Spa Events in the News
Review of The Canadian Spa Industry Conference
and Trade Show presented by Leading Spas of Canada in Vancouver, British
Columbia, Canada on April 9-11, 2006
I was one of over 300 attendees at The Canadian Spa Industry Conference and Trade Show presented by Leading Spas of Canada on April 9-11, 2006 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Vancouver, British Columbia. There were a lot of activities to choose from at any given time - speakers, demonstrations, entertainment, wellness treatments, silent auction, raffles, live auction, networking opportunities and more. While there was a lot going on, the size was intimate and allowed for a lot of opportunities to renew and make new contacts.
Community Welcome Reception
Jack Morrison, President for the Conference Board Committee of the Leading Spas of Canada and Pat Corbit, past president kicked off the Community Welcome Reception on Sunday night in the Exhibit Hall. We were blessed and entertained by traditional songs and dances of the Gitksan Dance Collective who performed ancient First Nation masked dances that told the stories of the house of Hagbegwatku, originally from the Skeena river area in NW BC. At the same time, food and drink were served and the exhibitions were opened.
Dr. Meg Jordan, a medical anthropologist, presented the first keynote presentation on Monday - How Spas are Evolving the Worldview on Wellness. Described as a blend of Indiana Jones and Crocodile Dundee with an air of mysticism, Dr. Jordan provided a fascinating view into some healing (an some not so healing) practices of a variety of cultures and pointed out not all indigenous medical traditions need to be saved. She noted definitions of wellness, dimensions of wellness, the health and wellness paradox, globesity and the worldwide spread of type 2 Diabetes, the WHO's statement that socio-economics is the primary determining factor for overall health and longevity, and that health marketing was a runaway train. She said wellness is achieved by personal responsibility within a culture of support and we were in toxic overload - tobacco use, poor diet and environment (7,000 chemicals have been released in the last three years without any proof of safety). She stated that detoxification will become a pillar of healthy living. Botanicals can attract and escort toxins from the body. She noted that spas are health centers that attract people in need of healing (including staff) and that "medicine is part of your place." She suggested that spas hold weekly cleansing meetings for staff in a safe environment with an atmosphere of openness and inclusion. She recommended spas offer individually tailored services and programs based on client's Myers-Briggs and Enneagram profiles. For examplbe, personality-driven fitness programs can be created for racers, dancers, trekkers and strollers. She believes future healing tools will be light, color, sound and imagery - non-toxic and work by stealth entry (similar to homeopathy).
New Spa Research Results were presented at Monday afternoon's keynote presentation. A joint venture of the Canadian tourism commission, ISPA and Provincial/Regional tourism agencies has produced an 84-page study that explores the unique characteristics of the US and Canadian spa-traveller (as opposed to the spa-goer). The research reveals the spa-traveller behaves quite differently than the spa-goer. While the spa-goer generally approaches his or her dates at the spa as a key part of a long-term health and wellness strategy, the spa-traveller is looking to splurge and indulge. In vacation mode, the spa-traveller is motivated by various factors including culture, history, cuisine, sightseeing and education. The full study, Identifying the Spa Traveler: A Look at US and Canadian Consumer Attitudes and Motivators for Spa Vacations (2006) can be found at CanadaTourism.com. For this study, a "spa" was defined as an establishment that offers at least two of the following three kinds of services: full body massage, skincare treatments (such as facials), and body treatments (such as hydrotherapy or body wraps and scrubs). We were also given a sneak prevue of research profiling the Canadian spa sector - the state of the spa industry. Final approval of the report was not yet given at the time of this report, so no details can be shared.
During this three-hour presentation, Andrew discussed in detail eight key business strategies - 1) create a powerful three-year vision, 2) plan time to plan, 3) control finances, 4) lead a championship support team, 5) the perfect client journey, 6) develop and refine ethical selling skills, 7) create a low cost marketing engine, and 8) maintain balance between work, rest and play. He identified the five building blocks to a visionary business plan - 1) Vision Statement, 2) Mission, 3) Objectives/Goals, 4) Strategies and 5) Plans. He recommended this be done at the business level as well as the department level. He referred to James Horan's The One Page Business Plan and provided tools for creating a one-page Vision Statement. As an exercise, the attendees created their own. Personally, I found this quite worthwhile. He also provided a few other tools: a one-page Quickstart Ideas for Strategies - a fill-in-the-blank tool for building the business and making it successful over time; a One Page Planning Wheel® and Personal Evolution Circles.
