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Archive for March, 2012

Join Tweet Chats for Wellness Week

To get people talking about healthy living, we have planned three Twitter Chats throughout Wellness Week™, March 19 – 25. The topics we’ve identified coincide with the original editorial content (literally, dozens of features) that we’ve developed on the Club Spa blog as well as The Pledge – 7 steps towards a healthier life.

Here’s the schedule:

Wellness Week™ Twitter Chats,  4 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Monday, March 19: How Best to De-Stress

Wednesday, March 21: Smart Eating for Mind, Body and Beauty

Friday, March 23: What Heals You – Top Treatments, Therapies and Tips

We invite you to please join the conversation!  If you haven’t already, please follow us on Twitter at @SpaFinder.  To follow and participate in each of the chats above, search and follow the hashtag #WellnessWeek.

In addition to our spa/wellness business partners, we’ve also invited members of our Wellness Week Expert Panel to chime in and answer questions. They will be logging in under their own Twitter handles, and will be the primary people to answer consumer questions.  SpaFinder will be the moderator of the chats, doing our best to ensure all questions are answered.

We’ll get the ball rolling on each conversation by either posing a question right off the bat in our first welcome tweet during the chat, or we can ask for questions from participants, and they should start flowing in.  We can, of course, answer or chime in on anything we’d like as well – because of the nature of Twitter, it’s okay if people jump around, or an answer comes in a few minutes after the question was asked. If it seems to die down a bit, we keep the convo going by posing a question ourselves, or calling for questions perhaps on a more specific topic within the overarching theme of the chat.

In promotion of the tweet chats, we will make sure to mention which experts are participating as well.  And if you tweet it, we’ll make sure to retweet!

Talk to you soon, we hope!

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Join Tweet Chats for Wellness Week

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How to Build Your Brand with Pinterest

Are you on Pinterest? If so, you’re one of the more than 10 million other people who have registered on the photo-based social media site that is being touted as a useful marketing tool. If not, here’s why you should consider getting on board.

Launched in 2010, Pinterest is a rapidly growing online bulletin board community where users can post their favorite images. Doesn’t sound like much, but take a look at the numbers, the purpose and usability factors and the strategy and you might find that Pinterest could be something valuable—and fun—for your business to get involved in.

SpaFinder's Pinterest Boards

As a place where a staggering number of people are communicating with each other through pictures, Pinterest is only growing – in December 2011 alone, it’s been reported that more than 7 million unique registered on the site, up from 1.6 million in September. Not only are pictures being posted left and right, the links associated with these photos are being shared at the same time, which ultimately drives traffic—and business—to company websites and blogs. In fact, it’s so powerful that it’s driving more traffic to sites than YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn combined, according to a recent report from Cambridge, Massachussets-based content-sharing site Shareaholic.

To further show how some companies have experienced success with Pinterest, here’s an impressive stat from an article published on LinkedIn by Jason Falls: In the last six months, the retail deal site has seen a 446 percent increase in web traffic from Pinterest and sales resulting from those visits have increased five-fold.

Here are the basics of Pinterest for the unfamiliar:

  1. The Boards: Users create as many boards as they like – these are usually categorized in a fun way like “Places I want to travel to,” “My style,” or “Delicious dishes to make.” There are no rules to what boards to create, but most people categorize photos this way, “pinning” relevant photos to each board.
  2. Interaction: What makes Pinterest a social media site is that users interact with each other through re-pinning photos that others have on their boards, liking other users’ photos and commenting on the photos. Re-pinning of photos have the potential to make a photo and its associated link go viral with hundreds or thousands of re-pins.
  3. Usability: Anyone and everyone can use Pinterest – and they are. From brides-to-be to online clothing companies, everyone has something to share that someone else will likely find inspirational or useful. Easy to use, this is how Pinterest can get addicting to consumers as surfing a simple site with beautiful images makes it a breeze to find images of things they like—and want.

And here’s how to get started on Pinterest with your spa:

  • Create boards that will enhance your brand image and will help followers obtain the spa lifestyle your spa speaks to, whether it be healthy eating, spa and beauty products or spa décor. For example, our Pinterest site includes boards for “What Wellness Is,” “Good Eats,” “Places We Love,” “Hair, Beauty & Spa Style,” and more. All the photos we post are aimed to inspire and educate other Pinterest users towards a health and wellness, spa-oriented lifestyle.
  • Associate Editor of Mashable, Lauren Drell suggests crowdsourcing, which can be a great marketing vehicle for brands. One of her tips included asking fans of your brand to pin pictures of themselves with their favorite product (in this case, ideally from your spa, or even a photo of them in your spa). You can then create a VIP board of sorts and re-pin those photos there. ““It’ll give a shout-out to these fans and show potential customers that your current users really like using your product,” she writes.
  • Make sure that the photos you are pinning from your spa are linked back to your site and use SEO best practices when writing captions to optimize the number of eyes on your photo and link.
  • Because Pinterest is image driven with very little text, make sure you’re pinning great images, both in quality and in context. Beautiful, eye-catching and inspiring photos will attract the most traffic.
  • Be sure to pin photos from sites other than your own and re-pin, like and comment on other users’ photos – just like Facebook, engage with other people and participate in conversations.
  • Remember that the possibilities with Pinterest are endless and there is no “messing up.” Simply sign up, create your boards, start pinning and see where it takes you.

