Spa Partners Blog

Partner News, Information and Inspiration

Articles by Amy Sung

Q&A: Ziporah Janowski, Founder & Director, Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts

Ziporah Janowski, Shane Diet & Fitness ResortsLeaving a career as a lawyer to pursue a passion for helping others live a healthy life, Ziporah Janowski opened Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts about five years ago. Now, with five kids’ summer camp and adult weight-loss vacation locations and the newest set to open this month at the Westin La Cantera Hill Country Resort in San Antonio, Texas, Janowski isn’t slowing down—and neither are the waves of people who are visiting Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts from around the world, including Belgium, California, Israel, London, Paris and more, to learn about getting fit, eating right and making a lifestyle change for a healthier outlook on life.

“We’re more inclusive than other health resorts out there. We don’t want to be luxurious,” Janowski says. “There are resorts that are absolutely beautiful and serve delicious food, but you might never see another guest while visiting or you may never exercise. We’re not a boot camp either, though. There are no other programs that are just like this.”

From why she chose San Antonio to the challenges she faced in opening this new location, we talk to Janowski about growing Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts’ program and spreading the message.

We know that Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts is now in San Antonio, Texas. Why did you choose San Antonio for your new location?

The first co-ed children’s program in the world came about in 1968, and in 2007, I had an epiphany that there was a need to cater to adults, and I thought that it needed to be done now. I thought that there needed to be a place for campers who had aged out of camp, and I was trying to find ways to loop parents in. Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts began as an eight-week program, quickly filled up, and it then became a 12-week program. We decided that the Ellenville, New York, location is not as inviting at certain times of the year, and so to satisfy the demand, we needed a place to offer the program year-round; San Antonio’s weather orientation lent itself well to accommodating our types of activities all year long. We started working on this a little more than a year ago, looking for a place that had good weather, enough rooms and that was a reputable brand.


Westin La Cantera Hill Country Resort

The Westin has been promoting wellness throughout its company, and it shows up in different areas of the hotel. For example, if you’re a guest of the hotel and forgot your workout wear, you can rent workout clothes for $5.  We thought that it was a great pairing between what they do and what we’re about. I was also blown away by the hotel—it’s absolutely stunning. The hotel sits on a hill with rolling golf courses, a luxury mall across the way and more. There’s a one-mile nature trail—you get on that trail and you don’t know you’re at a hotel. We’ll be incorporating hikes and walks on the trail into daily activities. The staff is also well trained, and there is a golf academy, about a 10-minute walk from the hotel, where we’ll hold our exercise programs. Lifetime Fitness is also nearby, giving us additional facilities for all sorts of great classes. Guests can sign up for one to 12 weeks.

Do you expect your guests to be different?

This program is likely to draw more older guests, whereas more than half our guests in Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts in Ellenville, New York, being about 18 to 25 years old. Because the guest will likely skew older in San Antonio, we’ll integrate certain program modifications to cater to the shift in needs and abilities. The fundamentals of behavior and nutritional coaching; good, clean food; and the encouragement of a healthy lifestyle change through education will remain the same. We’ll start smaller with up to 30 guests at a time, and pursue bringing it up to about 55 guests at a time after that.

There will also be more family programming, as the Westin has a great kids program. We’ll encourage families to come in the summer and on holidays when parents can participate in our program, while the kids have fun at the Westin’s kids’ program.

At all of our locations, we encourage our guests to try things they’ve never done, and like we do for all of our guests at every location, we will encourage those who participate in the San Antonio program to sign up for a 5K once they complete our program.

Will the food be any different to reflect the local area?

The menu is similar to the New York menu, though we will, as I like to say, “Texify and Mexify” it. We will adapt the menu to take into account local flavors, but we already use ingredients like avocados and cilantro in dishes like our fish tacos. In time, we will make the menu reflect the area in a healthy way.

Will spa play a different role at all in San Antonio?

