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Archive for January, 2010

Marketing Idea of the Month – Reevaluating Your Business in the New Year

sw-marketing-ideaThe new year marks new beginnings—a mental deadline to change, rethink, and improve our business practices and personal life. This is a great time to reevaluate everything about your business. What works and what doesn’t. Who works and who doesn’t.

 

One thing to put on your to-do list for 2010: Revisiting your spa menu. Are all your treatments popular and selling? Are they reflecting current spa trends? Take a serious look at how many are booked and see if your menu could look even more attractive to spa-goers. Our advice: Keep it simple and do what works for you!

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SpaLight On Barry Eichner, V.P., Operations, 3000BC WellMed Spa

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Barry Eichner has nearly 20 years of managerial and business development experience. He has spent the last decade as the V.P. of Operations with 3000BC WellMed Spas in Philadelphia, contributing to brand development and the expansion of 3000BC from a single-unit facility to a multi-unit, award-winning medical spa chain. He has worked as a spa consultant and writes articles for industry publications. 

 

3000BC Wellmed Spa has four locations with nearly 60 employees performing in excess of 50,000 services a year. 3000BC and 3000Rx produce a complete line of skin and body care encompassing the purest botanicals and the most advanced medical ingredients.  

 

1. What is the story behind the name 3000 BC?

3000BC’s founder, Korin Korman, has a personal passion for aromatherapy and dedicated her 1992 MBA thesis at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business to a groundbreaking aromatherapy concept boutique. During her thesis study, she discovered that ancient Egyptians fully evolved the use of essential oils circa 3000 B.C.            

 

2. What is the concept behind your skin-care line 3000RX.

3000BC has been dedicated to the purest aromatherapy products on the global market for the past 18 years; however, our society’s skin care wants and needs began changing, and 3000BC needed to adapt in order to exceed our guests’ expectations. We reached out to Dr. Brian Buinewicz, chief of plastic surgery at Abington Hospital, who became our medical director. Through collaboration with Dr. Brian Buinewicz, 3000BC created 3000RX, a line of FDA-approved clinical skin-care products, segmented into five categories designed to clean, shield, repair, quench, and provide defense for all skin types. The 3000RX line complements the pure and organic botanicals of 3000BC with such advanced ingredients as retinols, vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, Argireline, hydroquinone, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, and benzoyl peroxide.

 

3. What are the three most popular treatments at your spa?

 The Aromatherapy Swedish Massage, the Pick Me Up Peel, and Microdermabrasion.

 

4. What challenges, if any, do you see the medical spa industry facing in the future?

Right now it’s easy to be a big fish in the very small yet rapidly growing med spa pond. However, being able to maintain the exorbitantly high overhead of the med spa concept and fight for market share will be the greatest challenge. The spa needs to keep its offerings basic, avoiding expensive gimmicks, which can create operational overhead that will literally destroy a business’s chance for success. 

 

5. In your opinion, what makes one medical spa more successful than another?

Our success at 3000BC has been a result of 16 years of leading the market in holistic/wellness services, then joining forces with a prominent plastic surgeon to offer advanced clinical services, essentially, offering the best of both worlds. 

 

Our formula has been very basic: education of our team, guest loyalty programs, and an unwavering commitment to guest service. However, in a more general sense, I think success in the medical spa world will require a facility to treat the entire patient rather than focus on one particular area or specialty. Spas that offer diverse treatments will be able to maximize revenues by educating their guests on various offerings. When guests are enjoying multiple services (i.e., chemical peels, Botox, skin-care products, and laser hair removal from one location), their confidence, loyalty, and willingness to share their enthusiasm increase.

 

6.  Have your marketing efforts changed in the last year?

In order to continue to grow and earn market share, we have retained a PR firm to help enhance the brand awareness of 3000BC WellMed Spa. It’s traditionally understood that editorial mentions are perceived as a word-of-mouth referral by consumers. The philosophy is that if a magazine editor gives a brand the stamp of approval, consumers can trust the brand. Many marketing analysis studies have concluded that word of mouth is the driving force for new business to any spa. 

