Read Gerry Hickel’s thorough examination of the do’s and don’ts of spa management contracts.
This text is designed to help spa directors, owners, managers and suppliers better understand the full scope of operational procedures that can be implemented in order to run an effective spa.
The modern spa era saw spas shift from their ancient medical and spiritual emphasis to today’s corporate model that primarily focuses on beauty, fitness, and wellness.
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Philosophy of Spa
Philosophy is often considered a foundation upon which people build their knowledge and belief structures. The Greek word for philosophy translates to “love of wisdom.” It is appropriate then, that this text begins its exploration of spa by delving beyond the business models and types of treatments to take a close look at the wisdom and “why” of spa philosophy encompasses the deeper meaning and sacred significance of spa.
Most of the world begins its definition of spa with water. Without water, most say, there is no spa. The original spas—mineral springs and hot springs—have been a part of relaxation and healing in many cultures for millennia. Towns with hot springs grew into popular destinations for holiday retreats.
Variations of Spa
There are many approaches to spa throughout the world and each spa provides services according to its own unique vision and mission. As the number of spa locations increased dramatically during the 1990s and into this century, classifications became necessary to categorize the array of spa experiences being offered in the market.
When spa-goers talk about spa, the language they use includes such words as:
These images and associations create exceedingly high expectations among guests for their visits to spas. They expect from spas deep gratification, or something close to it. Their high expectations derive, in part, from the way the word “spa” stands in their minds as a symbolic promise of unusually meaningful and pleasurable life experiences.
Interpretation of Spa
While spa professionals can research those using spas, people will continue to approach the spa world with their own interpretations. Individuals will come to spas with different needs and receive different benefits. Spas will offer a variety of services and build their mission around those needs they can best meet.
Business and Philosophy of Spa Working in Harmony
While spas are about healing people, they are also businesses that can survive to do good work only if financially stable and operating on a sound business model. Spa professionals have the challenge of ensuring that they operate as a business while staying true to the mission of spa.
Just as spas teach balance to their guests, they themselves must practice balance by keeping the business and philosophy working in harmony. Spas exist to put other people first and care for them. It is a service to humanity that goes beyond profit and spa professionals must enjoy doing it to be successful.
How does a spa go about keeping its “spa-ness” without becoming simply a retail provider of services? It begins with spa professionals. Spa professionals have to believe in and be connected to the spa concept and the spa experience. Business development begins with personal development. They also have to have sincere conversations with their guests and find out what their guests need and desire.