The spa at the Westin is more luxurious since it is overall a larger spa and larger hotel; there are more options, and it’s very inviting. While we’re not a spa-oriented program, the spa will be integrated into the program more at the Westin than it is now in New York. We’ll encourage guests to reward themselves at the spa after their hard work for the day, and we’ll offer a spa discount. Many of our guests will have a massage.

What do you look for in employees?

I try to hire a core staff that can multitask; for example, a nutritionist that will also lead hikes. We want people who can speak to learning how to live across the lines. I particularly keep an eye out for candidates that reveal some reason in their life to want to work with this population. We’re still hiring in Texas, and all candidates have to have the skills and certifications required for the role they’re interested in. Of course the facility, food and components like that are important, but at the end of the day, it’s the staff that makes a big difference.

Honors Haven Hotel

Honors Haven Hotel, Ellensville, NY

What would you say were some challenges you came across in opening this new location?

The main challenge was planning the San Antonio location while the New York program was still running. There was a lot going on, but the biggest challenge, I would have to say, was the website. We redid the old website and switched over from HTML to WordPress. The new site now has new photos, videos and more.

Any special marketing initiatives to roll out the new location, which begins taking reservations on October 21?

We’ll have an extensive marketing campaign to launch. People tend to sign up for things like this late—they don’t come to grips with the fact that they need to lose weight until an event or something else happens in their lives, and once it’s something they decide that they need to do, they don’t want to wait. Because of this, there will be a $300 discount promotion that can be applied to any stay through the end of the year, and we’ll have a new brochure and will continue to blog as well.

It’s a lot of fun and extremely exciting. I have to tell you that when you look at someone who has overcome issues with obesity or an unhealthy lifestyle and see how far they’ve come, and to know I had a hand in pulling it all together, it’s a fantastic feeling.

Learn more about Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts here.

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New! Last-Minute Booking Tool

SpaFinder® Wellness has recently launched last-minute offers in the New York City metropolitan area to help spas and wellness businesses expand their reach and attract new customers. Starting November 1, we’ll also be launching in Miami, Chicago and L.A., with many other cities to follow.

Offers PageSpaFinder Wellness’ new last-minute booking tool provides our spa and wellness partners with a way to fill up any last-minute, open appointment times. With no risk for you, we have built a way for spa and wellness owners to optimize appointment calendars on a last-minute basis while protecting their brand.

“We’re very impressed by the ability to fill our previously un-bookable appointment times,” says Rachel Knapp, spa director, The Spa at Trump SoHo, New York City. “bTreated has the kind of members that we want to invite to our spa, and a brand image that matches the quality of the services we offer.”

Other spas that have used the tool include Clarins Skin Spa, Caudalie Vinotherapie Spa at The Plaza, Kimpton Spas and SkinCareLab.

How does it work?

  • Log in as often as you’d like and post unfilled appointments
  • Appointments are available from 9 a.m. the day before to one hour before appointment time (or until booked/removed)
  • You choose the discount (minimum is 30 percent)!
  • You can pull out appointments during the day as they are sold; you can also post new appointments if you have any last-minute cancellations
  • Customers pay for their last-minute treatments in full
  • There are no cancellations; the appointments are guaranteed
  • SpaFinder Wellness Last Minute Offers takes a small commission, and we pay electronically on a weekly basis

If you’re interested in learning more, check out the Offers section on, and please feel free to contact your account manager.

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Belly Friendly Highlights Prenatal Spa Programs in September

Dubbed the “biggest birth month” as more newborns arrived in September than in any other month, according to Babycenter, Belly Friendly, a prenatal education, recognition and marketing program for spas, is spotlighting prenatal spa treatments to consumers during the month of September. We talk to founder Stacy Denny about her program and how spas can benefit from becoming Belly Friendly.