 

7. What are your thoughts on SpaFinder and its relationship to the industry?

I’ve often referred to Spafinder as the “Google” of the spa industry. Spafinder offers small businesses an unprecedented opportunity to gain exposure that many other small retail-based businesses are not afforded. The opportunity for a small spa to help gain market share by offering a “Day Spa Deal” or becoming a “Featured Spa” for a quarter is an easy way to help increase revenues without dramatically increasing your expenses.

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Is BoTAX a Good Idea? How Will It Affect the Spa Industry?

BotaxBy Susie Ellis, SpaFinder Insider

 

In case you haven’t heard, here in the U.S. the $848 billion health care “reform” bill proposed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Democrat from Nevada), includes a 5 percent tax on cosmetic procedures and surgery, which would go into effect in January. It has been dubbed “the Botax,” which is a nod to the popular Botox Cosmetic injection that smooths facial wrinkles. And yes, I do know of what I speak.

 

Well, let’s think this through. Predictably, the plastic surgeons are calling foul and coming back with arguments saying that many people get Botox to keep them competitive in the marketplace, that it is unfair to baby boomers, and that their cosmetic surgery businesses have already suffered because of the recession. Well, I doubt they will get much sympathy, except from fellow plastic surgeons and the users of Botox and patients of elective plastic surgery procedures. I hear no violins from any other arena.

 

There will, of course, be consequences down the road, which I think are worth having a conversation about. The way I see it, there will be some positives and some negatives for the spa industry. Some of these may differ, depending on whether we are talking about medical spas or regular spas.

 

On the positive side, the reform would be another reason for people to put more emphasis on prevention, rather than fixing things after they are broken. Staying out of the sun and wearing sunscreen take care of many of the wrinkles people are currently treating with fillers and Botox. Staying healthy and toned through exercise and good eating habits, as well as encouraging self-esteem through good parenting and personal efforts could possibly reduce the amount of plastic surgery requested.

 
Another consequence will likely be an increase in medical tourism—outbound from the U.S. to other countries. While there are already many who go to other countries for medical reasons (Mexico for dental, India for joint replacements, Thailand for face-lifts), this tax would be one more reason for people to venture across borders for medical procedures.

 

On the negative side is the somewhat frightening concern of “what’s next?” Will taxing facials be next? Massage? Manicures and pedicures? There are those who would argue these are also elective procedures and should be taxed. Ouch. That would be scary. And what does this say about our government in general in terms of taking over more and more control of our lives?

 
Well, unless I learn more than I currently know about this issue (which is entirely possible, given the complexity of all things health care), I have decided to do something I wish more people would do. Sacrifice. It might not be best for me personally, and it might not be best for the industry I work in, but I am not going to squabble over this 5 percent tax.

 

The reason? I am tired of seeing the fighting in Washington by the “special interest groups” who lobby to protect their particular marbles in the game. That includes medical doctors—especially the specialists—who want to protect the huge amount of money they make (compared with doctors in every other country), insurance companies who focus on making huge profits and give multimillion dollar bonuses to their CEOs, and pharmaceutical companies that would rather spend billions on TV ads and charge consumers high prices for drugs that would otherwise be much cheaper.

 

In order to improve the health care system in this country and possibly begin building one that is superior to any other, it seems reasonable that everyone needs to give in a bit (and in some cases more than just a bit). If I end up paying a tax on Botox and the spa and wellness industry needs to contribute in this way as well, I would be embarrassed to argue otherwise.

 
Now if we end up on a slippery slope and find ourselves making sacrifices while others do not, well, you’ll hear from me again. Just don’t count on seeing the distress on my face.  🙂

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SpaLight On Wyatt Webb, founder of Miraval® Arizona’s Equine Experience

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By Milana Knowles

 

Ever since I first heard about the Miraval Equine Experience Immersion with Wyatt Webb, I wanted to be part of it. I heard about the program a while back but really learned about it just a few months ago at a meeting with Michael Tompkins, vice president and general manager of Miraval. (By the way, I cannot think of a better person to convey a message with passion and conviction than Michael.)

