Courtesy of The Raithwaite Estate Spa, N Yorks

UK Spa Association

News and views from the UK Spa Association

First Quarter 2019 Marketing, Are You Prepared?

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2019 is kicking off and it’s time to look at our marketing for the first quarter. Are you prepared?

After all the indulging over Christmas, January is the time we all want to detox and start the new year with good intentions. Detoxifying body treatments, and post-Christmas de-stress treatments are all great offerings for this time of year. Perhaps with a fresh fruit smoothie to follow?

January is also the perfect time to look at shifting any leftover Christmas stock. Could you pull any Christmas gift sets apart and repackage items together for a new year offering? It’s great to also incentivise the team alongside this to help retail sales for any of these items. If you have a few of one particular product remaining, you could also look at a gift with purchase or treatment with product offering. 

Towards the end of January, we want to start planning ahead for our Valentine’s treatments and packages. Couple’s massages, Spa Days for two, twilight spa treatments, breaks away including a relaxing massage each, and so on. Depending on what kind of offering your location has, you could also add afternoon tea with bubbly, or simply some chocolate covered strawberries to a treatment or spa visit.  A similar kind of offering would work well for Mother’s Day which is March 31st in 2019. Mother and Daughter spa days, or treatments to enjoy together. Could a package also include some flowers or a box of chocolates for mum?

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How to Reward your Team this Festive Period

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We all love the festive period, and it’s the perfect way to express a thanks to the team at the end of the year for working so hard.

So, what can we do to reward the team?

Getting into the spirit of festive fun, a secret Santa is a great way to celebrate and have the team bond and think about what each other may like or appreciate.

Perhaps you could offer a voucher to a set value to enjoy treatments throughout the year, or a treatment for each to enjoy in January? That way everyone gets to unwind with a relaxing treatment after the silly season, plus team members may pick up tips from each other and learn from each other’s customer service and treatment standard.

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Creating Christmas Gift Ideas to Offer Your Audience

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Ok, so we’re at the November newsletter now, it’s finally safe to start talking about Christmas. It’s time to make sure we are prepared with our offering for Christmas treats and gifts. Have you started thinking about what you can offer?

One of the biggest things for us to put our focus on is gift vouchers. Gift vouchers make such a lovely gift, as we all love a little indulgent treat and some relaxation time. Monetary amounts are obviously handy to offer and gift another, as the recipient can completely choose what they would like to enjoy on their visit. So, making sure we promote these for Christmas gifts will help bring awareness and hopefully more clients and increased income to us.

You could also share a list of your top Christmas product gifts to share with your audience? Luxurious and pampering products to provide an at home spa treat. Set the scene… invite your guest, who’s reading about your treats, in with the picture of a candlelit bath as you discuss the aromas from both the candle and bath product form your skin and body care range.

Another great idea, if you offer retreats or programmes and packages, is to promote the benefits of these for a Christmas treat idea. Becoming more and more popular, people are starting to realise the huge benefits of that time out spent refocusing mind and improving well-being. I held a Relaxation Retreat in Southern France at the beginning of October and some of the words used in feedback were that it was life-changing, that it had made such a positive impact, that they realised they need to be proud of small steps forwards and goals achieved, that they can push the comfort zone and it feels great and only continues to expand the comfort zone, and much more. Imagine giving or receiving a gift like that as a festive treat? What a great gift to promote and share for those who may wish to treat a loved one to something similar.

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Autumn/Winter marketing is upon us, what are you offering?

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Autumn has arrived and it’s a great time to bring a focus back to those warming treatments. Soothing massages, hot stones, and all things spicy and festive.

So, what can you offer this Autumn/Winter?

There are many things you can introduce, it’s finding the perfect one to fit your brand and offering. There are a range of skin and body care companies, which offer products allowing you to offer limited edition treatments in line with the season. You can use these to create your very own personalised products and treatments, giving a bespoke feel which also keeps things fresh and inviting.

With Halloween and the arrival of Autumn, it’s also time to start thinking about Christmas treats. Perhap you could offer a pumpkin facial, an orange and cinnamon pedicure or massage, or maybe a warming clove or ginger body scrub?

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Treatments on brand

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A great way to liven up your services offered and build more awareness and strength for your brand is to look at your services and create and introduce treatments that link to your brand or your location.

Restaurants do this well, by using local ingredients and produce. Customers tend to love local and it’s a great way to sell in an enticing way.

How could you link you brand and location? For example… Are you by the sea? Could you offer seaweed based products and treatments that link to that theme? Perhaps someone local creates products with local ingredients which you could use.

Located in the city with time conscious guests? You could offer treatments with two therapists at a time or mini treatments.

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Team Incentives and Targets

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One of the best things we can do for our team is work on keeping things motivating and fun. Everyone loves to know how they are performing, so it’s important to have brief regular (fortnightly tends works well) one to one meetings in which you can run through the individual team member’s performance and KPI reports and created personal targets relating to these.