“More than 16,000 pregnant women enter the market every day in the U.S., making this a prevalent, yet underserved market segment. The program is designed to encourage moms who may have never considered a prenatal spa service to try one at a Belly Friendly spa,” Denny says of the promotion, where spas that are a part of the Belly Friendly program are offering a $50 gift certificate for a future service to moms who book a prenatal service in September 2012. Denny also founded the prenatal spa Barefoot & Pregnant in 2003. “By offering the incentive to come back during the pregnancy, we avoid standard ‘discounting’ and have more opportunity to create a relationship.”

Denny created Belly Friendly after she realized the demand for specialized services that pregnant moms could trust.

“Not only were moms from across the country contacting us to find similar spas [to Barefoot & Pregnant] located in their area, I received dozens of calls from spa owners interested in creating a Barefoot & Pregnant environment,” Denny says. “To make the award-winning concept more available to spas and moms, I developed the Belly Friendly program which launched in January 2012.”

Partnering with Belly Friendly

Belly Friendly helps spas to be more proficient in catering to expecting moms through training programs and marketing support. To join, the spa must already offer a prenatal service and have specially trained therapists who perform the services. Belly Friendly requires this to filter out spas that either aren’t interested or don’t understand the impact of the prenatal spa market, Denny says. Once the commitment is made, all spa staff must complete the online training to be marketed as a Belly Friendly spa.

“As a Belly Friendly spa partner, spas receive extensive marketing support directly to the prenatal market via grass roots medical and community outreach, strategic relationships such as Fit Pregnancy magazine and TheBump, and online,” Denny explains. “We have strategic partnerships with key pregnancy media, and are able to leverage those relationships to help our partners receive exposure within the pregnancy industry – an industry that is difficult to reach for spas that need to focus on overall business goals and don’t have the resources to allocate to a specific niche.”

Spas also receive professionally designed collateral materials and marketing templates that can be easily customized and printed on demand, as well as a Belly Friendly “seal of approval.”

The online education portion is designed to help all spa employees—from the front desk and managers to therapists — understand the pregnancy experience and create a pregnancy-friendly environment. The education ranges from the myths and faux pas of pregnancy to what a mom is experiencing by trimester.

“It also provides an important segment focused on building therapist confidence  as we often see therapists that are specially trained continue to struggle with their fears and doubts in working with expecting moms,” says Denny. “The Belly Friendly education program enhances existing training; it does not replace the need for specialized prenatal massage training.”

So, what’s most important about a prenatal spa program?

“Safety and confidence,” says Denny. “If both the spa staff and the client feel safe and confident in the treatments that they are giving and receiving, then both will benefit from the experience. The key is removing the ‘modality’ from prenatal massage, and treating it as the experience that it is; this isn’t hot stone reflexology – this is a life changing experience that lasts for 40 weeks.  To treat it as a check mark on a spa menu does both client and spa a disservice.”

Spas across the country are partnering with Belly Friendly to become the destination in their communities for expecting moms, including many SpaFinder® Wellness spas like Guerlain Spa at Waldorf Astoria, New York; YeloSpa, New York; Hotel Healdsburg & Spa in Healdsburg, California; Valencia Day Spa in Frisco, Texas; Elixir Mind Body in Denver; and many more.

Some interesting stats: Barefoot & Pregnant and Mama Mio conducted an online survey in May and June 2011 that found that nearly all moms (95%) surveyed said they would be more likely to visit a spa with specialized prenatal training over another spa. More than 60% of respondents received prenatal spa treatments during pregnancy; 38% booked two to three spa services throughout their pregnancy; and 28% booked four or more services. Of those surveyed, 30% brought friends and family to the spa for accompanying services.  And, more than 60% of moms continue to visit the same spa post-pregnancy.

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Hotel, Spa & Tourism Industry Addresses Global Water Crisis

Hotel Water, The Water CampaignThere’s an interesting initiative that brings together the hotels and resorts of the world in one globally important effort: To address water conservation and the global water crisis.

Sonu Shivdasani, CEO of Six Senses Hotels and Resorts and chairman of Soneva Fushi Resorts, has created Hotel Water, an industry-wide campaign for clean drinking water. The campaign asks hotels to stop importing bottled water to reduce food miles and the use of plastic, and instead, bottle their own water using reusable glass bottles, adding minerals at the source.