 

You sense something magical about Wyatt Webb, even from the way he is described by others.  My first step toward undergoing the Equine Experience was to talk with him and find out more about his path, his views on life, and his therapeutic approach.

 

Webb once had a successful but self-destructive career in the music industry; he admits being involved with drugs and successfully quitting them. He got the idea for the seminal experience from observing a young man handling a horse. The man was trying to get the horse to do what he wanted him to do by being aggressive and bullying him into submission; it was a battle the young man could not and would not win. By teaching him the right way to train the horse, Webb basically discovered a way in which people can mirror their own lives and understand patterns of their own behavior.

 

There are up to 20 participants in each session, and he works with one horse at a time. The main goal seems to be to discover what we feel, what we think, and how we live our lives. Webb draws a comparison with animals and how they always live in the present; in order to connect with the horse, we need to be in the present and in the moment. Only when we learn to connect with the horse can we then connect with others.

 

In interacting with the horse, you learn about yourself. So Webb teaches each participant to perform simple tasks with the horse, observes how they do it, and gives them feedback. The program is based on the idea that the horse reflects your emotions and what is going on with you. Once you understand your own strengths and weaknesses, you can then transfer these insights to your human relationships and improve the way you handle different areas of your life.

 

Webb provides a safe setting in which people are encouraged to tell their stories to each other and become authentic and reveal who they really are, while getting in touch with what they are truly feeling, something that most people are trained to ignore. Webb points out that we sleepwalk through life, and we should make a conscious choice to wake up and live in the present moment, leaving behind a lifetime of learned behavior. His thoughts are focused on all of us learning to connect with ourselves before we can connect with others.

 

I don’t know what you plan to do in the New Year, but after my conversation with Webb,

 

1. I am putting the Equine Experience at Miraval on my wish list

2. I am planning to have a conversation with myself and evaluate my belief system

3. I will make a list of things I need to unlearn

4. I will try to be fearless and less self doubtful

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Taking the Talent Temperature – What’s the Outlook?

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By Kenneth R. Greger

 

Wow!  The U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that since the ‘official’ start of the recession in December 2007, the number of unemployed persons has risen by 8.2 million, and the unemployment rate has grown by 5.3 percentage points (the highest level since 1983)!  2009 has forced many of America’s best companies to deploy deep cost-cutting maneuvers to survive, and the spa and wellness sector is no exception.  Layoffs have exceeded hiring by a wide margin, and many of those cuts have been at very senior levels where the savings are material – think spa managers, regional directors, operations, etc.

 

It would be nice to say that the worst is over.  Layoffs may be slowing down, but there are still two big shoes that have to drop, commercial real estate and credit card debt.  2010 will be a telling year for commercial real estate.  Many hotels and resorts are likely to default next year and many properties will have new owners by the end of 2010.  The impact on employment at those properties will be a function of whether or not the new ownership feels it necessary to bring in a fresh team.  Spas affiliated with certain brands could find themselves part of new brands and this usually means organizational adjustments, changes in commission and payment policies for therapists, etc.

 

Credit card debt, already an issue, continues to increase as multitudes of unemployed folks utilize their cards to survive while seeking new employment.  However, it’s taking much longer to find a new job and there is little chance of them paying back the balance in full.  Multiply that activity by few million people and, oops, America’s financial institutions and retailers will be left holding the bag.   Is another bailout on the horizon?  Will this lackluster economy continue to impact talent and career momentum?

 

Enough negativity!  At some point, the economy will recover, the supply demand equation will reverse itself and it will be a seller’s market once again.  How can you as an employer make the best of the current situation?  For that, consider the following tips for your spa business:

 

  • First and foremost, begin by self-examination.  Is your company truly an employer of choice?  Can you attract the A-players in good times?  What is your employee ‘brand?’  Would you want to work for you?

