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Spa Business roundup: five webinars not to miss

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City of London Corporation
£35,663 - £39,805pa + Local Govt Pension + benefits
location: Epping Forest, London, United Kingdom
New Hall School
£3,768pa (9.00am-2.00pm, Saturdays, in term time)
location: Chelmsford, Essex, United Kingdom
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The spa industry is showing its strength as a sector that thrives on connections – even when the world is on lockdown, wellness leaders across the world are keeping in touch and offering insights through a whole array of Webinars and online gatherings.

Lisa Starr shares her highlights from the most useful ones that she’s sat in on recently, including some from the hospitality and retail sector.

Wellness Tourism Association’s roundtable

The Wellness Tourism Association (WTA) held its first-ever Zoom roundtable, moderated by chair Andrew Gibson, to gather perspectives on the ‘new normal’ and the future of wellness tourism from the tour operators, hotels, resorts, retreats, brands, media and travel advisors that make up its membership.

Laszlo Puczko mentioned that his company, Health Tourism Worldwide, is conducting a survey in conjunction with the WTA to understand how the crisis may impact wellness-motivated travel in the future, and inviting participation here.

Tourism consultant Terry Stevens predicted a shift from destination marketing to destination management, saying that post-COVID, locations that attract guests will be those that are admired for the way in which they deal with the recovery as well as their transparency in environmental issues moving forward. Destinations will need to demonstrate that they are good caretakers and community partners, avoiding overtourism and promoting sustainability and earth-friendly practices. Stevens cites Barcelona Declaration as a model to emulate, this is a pact made in 1995 by almost 30 countries, which agreed to work together to keep their area of the Mediterranean safe and secure, for their mutual benefit. He predicts that future consumers will be most interested in patronising destinations which are considered admired custodians of their natural and cultural habitats.

Through polls conducted and opinions expressed during the roundtable, most attendees felt that leisure travel would be the first to recover, especially in destinations that could be driven to, and that it would take six to 12 months for travel to begin to make a recovery.

Green Spa Network’s ‘The future of fitness’

Green Spa Network’s seventh weekly webinar focused on fitness in hospitality with panellists including Melissa Walker and Teresa Flyger of Hilton along with Jay Muller, VP of hospitality North America of Technogym.

This discussion centred around the challenges of reopening hotel fitness centres. Fitness has become an essential, especially for business travel, and nowadays it’s rare to find a hotel without at least a modest fitness room – and sometimes these are located within or next to a spa and run by the same team. However, outside of the luxury market, most of these rooms are not staffed, so this creates problems when it comes to monitoring or policing usage and cleaning.

This webinar had a very active chat panel, and points that came out of the discussion amongst both panellists and attendees were as follows:

  • Unplugging every other machine to ensure social distancing
  • Having guests sign-up for a machine, or an area, of the gym
  • Offering more classes to ensure spacing, and utilising the outdoors where possible
  • Using empty meeting space elsewhere in the hotel for additional activities
  • Voice-driven technology to activate equipment
  • Time-out periods to clean and sanitise
  • Online booking also offering fitness equipment
  • Leisure guests will be first to return, and they’ll be looking for amenities

Watch the full session here.

Mindbody’s ‘How to reopen your spa, salon or wellness business strong after COVID-19’

Software management company Mindbody held a panel-based webinar on reopening strategies, something which is still a conjecture for the most part. Chris Nedza, director of strategic marketing at Mindbody, was joined by Mindbody certified business consultant KK Hart and spa management trainer Lisa Starr of Wynne Business.

This well-attended session had a very active chatbox with numerous tactical questions. Will we all wear masks? Do we need to have gloves? Aprons? What other safety precautions will guests expect? Most of this will be driven by legislation, from countries on down through states, precincts, cities and regions, but in general, it’s expected that much of these PPE items will be required. In the US a few states have given approval in the last week for nail and hair salons to open.

The company has also launched a reopening guide for spas available fordownload here.

Follow this link to watch the seminar.

Total Retail’s ‘Critical factors to grow retail revenue in a disruptive economy’

The retail industry has some interesting insights for spas, including a panel session by sector magazine Total Retail. Expertise came from Amy Lauer, SVP Sephora; Gail Buffington, VP marketing, Soft Surroundings; Sanjeev Sularia, CEO, Intelligence Node and moderator Kristina Stidham, digital content manager at Total Retail.

Amy Lauer noted that: “things we didn’t think could be done digitally are exploding – school, cooking, art class, ballet,” adding that we’re seeing new channels open up, new ways that people experience products.

Buffington commented that with consumer confidence at lower levels, stores can’t afford to gamble when clients return and will need to take deep looks across category performance, especially at which categories are doing well at full price.

Lauer said: “We need to practice active social listening and have a clear response strategy. Younger clients are very interested in purpose-driven companies. Prospective customers may want to understand your decisions around how you treat your employees. Balance the social side and how you as a company are showing up, managing client data and how you emerge.”

All panellists discussed the role technology will have to help get frontline employees ready for reopening. They talked about using virtual training, early and often, retraining and refresher sessions, product knowledge capsules and videos and using clienteling apps to establish long-term relationships with key customers.

To access the session, click here.

Hospitality sector looks at ‘Designing for customer’s wellbeing needs when travelling post-COVID-19’

Grounded by Design, Hotel Business magazine, Inspire Design and Next Events collaborated to host this webinar.

Moderator Adam Glickman of Parallax Hospitality was joined by Colletta Conner, designer at ForrestPerkins; Jay Muller of Technogym; forecaster Max Luthy of TrendWatching; Accor’s director of spa and fitness for North & Central America, Daniel Poulin; and Roger Bloss of Alternative Hospitality.

While admitting that no one really knows what the future holds at this point, Glickman urged the panellists to focus on the desires of the end-use traveller. From a design perspective, potentials included anti-microbial countertops, well-maintained and functioning HVAC systems, and many aspects of space being utilised differently. For instance, there may be space in newly-designed hotel rooms for sanitising wipes, or fitness may be more spread out in different areas.

Poulin noted that some aspects of operations, especially around sanitation, that used to be kept hidden from guests, especially in the luxury sector, will now be more acceptable and even part of the “performance” for the guest. Forecaster Luthy shared that hundreds of innovations could be found at a website just created called covidinnovations.com.

Other future design considerations discussed included guestrooms that have windows that can open, more balconies and access to fresh air and biophilic features. Hotels will be operating with less staff and lower occupancy, so spaces may be used differently. But most importantly, hotels have to be able to prove they are safe and clean.

Click here to watch the webinar.

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The spa industry is showing its strength as a sector that thrives on connections – even when the world is on lockdown, wellness leaders across the world are keeping in touch and offering insights through a whole array of webinars and online gatherings.
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