“If we sell our own water in reusable bottles and donate 10 percent of proceeds, we can help the world’s water crisis,” Shivdasani explained passionately at the Global Spa and Wellness Summit this year in Aspen, Colorado. “Our industry can solve this problem if we get behind it. As hoteliers, spas and restaurateurs, we’re often the last to get on the socially responsible and environmentally conscious bandwagon.”

Sonu Shivdasani, CEO Six Senses Shivdasani went on to list facts on how joining a cause like this can improve a company’s image among consumers as water issues are the number-one cause consumers expect companies to support.

The hotel and spa business is one sector that has the potential, Shivdasani emphasized, with big names like Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, The Peninsula Hong Kong, Westin Hotels & Resorts, Vail Resorts, Hilton, Marriott, Kimpton Hotels, Protea Hotels, The St. Regis New York and more already participating. To show just how big of an impact the hotel and spa industry can have, Shivdasani took the top 10 hotel chains and broke down the numbers if those were to join in the cause:

  • Top 10 hotels = 4.3 million hotel rooms
  • $6 average/1 bottle of water per room per night = 9.6 billion in sales
  • 10 percent of $9.6 billion in sales = $955 million to donate

“It is said that it will take $5-$10 billion dollars to solve the water crisis – it is definitely in our grasp,” Shivdasani said. “We’re not incurring costs – we’ve noticed our cost of sales go down 2%-3%. Even if you give 10 percent to charity, you’re still financially better off. The sooner you join, the better – it will give the whole industry a big boost and will be better for all of us.”

Interested in learning more about Hotel Water? Here’s what to do:

  1. Become a member of the “water” global multi-media campaign with a minimal licensing fee
  2. Replace commercially branded bottled water with filtered tap water
  3. Sell it and contribute 10 percent of the proceeds to the Clean Water Fund

Visit for more information.

And, we’re looking to spotlight spa partners that are doing good in our new consumer blog franchise, Good Karma. We’ll take one company a month and showcase its philanthropic efforts, allowing guests to feel even better about visiting your spa. Email with information.

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2012 GSWS in Aspen Incites Innovation through Imagination from around the World

Global Spa and Wellness Summit 2012

The 2012 Global Spa and Wellness Summit wrapped up last week with a bang. Industry leaders gathered for four glorious days in beautiful Aspen, Colorado, at the world-renowned Aspen Institute to share ideas, reconnect with old friends, forge new connections and, most of all, learn new ways to innovate within the industry through the boundless limits of imagination.

As the spa and wellness industry come together as one throughout the world, this year’s Summit, which revolved around the theme of “Innovation through Imagination,” addressed the GSWS 2012need to work together to create change, not only in the industry on a global level, but also for the good of the earth and the people. Sessions covered topics ranging from wellness gaming, the importance of health coaching and how to make technology work for you to the world’s water crisis and how hotels and spas can get involved and the globally growing obesity epidemic and national health care issues.

Between thought-provoking discussions, engaging panels, delicious food and fun-filled nights, the feedback we’ve received from attendees has been tremendous. Many have commented on the top-notch speakers who presented at the Summit (which included the likes of innovation guru John Kao; Miraval CEO Philippe Bourguignon; the 17th U.S. Surgeon General and CEO of Canyon Ranch Health Dr. Richard Carmona; spa pioneer and founder of Rancho La Puerta Deborah Szekely; former president of Costa Rica Jose Maria Figueres-Olsen; Google’s Head of Industry and Retail Ted Souder; Six Senses Hotels and Spas CEO Sonu Shivdasani; Academy-Award nominee Mariel Hemingway, and many more!) and stated that this year’s event was indeed a meeting of leaders from around the world who are open to innovation through imagination and discussion of serious global issues.