From the reports, you can track rebooking rate, course sales, retail sales, average hourly income, utilisation, and much more; this all helps you to get a clearer picture on team performance and you can discuss where improvements could be made.

It can be useful to also have targets set for the team. Perhaps a daily target for the salon to aim for, which is updated regularly throughout the day to see if the team is on the way to hitting target. It can be motivating for the team to work together to try and achieve the goals and also rewarding to see the goal achieved.

Sporadic incentives also help to keep things fun and interesting with a little light-hearted competitive edge. Incentives such as, the highest retailer of the week wins a treatment of their choice to a set value, therapist with the highest hourly income for the week gets to go home half hour/an hour early paid at a mutually convenient time, the one who sells the most in course sales wins a voucher to a shop of their choice or cinema tickets. You could even put the team into pairs and the winning pair for the fortnight/month wins afternoon tea for two perhaps? Or a whole team targets which wins money towards a night out, and so on.

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If you haven’t got involved in National Spa Week yet then you need to get your skates on – or else risk missing out on leveraging what promises to be a huge amount of national and regional media coverage on the subjects of spa and wellness over the coming weeks in the run up to National Spa Week itself (10th – 17th September).

The media launch event was very kindly hosted by and held at the stunning Corinthia Hotel & Spa in London, (Wednesday July 25th,), as they are perfectly located on the doorstep of the press community, which helped make it as easy as possible for journalists to attend. And of course – what a beautiful spa to exhibit what the spa industry has to offer!

For anyone who doesn’t know, the purpose of holding a press launch is to get all the key consumer and/or trade publications, and influential journalists together in one place so that you can have quality ‘face time’ to properly showcase your new product, service, idea or whatever it is you are wanting to generate interest about. It’s helpful to aid coverage of press releases that you might be issuing, if journalists are already aware of you.

Journalists’ time is immensely precious and so it is testament to the compelling story we have behind National Spa Week and ‘Celebrating Spa’ that an unprecedented 50 or so journalists turned up to find out about our plans for the week.

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Spa-tailing – How to Get Confident With Selling from a Therapists Point of View

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In the spa and salon business, retail obviously makes a difference to the bottom line and it can be an easy recurring income revenue. But how do we boost the team members who don’t feel confident in retailing?

Maddie Parks, Beauty Therapist at The Reef, shares her thoughts, “Starting as an apprentice, I wasn’t confident in retail to begin with. I found it can be quite daunting, almost like there’s pressure to sell within the job role, and being new to the industry, I didn’t know where to begin.

“The first thing that helped me, was getting to know the products; trying them out myself and familiarising myself. This way, I felt I could better recommend my clients products that related to their consultation and give them the best results. What also made a huge difference to me, was listening to my client thoroughly in the consultation. This way I could use my knowledge to the best of my ability to benefit my client in salon and at home, with the correct products and homecare.

“After a while, I noticed my clients were really appreciative of the advice I was giving and they started asking more questions. This gave me a massive boost, because I knew I was helping them. My final point to share is that every little bit counts; whether it be a nail polish after a manicure, or luxury skincare product after a facial/body treatment. Each retail item sold made me more confident, and now I find it a much easier, and more natural, process. It’s been great to see the big difference in my KPI figures and commission, and I know I am helping my clients with recommendations, and that feels good.”

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Adding Wellness Items to Your Retail


The world is getting more and more into wellness, health, and fitness, and the population are starting to realise the huge benefits of looking after your mind, as well as body, can make. Also, with many celebrities seeing the limelight recently, with their struggles mentally, it’s bringing the importance of mental well-being to the forefront.

Meditation is a word that is more accepted, and less ‘kooky’ these days, with many spas and industry professionals offering such a service, as well as similar spiritual and well-being treatments.

So, how can we maximise our wellness offering for our client’s needs and wants?

If your spa or salon has the feel of wellness about it, popular with massages for example, then wellness retail items could be a fantastic edition to your offering. What are we talking about? Think soothing candles, incense sticks, wellness ‘self-help’ style books, mindfulness colouring books, affirmation and angel cards, worry dolls, white sage, crystals, bracelets, meditation beads, dreamcatchers, plus Himalayan rock salt lamps and gratitude journals (both of which are currently getting lots of press coverage).

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Armathwaite Hall Hotel & Spa - Tuesday 24th April 11am to 3pm

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Join us at the magnificent Armathwaite Hall Hotel and Spa in Cumbria for the UK Spa Associations Spring Networking event. Set in the secluded splendour of 400 acres of deer park & woodland, bordered by the beauty of Bassenthwaite Lake and framed by the dramatic Skiddaw Mountain and Lake District fells. Armathwaite Hall, a former stately home is delighted to host this prestigious event.

Bringing you two informative and thought-provoking speakers. This time around our session speakers will be Danielle Alen, Director of Spa & Hotel at Lifehouse Spa and Hotel and Stu Henshall owner of The Alternative Kitchen.