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Spa Industry News Briefs

Sandals Reopens Former Manor House at Bahamas Resort

Sandals Royal Bahamian on Cable Beach in Nassau, Bahamas, has reopened the former Manor House and renamed the centerpiece of the resort Balmoral Tower. The $17-million renovation followed Hurricane Irene last August and includes a lighter, more contemporary look in the 144-room tower.

New Boutique Hotel and Spa to Open on Italy’s Amalfi Coast in May

Bianca Sharma, director of the Sharma Foundation, will launch Monastero Santa Rosa Hotel and Spa within a former 17th-century monastery on Italy’s Amalfi Coast in May upon acquiring the building in 1999. The transformation from historical site to hotel and spa has taken Sharma more than 10 years. The hotel and spa will feature 20 guest rooms and suites and a heated infinity pool. The spa features a Jane Goff design and includes a double-height vaulted warm relaxation room with heated benches and whirlpool foot baths, a domed herbal steam room and an ice fountain.

Center Parcs to Begin Work on Woburn Forest Hotel and Spa

Park operator Center Parcs has secured the funding for the company’s fifth park in Woburn, Bedfordshire, UK, and is set to begin work on the site. “Blackstone, the company’s owner, will invest £100m in the venture while four UK banks — RBS, Barclays, HSBC and Lloyds Banking Group — have committed to a construction loan of approximately £150m.” Woburn Forest will feature 625 forest lodges, a 75-bedroom hotel, an Aqua Sana-branded spa with 12 spa suites, an indoor sports facility, swimming pool, restaurants, retail locations, an outdoor sport and leisure facility and a lake.

InterContinental Hotels Group Announces Launch of Wellness-Focused Brand

InterContinental Hotels Group has announced the launch of its new wellness-focused brand, EVEN Hotels, aimed to meet consumer demand for “healthier travel at a mainstream price.” EVEN Hotels will provide guests with solutions that cater to wellness needs such as exercise, food, work and rest. No spas will be part of this new brand, bedrooms will be designed for in-room fitness and menus will be “nutritionally designed” with a focus on natural and energizing meals. The first EVEN-branded hotel should open in early 2013.

Hyatt Hotels Corporation Announces Affiliate Management for Thailand’s Park Hyatt Bangkok

Hyatt Hotels Corporation has announced that one of its affiliates has signed on to manage Thailand’s landmark Park Hyatt Bangkok, which is set to open in 2014. The 222-bedroom hotel will comprise of a spa, fitness room and swimming pool and will feature a “twisted-coil” exterior to make the building a standout in Thailand. The deal has been signed by Central Embassy.

Other Headlines

United Capital Acquires 254-Room Ocean Place Resort & Spa in Long Branch, NJ

Sofitel Luxury Hotels Opens 238-Room Sofitel So Bangkok in Thailand

Biggest Loser Opening Resort in New York State

Cofresi Palm Beach & Spa Resort, Dominican Republic, Names Stephane Culillas General Manager

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Green Spa Network Will See Its Biggest Year in 2012

The non-profit Green Spa Network (GSN) is set to see its biggest year yet in 2012. The network “is a tax-exempt, not-for-profit, trade association whose purpose is to bring sustainable operating practices to the spa industry and to promote the natural connections between personal wellbeing, economic sustainability and the health of the planet.” GSN believes that the spa industry is the best suited to be at the front of the green movement, and this year the network has a number of projects planned to make that happen:

  • From April 29 through May 2, GSN will hold its First Annual Buyers Conference at the Inn and Spa at Loreto, Santa Fe, New Mexico. The invitation-only event will give spas a chance to make eco-friendly and sustainable choices from a number of resource partners. There will be 20 one-on-one meetings, networking and presentations by industry experts, including Bob Zimmer, founder and former CEO of Rosewood Resorts.
  • The 2012 GSN Congress will be held at the Sunriver Resort in Sunriver, Oregon, from September 30 through October 3. The resort recently won the portfolio’s Destination Earth award for its sustainability practices. The Congress brings together leaders from the worlds of design, tourism, beauty, marketing and health.
  • GSN will continue to participate in The International Congress of Esthetics events: March 4 and 5 in Miami; May 6 and 7 in Dallas; September 9 and 10 in Long Beach, California; and October 28 and 29 in Philadelphia. This year GSN will launch the new One to One Program, which will provide a four-booth section dedicated to one-to-one discussions on spa operations, spa products, social media, marketing and retail operations.
  • GSN also will launch a brand-new GSN Website in 2012. Design elements include a “green spa locator” map, inspiring stories and practical tips on spa sustainability, sustainability profiles and information on leading green spas, resource partners and networking opportunities.
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