The 2012 GSWS was truly an event full of ideas, and there was a plethora of information and to-do’s to take away from it. Until next year (2013 GSWS: INDIA!), here’s to inspiration, innovation and imagination, and the courage to realize your ideas and implement them to better our industry!

GSWS 2012
Read about all of the GSWS 2012 sessions here – more will be uploaded shortly! See below for specific posts.

2012 Global Spa & Wellness Summit Kicks Off with Cocktail Reception at the St. Regis Aspen Resort

Keynote speaker, Philippe Bourguignon ponders whether we should try to understand the world? Or re-imagine it?

Colorado Governor, John Hickenlooper, Addresses GSWS

Ted Souder Gives Tips on How to Make Technology Work for You

Shelley Berc and Alejandro Fogel Present an Experiential Session on Jump Starting Your Creativity

Jose Maria Figueres-Olsen: Global Business at the Forefront of the Low Carbon Economy

Dr. Richard Carmona Speaks on the Pursuit of Global Health & Wellness: The Value Proposition of the Future

Student Challenge, Part 1: Cornell & Univ. of Houston Present Two New Spa Concepts

Student Challenge Part 2: Penn State & University of Denver Present Two Innovative Spas

Sanus Per Aquam…for All: Imagination Is for the Voice of the Daring

A Chat with Mariel Hemingway & Susie Ellis

Aspen Health Innovation Project Panel: What Would Most Transform Health Care? And How Does Spa/Wellness Best Fit In?

Dr. Elissa Epel on Telomeres, the Next Wellness Frontier

Innovation Guru John Kao Jams at Summit – Using Jazz, He Not Only Demystified Innovation – He Showed How to Practically Get it Done

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SpaFinder in the Media = More Business for You!

Photo via Flickr user NS NewsflashMother’s Day has come and gone and SpaFinder Gift Certificates were front and center as TV, print, and online outlets covered everything from last-minute Mother’s Day gifts to unique gift ideas for mom. With so much media attention, we just had to share since your spa and wellness centers are where moms everywhere will be cashing in on some much-deserved relaxation and rejuvenation time.

In fact, according to an online survey of 2,215 adults last month conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of EBates, a substantial 48 percent of moms said they specifically wanted “a peaceful spa day, devoted to their own relaxation and pampering.”

Other interesting stats from the survey reported about 72 percent of men thought moms wanted flowers, but only 38 percent of moms actually wanted bouquets. Another 36 percent longed for jewelry. We think it’d be a win-win next year if gifts include both a SpaFinder Gift Certificate and some flowers or jewelry…a possible marketing tactic that spas could possibly benefit from.

Check out the following news pieces SpaFinder appeared in for Mother’s Day 2012. We’re sure all of this great press will translate into a boost in business for many of you.

Style Goes Strong: Easy and Affordable Last-Minute Mother’s Day Gifts: Mother’s Day Gifts: Floral Gardening Tools

Happy Customer: Pamper Mom This Mother’s Day with Expert Gift Picks From

The Today Show (online story): Mother’s Day Guide: From Sweets to Bling, Last-Minute Mother’s Day Gifts

The Today Show (video segment): 14 Fun, Cool Gift Ideas for Mother’s Day

AskMen: Mother’s Day Gifts for Your Partner

Valet.: Personal Shopper: Shop Talk: The Mother’s Day Gift Spectrum

Fox Business: Shop Smart for Six Popular Mother’s Day Gifts

Radar Online: The RadarOnline Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Examiner: Unique Gift Ideas for Mother’s Day

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SpaFinder CEO Launches Welltech Funding

The launch of Welltech Funding, a health and wellness-focused strategic seed round investor designed to support, develop and bring new technology companies and start-ups to market, is dedicated to changing how companies pursue wellness and healthy living.

Welltech was formed by Pete Ellis, SpaFinder, Inc. chairman and CEO, who also brought GramercyOne and SpaRahRah!™ to the global market, and transformed SpaFinder to be the leading spa and wellness digital platform. According to Ellis, Welltech’s mission is to grow “the best and brightest health and wellness technology companies.”