 

  • Ask ‘What is the candidate experience that we are delivering?’ and then refine your hiring process as needed.

 

  • Differentiate between quantity and quality.  Sure, there are a lot of people on the street, good people, and it’s tempting to grab a few to fill open positions.  But are they the ‘right’ people?

 

  • Avoid the temptation to take financial advantage of those who’ve lost their jobs due to the economy.  Treat them with respect, pay what the job is worth, and think RETENTION.  If you do otherwise, it will be no problem for a more caring competitor to attract your people away.

 

  • Where appropriate, consider partnering with a strategically oriented search firm that can add value to the effectiveness of your process while also carefully scrutinizing the marketplace for candidates with the right DNA.  This is especially advantageous when considering candidates for management and executive positions. 

 

  • Focus on innovation, which will not only get your company out of the business and intellectual doldrums, but will also help it to win, and that attracts A-players.  Spas need to think “differentiation” regardless of the state of the economy.  Don’t hesitate to be creative, goofy, and memorable to retain a customer base. 

 

Too many companies spent 2009 waiting for someone else to make the first move.  In 2010, show your independence and start leading your industry – and America – out of this mess!   Consider this example which was recently featured in the New Yorker (written by James Surowiecki):

 

In the late nineteen-twenties, two companies—Kellogg and Post—dominated the market for packaged cereal. When the Depression hit, no one knew what would happen to consumer demand. Post did the predictable thing: it reined in expenses and cut back on advertising. But Kellogg doubled its ad budget, moved aggressively into radio advertising, and heavily pushed its new cereal, Rice Krispies. (Snap, Crackle, and Pop first appeared in the thirties.) By 1933, even as the economy cratered, Kellogg’s profits had risen almost thirty per cent and it had become what it remains today: the industry’s dominant player.

 

Kenneth R. Greger [kgreger@gregerpeterson.com] is CEO & Managing Director of Greger/Peterson Associates, Inc., strategic advisors for executive selection in Hospitality & Leisure, including Spa.  The firm has offices in Los Angeles, CA and Portland, OR.

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Spreading the Message of Health Outside Spa Walls

cafeteriastoryGetting Kids to Eat Healthier, One Cafeteria at a Time

 

Who says school lunches have to be unhealthy and lack flavor? Paulette Lambert, California Health & Longevity Institute’s director of nutrition, set out to debunk this myth and change the way the children and teens at Oak Park Unified School District think about their school lunches.

 

Now the students have healthier dining options, thanks to Lambert. Cafeteria staff from the public school system attended training sessions that included a cooking demonstration and menu tasting of more than 50 new recipes created by Lambert, who is also a registered dietitian, chef, and certified diabetic educator. 

 

Lambert redesigned menus for three elementary schools and the high school café together with Julie Suarez, director of business operations for the Oak Park Unified School District. The new menus include increased quantities of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and rely less on prepackaged, preserved foods typically high in sodium, saturated fat, and calories.  For the elementary students, a two-week rotation features kid-friendly menu concepts such as taco day and turkey chili. The menu overhaul for Oak Park High School’s convenient “grab and go” café format includes trendy, globally infused dishes young adults enjoy eating such as a chicken pesto panini sandwich and barbecue chicken salad.

 

In past decades, the school cafeteria employee role shifted from preparing meals from scratch to opening and heating prepackaged foods. To provide more nutritious meals, district administration decided to return to creating more fresh food on-site at the schools, requiring additional training for employees. School principals, administrators, and the superintendent also attended the training session, ensuring their participation and leadership will drive implementation.

 

Oak Park Unified School District promotes healthy schools by supporting wellness, good nutrition, and regular physical activity as vital components of the total learning environment. Childhood obesity is a growing national concern from local to national government levels, and school food plays a crucial role in contributing to the overall health of the nation’s children.

