – and expensive to change. Rather spend a few dollars more, so that you (and your clients) are happy for a long time.
2. Select carefully your equipment and negotiate prices. Especially in a weak economy, suppliers are keen for your order, a fact you can take advantage of and which will save you a lot of money Look for well-maintained 2nd hand equipment, if you have a tight budget. It can be as good as new for half price or less.
3. Don’t forget to implement the three basic, often neclected facilities: kitchenette for preparing drinks and snacks (often forgotten in salons), a staff rest room, and sufficient storage space (towels, products,….). It is very frustrating later if those are improvised last minute or unavailable.
4. Select your skin care range less as per your personal liking but rather from an economic and clients point of view. Look at issues like completeness including samples (!), retail affordability for the majority of your clients, and good customer service. Before deciding, ask other (local) users (spa/salon owners) about their satisfaction with the supplier. Don’t forget, you may get a worldwide brand but with bad local management having a lousy service mentality!
5. Starting a spa business means beginning your marketing well in advance of your planned opening date, otherwise you and your staff can play monopoly all day. The absolute minimum is 3 months, even better 6 months ahead. Create a buzz, even if your place is or looks like a construction site at that moment.
6. Select your most valuable asset, your staff, not last minute in a rush. How good the applicants CV may look, ask the people, who employed them before, for their opinion. Some girls are masters in acting like Hollywood starlets! Just believe in hard, objective facts, not words and appearance.
7. Try, if ever possible, to get all staff first on a probation contract for 3 months. Make sure (or enforce) that you can dismiss them for all relevant reasons. A wrong selection and a permanent contract is bad news. Worse news I can see only in having no clients at all.
8. Put in place a strict control mechanism for your staff right from the beginning. Once you allow them privileges and are generous with punctuality, treatment time and product spending, it will be difficult, if not impossible to correct their habits later. And even worse, staff will expand on those “luxuries” seeing that they do get away with it. Here you are risking the future of your business!
9. Look early for someone (manager), whom you can trust to run the business for you for at least a week or two. There can always be a reason that you are unable to run the show (sickness, family matters, business travel etc). If there is nobody with that quality, it can mean a substantial financial drop in that period and worse – significant image damage.
10. Last but not least, have no illusions: you are in not for a 8 to 5 job and there will be no holidays for quite some time to come. Make sure that you have the full support of your family and enough financial backing as the cash flow projections are nearly always much too optimistic. Yours will hardly be the exception to the rule!
India’s famous Spa Training Institute Is Ananda . It is India’s premier spa operator, IHHR Hospitality Pvt. Ltd., has started the Ananda Spa Institute in Hyderabad in March 2008. Jane Crebbin-Bailey of UK based international spa consultants, HCB Associates, has been advising Mrs. Neelam Khanna of IHHR Hospitality on the project since its inception in July 2005.
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