“The phenomenal success of SpaFinder and GramercyOne showed us that technology holds enormous potential for helping people lead healthier lives,” Ellis says. “New York City is home to some of the most creative innovators in both the technology and wellness sectors, and we look forward to working with them to take wellness-related technology and services to an exciting new level.”

To nurture and shepherd these companies to the market, Welltech will invest a minimum of $50,000 (EUR38,000, £31,000), plus office space (including phones and utilities) and marketing support in select companies. These selected companies must be using technology to create new, consumer-facing health and wellness solutions, from innovative online platforms, services and apps to consumer tools and products.

Welltech benefits

Click to enlarge

In addition to the above assets, in working with Welltech, companies have the potential to take advantage of SpaFinder, the world’s largest spa and wellness marketing company. SpaFinder will provide marketing support in the form of positioning on and, when applicable, both B2B and B2C database marketing.

Through identifying companies that are developing the most promising health and wellness technologies, platforms and tools, and providing them with a strong, collaborative, entrepreneurial support network, seed capital and receptive consumer audiences, Welltech’s focus is to foster rapid growth.

Launched in March 2012, Welltech Funding dips into the $2 trillion global wellness market, which Ellis believes is poised for further explosive growth, as hundreds of millions of consumers now aggressively seek new, smarter, health and wellness solutions and alternatives to combat the high cost and limited scope of “traditional healthcare.” Participants as of now include FITiST and WizPert, a duo of startups dedicated the pursuit of healthy living.

Welltech is financed by Jubilee Investments, an investment firm led by Ellis that recently saw success as the early stage investor in GramercyOne. Last fall, GramercyOne announced US$14.5 million in Series A funding, led by Steve Case’s Revolution Ventures, GroTech, TD Capital and Jubilee.

For more information, go to, and if you believe you and your company might be a good fit for the Welltech strategic seed round investment program, please contact Andrea Persily at 212-716-1203, or

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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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Guerlain Spa Hosts SpaFinder 2012 Trends Press Event

Last week, journalists and press from major national magazines, newspapers and websites gathered at the elegantly beautiful Guerlain Spa at the Waldorf = Astoria in New York City to attend a very special event focused on presenting the SpaFinder 2012 Global Spa Trends Report.
Photos by Amy SungAfter champagne and hors d’oeurves, guests were welcomed to the spa’s relaxation area, which was transformed into a dining hall complete with centerpieces of rich red roses and Waldorf Astoria-engraved silverware. As a three course menu by Chef David Garcelon, director of culinary for the Waldorf = Astoria, was enjoyed, SpaFinder President Susie Ellis presented SpaFinder’s 2012 trends.

Five of the trends were brought to life through leaders in the industry sharing a taste of their specialty and knowledge and emphasizing the importance of these trends:

Photo by Amy SungFirst came a closer look at the Spa, Wine & Dine Packages and Glambition trends with Richard Dusseau, president of Trilogy Spa Ventures, the company that operates Guerlain. Dusseau explained to the group that Guerlain embodies the superlative luxury spa experience through its anticipation of guests’ needs, impeccable service and attention to detail. In creating a new service platform, the luxury spa represents Parisian culture and the cosmopolitan lifestyle, Dusseau said. From floral artistry and handwritten welcome notes to handmade chocolates and rotating food selections, Guerlain returns glamour back to the spa experience.

Photo by Amy SungNext, the trend of Good Vibrations (Sound, Music, Light and Color Therapies) was brought to life by Shannon Stringert, spa operations manager, Qua Baths & Spa, Las Vegas, and the spa’s Master Artisan, a double-certified esthetician and massage therapist, Lori Cloutier. Together, they presented the unique Aura-Soma concept offered at Qua Baths & Spas that incorporates color, light and vibration therapy. With “aura,” meaning light, and “soma,” meaning body, this treatment incorporates colors, massage, interpretation, light and acupuncture meridians to create a multi-sensory experience, connecting the mind, body and spirit.