 
• 30–40% of children’s calories are eaten at school each day
• 80% of U.S. schools cook fewer than half of their entrées from scratch
• 50% of children eat less than one serving of vegetable or fruit per day; 7–10 servings of vegetables and fruit are recommended daily for disease prevention
• 65% of the U.S. population is overweight or obese
• 15-28% of U.S. children are overweight
• The number of overweight and obese children has increased by 27% in the last 10 years

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SpaFinder’s Seventh Annual “Top 10 Global Spa Trends to Watch in 2010”

top10SpaFinder President Susie Ellis has named her picks for the top 10 spa trends to watch in 2010. This is SpaFinder’s seventh annual forecast, which looks at the emerging concepts and trends that will shape the world of spa in 2010 and beyond. What does Susie, our spa industry insider, think will be the top trends to watch this year? Read her picks below.

 

1. The New “P” Word

Goodbye, pampering. Hello, prevention. Well, not so fast. It’s more like, move over, pampering; hello, prevention. Against the backdrop of healthcare debate and reform, prevention is poised to be the new “it” word of the spa industry in 2010 and beyond. But rather than replacing established industry concepts like pampering and wellness, it’s a sharp (and smart) refocusing of the conversation. Pampering, after all, speaks to the goal of most spa-goers of stress reduction and relaxation, and that in itself is preventive.

  

2. Year of the Hammam

With spa-goers increasingly seeking authenticity, tradition, and that magical spa experience that also offers true results, the Eastern European/Middle Eastern/North African hammam (hamam in Turkey) represents one of the hottest trends for 2010, albeit with a distinctly modern expression. This is the year in which people who’ve never heard the term hammam will learn its meaning, and those already familiar with it will discover new places to experience it.

  

3. Not “Going to,” But “Belonging to” a Spa 

No longer a place where you infrequently “go” for the occasional treatment, spas are being creatively reimagined as places of “belonging”—not only literally, through the rise in membership programs, but also in the diverse ways spas are being recast as social or communal hubs—contributing the additional, although unspoken, benefit of emotional health.

 

4.The Online Spa

2010 will prove a watershed year for the spa industry’s virtual presence. Consumers are already finding spas online, booking treatments, joining online weight loss and coaching groups. They are printing out instant gift certificates, shopping virtual spa stores, being influenced by online reviews, and embracing social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. (Some even play the Sally Spa game. But there’s more to come.

 

Get ready for gaming while you exercise, for having health information (like your blood pressure and heart rate) automatically uploaded for access online by your spa or doctor, and for spas to use yield management software that (much like the airlines) enables price variation, so spas can offer a less expensive massage on weekday mornings, compared to Saturday afternoons. And in early 2010, you’ll be able to stroll down any street in the U.S. and check your iPhone to pinpoint the spa nearest you, thanks to the upcoming SpaFinder App.

  

5. The Hybrid Spa 

The modern spa is increasingly a “hyphenated” affair, with spas incorporating far more fitness, fitness centers incorporating more spa, hospitals incorporating spa elements, and spas bringing in more medical doctors and specialists. The era of the spa/fitness/integrated-health-center/hospital/spiritual-retreat/wellness-center/beauty-clinic is on a serious upswing. It’s one integrated human body, after all, and the “pure” spa is on the decline, while the hybrid spa is busy inventing new you-name-it, plugged-in models.

 

 

6. The Price Is (Still) Right 

2009’s headline spa story was the industry’s aggressive response to the global recession and the near-universal focus on deals, deals, and more deals. While there’s (cautious) consensus that the economy is in recovery mode, there’s great news for consumers in 2010: The spa bargains will continue apace, not only straight discounting, but also more innovative incentives smartly designed by spas to drive incremental revenue and retain loyal customers. And keep an eye out for savvy new spas combining less expensive treatments and facilities with a touch of glamour, hitting that sweet spot between “nice” and “price.”