There were 13 concurrent sessions to choose from across six time slots. Here are the sessions I sat in on. They were all very informative...
On Monday, Linda discussed definitions of quality and excellence, the importance of integrity of a spa's management system, the importance of feedback and of effective self assessments for spas. She had the audience go through an exercise to discover their "new eyes," and rewarded audience members who asked questions and participated in discussions. She provided tools for spas to use, such as the Spa System Matrix, to identify performance, process and place self assessments that a spa could perform. She discussed what was necessary to plan and perform effective self assessments as well as to identify actions that need to be taken as a result of self assessments - an important step to spa improvement. Finally, she talked about measurement and data. Slides of this presentation can be found HERE. There was a lot of positive feedback:
On Tuesday, Linda discussed the critical differences between spas at risk and healthy spas. She defined the resources that every spa has - people, money, time, stuff and uniqueness - and had the attendees take an inventory of the resources they have today. She talked about the choices and actions we take and how they consume resources. The bottom line is that it is ultimately better to spend resources in learning and asking (like self assessments) than to wait until things get out of hand and in crisis mode. The emphasis is on planning, assessment, prevention and discipline and shifting from resource based decisions to action based decisions. Linda had the attendees take their inventory and mark what they would like their's to be and discussed planning for this future. She discussed the management of change and the essentials of successful spa improvement. Slides of her talk can be found HERE. There was more positive feedback:
Vivienne and Andrew presented a number of different compensation models for spas and provided the pros and cons of each:
In additional to these basic models, benefiets can be offered to attract good employees such as paid time off, sick pay, health care plan, retirement benefits and training and development. Non-cash benefits can be considered as well such as the work environment and appreciation and respect.
The goal is to create the optimum model for an individual spa that supports team loyalty, collaboration, effectiveness, excellent customer service and profitability. There were a lot of questions from the audience in this lively interactive discussion.
Anne shared the Fairmont Spas success story and discussed branding. First, she explained what a brand is and its purpose. A brand is your story, a promise, an experience, a connection to the customer, a competitive edge, a focus, and a continuing source of inspiration and guidance. It incorporates the mission and vision of the company, its belief system and how the company does business. It is more than recognition, it is differentiation. The better you brand, the more you differentiate and the more ends up on your bottom line. A brand creates added value for your company. Anne provided 10 ways spa branding can place your spa ahead of the competition:
1. Focus - Choose a focus for your brand. Here she discussed the types and purposes of spas:
and the Day Spa continuum:
The closer the focus, the higher the perceived quality, exclusivity and speciality of the spa.
2. Connect with your Customer - Know them inside and out - their habits, desites and patterns. Anticipate what they may want. Do research. Provide a communication platform, focus group, rant room, newsletter, etc. Build an ongoing conversation. "I just need to get my old energy back."
3. Create a Positioning Statement - Determine your story. What is your inspiration and your widely held beliefs? They should be simple and memorable. Anne shared Willow Stream's journey from "Willow Stream is a continuing source of inspiration to living life with abundant energy" to "Our energy makes you feel fantastic."
4. Create a Rallying Call - i.e. "Find your energy." Let this guide you in your selection of staff and products.
5. Tell a Good Story - Guests and staff will remember. Teach storytelling in orientation (not scripted).
6. Cause a Buzz! - Move boldly and be memorable.
7. Choose PR over Marketing to Build Your Brand - It creates credibility.
8. Go Deep - Make your brand seen in brochures, shopping bags, web site, etc.
9. Choose Your Partners Carefully - Partners reflect the mission and authenticity and are an extension of your message.
10. Build an Aligned Team of Professionals - Brand is internal and external. Select employees that are believers in YOUR vision.
The Brand Finale
Copyright 1997-2013 Julie Register, All rights