Photo by Amy SungYamuna Zake then spoke to the Healthy Feet trend.  As a master body therapist, creator of the YAMUNA® Body Rolling fitness and therapy system, the YAMUNA® Body Logic hands-on therapy and YAMUNA® Foot Fitness, Zake spoke on the importance of foot education, saying “one third of the bones in our body are in our feet and without them, you can’t get anywhere.” With her development of the three related practices above, injury prevention, healing and wellness education is taught to last a lifetime. For more than 25 years, Yamuna has relieved all kinds of pain for thousands of people, teaching them how to achieve healthy, fully functioning bodies with minimal effort.

Photo by Amy SungLast but not least, the enthusiastic co-recipient of SpaFinder’s 2011 Visionary Award, Dr. Daniel Friedland, spoke about The Science of Spa trend and, the world’s first website to consolidate the validation for spa and wellness approaches.  As a highly respected educator and the president of SuperSmartHealth, which delivers wellness programs to organizations like the U.S. Army and Navy, Dr. Friedland emphasized how the creation of is a real game changer in the industry; the site makes spa not just about relaxation, but about revitalization, enabling people to live their lives as their best self.  His book Evidence-Based Medicine:  A Framework for Clinical Practice, is one of the first to apply medical literature searches to patient care.

More photos from the event (click to enlarge):

All photos by Amy Sung

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Happy Older People Live Longer: How to Market to Silver Spa-ers

Are you marketing to your boomer-and-beyond clientele? If so, you may just be helping them live longer.

Older people who are happy, even for a little while, have a 35% lower risk of dying than those who were least happy, according to a British study, of which the results were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study is a part of the longest-running British study on aging.

Because the findings emphasize the importance of emotional well-being for older people, we’re thinking that the spa can definitely be one way to make older people feel great — not only emotionally, but physically as well. And we all know that good health plays a pivotal role in how great you feel about your life and yourself.

Not only can spa have a great effect on their lives, with the immense 65-plus demographic and their buying power, these silver spa-ers also have a massive impact on the spa industry.

Savvy spas should be rethinking everything to address these all-too-often-ignored niche’s specific needs: from facilities, to equipment, to programming, to marketing and staffing. Physical therapy, rehabilitation, recuperation and just plain old pain relief have increased on spas’ menus, to meet the needs of clientele with back, neck, knee and mobility issues. Hosting a special happy hour of sorts for seniors, perhaps during the mornings when business might otherwise be slow is another way to further reel this group of clients in. Many spas are even using bigger print for their spa menus!

Here are a few other forward-thinking examples from SpaFinder’s 2011 Spa Trends Report:

  • Fairmont’s Willow Stream Spas are adding an extensive muscle and joint program promising pain relief. We’ve been seeing more spas (modeled after a Canyon Ranch) featuring exercise physiologists, sports medicine professionals, chiropractors, orthopedics, naturopaths and physical therapists on staff (or on call).
  • Spa bathing, known for pain-relief benefits, relaxation and at times, detox assistance, is experiencing a resurgence in general, and is a perfect fit for older clientele. Some examples of specialized bathing experiences include the Scandinave and Le Nordic models in Canada, the Hakone Kowakien Yunessun in Japan, or the lucrative Glen Ivy Hot Springs in Southern California. Prior research has concurred that the number-one reason people go to spas is to “relax and de-stress,” but in some regions of the world that may soon be replaced by to “relieve aches and pains.”
  • Using the term “corrective” — “corrective” massage, “corrective” facials, etc., and for the already used-to-death term “anti-aging” can help boomers pinpoint which treatments they may be interested in due to age.
  • Integrating specialized offerings such as the Biofreeze Pain Management massage; infrared saunas, which function at far-less searing heat (but penetrate heat further into the body than a traditional sauna); and new chilled loungers that accomplish what cold plunge pools do, but are more comfortable and safer for older guests, can also bring in more silver spa-ers.
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