 

  

7. Wellness Tourism Wows 

We’re familiar with people seeking spas for wellness—and also with “medical tourism,” crossing borders for medical procedures (often plastic surgery, dentistry, knee replacements, etc.). Well, make room for “wellness tourism,” a term now being used to describe traveling across borders for preventive services, diagnostics, spa and well-being vacations, even the wow’s of DNA testing, stem-cell banking, and the like. The concept not only dramatically broadens the appeal of the medical tourism model (which has suffered from its narrow association with plastic surgery), it’s increasingly poised to become the way we define our time away from home and work in the future.

 

  

8. Scary and Silly Spa Stories Drive Evidence, Science, and Standards 

The fallout from heavily publicized spa horror stories—and the recession-driven consumer insistence on no-gimmick treatments with real, measurable benefits—will quicken a rising industry trend: the demand for evidence-based therapies, stricter industry standards, and greater transparency/resources to help spa-goers separate the spa wheat from the chaff. As spas move into the health and wellness sectors, facts, evidence, and science that support industry approaches will move front and center, even at the cost of a few diamond facials.

 

 

9. Diversity at a Tipping Point

For years analysts have discussed how the spa industry has been attracting new demographics (men, teens, seniors, new ethnic groups). But in 2010 diversity has reached a tipping point in the U.S that in time will likely be followed by the rest of the world: It has fully arrived, and it’s here to stay. Spa-going has become so mainstream that the face of the spa-goer will now continue to reflect the wider global population. Every spa region has its unique “diversity story”, and around the globe both women and men, younger and older generations, and all ethnic groups are hitting the spa. And spas are taking note, with offerings that cater to these diverse groups’ needs and wants. Set to explode: In the U.S. alone, where approximately 78 million baby boomers are poised to enter their 60s, watch for “silver spa-ing” to really take off.

 

10. Stillness

The modern human experience is an unprecedented amount of sensory overload, noise, and media stimulation. We’re wired to the gills, spending nearly all waking hours in front of TV and computer screens—bombarded, texting, Tweeting, clattering away—now even on airplanes. With the spa as one of the last remaining sanctuaries of silence and serenity, look for the industry to put a new emphasis on stillness, on slowness, on silence.

 

Bonus Trend: Celebrating Celebration

In a recent survey, travel agents reported the #1 emerging spa travel trend was people increasingly hitting stay spas for special occasions like the big “0s,” anniversaries, weddings, retirement parties, etc. And after the severe downturn in hotels’ corporate/meetings business (which, because of virtual conferencing, will continue to decline), the industry is aggressively incentivizing group celebration travel to revitalize lost business. This concept was born at the day spa (with its long tradition of bachelorette, graduation, and “girlfriend” parties), and its rapid migration into the travel arena in 2010 is one great reason for the industry to celebrate.

 

To read the full report of SpaFinder’s Top 10 Trends to Watch in 2010, click here.

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Announcing SpaFinder Deal Days

dealdaysReady, set, go! This March, be a part of the nation’s largest weeklong spa marketing event. SpaFinder will be holding its first annual SpaFinder Deal Days, March 8-14, 2010. The event will target the wellness-oriented audience, offering consumers the opportunity to experience a variety of spa treatments for 50 minutes at an introductory price of just $50 per selected treatment. The event is open to all spas across the country and is sure to be a huge success.

 

Participating spas will be featured in our extensive advertising campaign, which will be seen across the U.S. in major media markets. The goal of Deal Days is to continue our mission of connecting spas with new customers, who can become customers for life.

 

SpaFinder Deal Days will drive more customers through your doors and give you the exposure you are looking for to jump-start your business this spring.

 

Sign up now for a free, informational webinar on the following dates:

 

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

 

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

 

To learn more please visit our SpaFinder Deal Days page  or contact Loreen Guertin at lguertin@spafinder.com or 212-716-1167.

 

Go to this page if your spa is interested in being a Deal Days Partner.
Go to this page to sign up to be the first to find out about spas offering Deal Days in your area.

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