Spa: A Comprehensive Introduction
Proliferation of Spa
As the twenty-first century dawned, the term spa was more clearly understood than ever, the spa lifestyle was more incorporated into the mainstream culture and the idea that the word “spa” could add value to nearly any business concept resulted in a proliferation of the word “spa” in many unlikely applications.
Spa had come to connote luxury, enhanced value, pampering, nurturing, and health. The term spa began to show up in surprising places. Legitimately, dental practices, airports, hospitals, malls, residential communities, private clubs, and other businesses all began to incorporate elements of the spa experience into their business models.
Branding the Spa Experience
Branding is the natural hallmark of a maturing industry. The spa industry is no exception. As it developed and grew, certain brands naturally evolved. There was also increasing interest on the part of investors and owners to brand the spa experience to increase market share and profitability. The first recognized spa brand was The Red Door, which evolved from the original concept Elizabeth Arden established in the early 1900s. Other brands, such as Canyon Ranch SpaClub and The Golden Door, grew out of the strong name recognition they had earned as popular trendsetters.
New and Emerging Spa Concepts
As the number of spa locations has increased dramatically over the past two decades, a flurry of classifications have become necessary to categorize the array of spa experiences being offered in the market. It also became necessary to distinguish spas from those businesses that simply offered one or two spa services as an adjunct to their main business.
Spa Culture and the Service Ethic
To characterize excellent service before the proliferation of spa, one might use words like professional, detached, smiling, gracious, and polite. Many of these words can still be used to characterize excellent service today, however, consumers might add: caring, personable, engaged, empathetic, and genuine to that list.
When spas became a part of hospitality, the service ethic changed as a result of shepherding guests through a variety of intensely personal experiences. It had the effect of closing the distance between the server and the served. Spa technicians were more than specialists, they were entering a gray area that was part servant, but also part therapist, part healer, part hand holder, part confidante. Spa therapists learn things about the people they work with, and being known opens people up to a different experience of service, and different expectations of being served.
Spa culture continually challenges the service ethic to be more aware, more empathetic, and more sensitive to the core components of leisure: reconnection and total well being.
Retail Management for Spas
During the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries numerous European spas ﬂourished and were supported with full medical staffs and professional personnel. Typically spa visitors were sent to a resort spa by their home doctors in order to “take the waters” and “make a cure.”
Spas have long centered around responding to the needs of people to ﬁnd relief from stress, improve their health, and enhance their overall wellness. Spas design their treatment menus around meeting these guest needs. The retail environment of a spa is a part of that entire package, one that complements and supports the spa’s philosophy.
Bob Hope was known to mention the beneﬁts of his daily massage for feeling so well in his later life. Unfortunately, it is the rareﬁed few who will enjoy the beneﬁts of a daily treatment. This is one of the reasons that retail ﬁts in with the overall purpose of spa.
The word “retail” covers a broad expanse of businesses. It can cover anyone who sells anything in small quantities to the person who will consume those items. Retail stores take on a lot of different appearances. They can be huge department stores, small souvenir shops, arts and craft booths, or gift shops.
Even in the spa environment there is no single picture that illustrates retail. Rather there is a collage of portraits ranging from shelves in a hallway to large boutiques to cozy lounges to shiny displays.
When it comes to retail, there are a lot of players who contribute to making it a success. There are partners, such as the media, ﬁnancial institutions, local businesses, and charitable organizations, all of which can also help a spa business grow and succeed.
Uniform System of Financial Reporting for Spas
A uniform system of financial reporting establishes standardized formats and account classifications to guide individuals in the preparation and presentation of financial statements. The recommendations set forth in this uniform system are based on a consensus of spa industry financial executives, public accounting authorities, consulting specialists, and a leading academy expert, and are consistent with generally accepted accounting principles.
Financial Management for Spas
This text is intended to provide spa beginners and veterans alike with a better understanding of financial management. Our hope is that you will learn to embrace the accounting process and to understand that, while accounting is in many ways a science, there is also an art to financial management. In the end, you will be able to appreciate the beauty in numbers.
Spa Operations Manual
The customizable manual includes comprehensive materials for spa job descriptions, new hire checklists, standard departmental information, specific departmental procedures, staff training, common spa treatments, reference guide templates and more.