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Marketing and operations advice dominates Spa Life UK

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The fifth annual Spa Life UK event took place on 18-19 November at Center Parcs Woburn Forest, featuring a jam-packed schedule of talks from industry experts.

The event comprised three main parts: the Conference; the Spa Life Forum; and the invitation-only CEO Summit, where the BBC’s business guru Dr Paul Thomas provided key insights into how to increase effectivity in the workplace without losing front-line staff.

The Good Spa Awards were also incorporated into this year’s event, during a gala dinner on Tuesday 18 November. This was the inaugural live ceremony and the sixth annual awards.

Topics during the conference programme ranged from how to implement cancer-safe treatments; how to attract, nurture and convert new customers via marketing; ways to develop consistency across spa operations; spa design for the 21st century; modern technologies and their ability to maximise profit; online learning benefits; the difference between UK and US spa consumer habits; and an update on global wellness tourism data.

Linda Moir, who helmed the London 2012 Olympic Games delivery team, gave a speech based on her vast experience from roles at Virgin and British Airways. She explored how delegates can deliver exceptional performance and customer service by never underestimating the ability of staff to learn new skills.

“There are three golden rules to managing people that I learnt when organising volunteers for the Olympic Games. First, keep your team busy so that they feel really involved. Second, keep people rotated around tasks because your staff’s positive experience on the job is important to create an excellent environment for customers. Thirdly, recognise people and their needs – so reward employees by thanking them, perhaps by offering them gifts that are low in cost but high in emotional value on completion of a certain number of shifts.”

Another memorable and controversial talk was given by brand expert and visiting professor BJ Cunningham (pictured), who talked about customer loyalty, discounting and how brands represent promises to consumers.

Cunningham spoke about his experience of marketing cigarettes that told the truth – that smoking kills. He posited brands that tell 'the truth' – a message that most consumers of a particular market believe – will be successful. By creating a range of death-branded cigarettes, Cunningham said he offered consumers logical and honest warnings on the packaging of the product and allowed customers to choose to smoke – rather than disguising the truth that smoking kills as other tobacco companies continue to do. By embracing health warnings, he provided an unorthodox and controversial product that offered consumers the freedom of choice – something Cunningham believes is what business is about.

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The fifth annual Spa Life UK event took place on 18-19 November at Center Parcs Woburn Forest, featuring a jam-packed schedule of talks from industry experts.
B J Cunningham, brand expert and visiting professor gave a talk on customer loyalty
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