Lifehouse is a Spa that has always strived to be at the forefront of the industry by exploring new ways to maximise their facilities and services. This year they will become the first spa in the UK to be ‘Dementia Friendly’. With dementia now the lead cause of death in England and Wales, it is something that will sadly affect many of us. As a designated place to go for relaxation and recuperation, a spa should be able to welcome those living with dementia, as they would those going through cancer. This is something very close to their hearts and they are passionate about equipping their staff with the tools to be able to fulfil their guests’ needs at every level. The response to their training so far has been fantastic and they are very excited to be working towards their dementia friendly status this year. Danielle will explain why they chose to launch something so different, what the impact has been like from the industry, press and consumer, how she makes sure that her spa leads the way in new initiatives and why it’s so important for Spa Operators to look for USP's in this competitive market.

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Mother's Day

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March brings Mother’s Day and with it, the perfect opportunity to boost sales with the promotion of gift vouchers and spa visits.

Mother and Daughter spa days are a great treat to enjoy together. So, set packages for two with selected treatments are worth promoting.

You could always create limited edition treatments that are not available any other time of the year, to boost interest and demand for the treatment. Perhaps a specific ritual treatment, different to your standard treatments that combines a facial with a back massage, foot scrub and foot massage?

What else can you offer with your spa visits to make them extra special for Mum - A box of chocolates, a glass of prosecco?

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What do Learners really think about working in our industry?

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For a number of years, I have been a business volunteer for Working Knowledge employer engagement specialist, who work with students in colleges while across many subject areas to bridge the gap between education and the workplace.

In my time of volunteering for our industry with Beauty and Spa learners studying, the thing that really struck me is how little they seem to understand the many pathways that are available to them, I am not saying this is at every centre that offer's training, however, I seem overall to receive the same kind of questions and feedback.

When discussed with groups about the many prestigious spas and salons they could apply for work, the response back is “OH we could never go there, that is for the high-end therapist, and lots of rich people, they would never employ me". It came across in my opinion that they appear to have a narrow view of some areas of employment in our industry and some of the best, lack courage to really go for that career building Job because they feel it is beyond them.

Dylan McTaggart Vice-Principal (

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Agency Therapists

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Over the years it has proved harder and harder to recruit for Spas in certain areas, Therapists and Managers in particular. I have never had trouble when recruiting for Fitness staff and Spa Front Office, they would send CVs to me in abundance. However, certainly for Therapists it’s a very different ball game.

When I started out Managing Spas, Therapist CVs would land on my desk daily. I had my pick of the bunch and this meant that I could rely wholly on employing my own staff directly, be it part time, full time or sometimes on zero hours contracts.

I started to see a change in employment patterns in about 2010. The market was changing, agencies had been set up to offer Spas the opportunity to take on a Therapist for short periods, generally a minimum of 4 hours a day and you would cancel them if they were no longer required by giving notice. This became a positive solution to manage last minute sickness, holiday cover and to fill the weekend demand.

Whilst you need your core staff to manage the seven-day spectrum, it was becoming more prevalent to keep their numbers to a minimum, a skeleton staff if you like. A Spa would then build around this in response to demand by incorporating agency staff as required. The Spa market subsequent to the 2008/9 recession was becoming more challenging to predict and therefore for many Spa Operators this flexible employment regime became a solution to managing yield. As a result of this shift in the industry, Therapists started signing up to the agencies in droves, mainly to take advantage of this kind of ‘pick and choose’ work.

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WSW Convention speaker in the spotlight: Jessica Shea

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The World Spa & Wellness Convention coming to ExCeL London on February 25th - 26th will feature topical industry issues and high-profile names from around the world.

Jessica Shea, director, global brand spa at Hilton Hotels & Resorts tells about what she will be covering, and why industry events matter.

What would you like delegates to take away from your presentation?

I think it’s important for the industry to share universal challenges and hear potential solutions. We’re all facing a staffing crisis and can benefit from different organisations’ perspectives on what to do about it. I would like to share some of the tactics we’re implementing at Hilton to remain a top employer of spa and fitness professionals.

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Valentine’s is coming up, are you ready for it?

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Valentine’s Day is the perfect time for couples to come for a treat together, and to treat one another. The ideal time to promote your spa days or massages for two, your double treatment room and your gift vouchers in general.

Why not put some limited edition packages together for Valentine’s treats. These do not need to be at a discounted rate, but could include chocolate dipped strawberries in your relaxation room after the treatment, perhaps a red rose, or little box of chocolates, anything to turn your visit into a luxury treat.

We mustn’t forget the single people. Who wouldn’t want to give themselves a treat. A little care, attention and pampering. We all need to remember how important self-love is, so the individual treats around this time of year are important too. Show your audience how much you care and how much you’ll look after them when they visit alone.

There are many great quotes you can find for self-love and kindness to use on your social media and allows you to personalise them to your branding.

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Is your Spa and Wellness Provision an Accident Waiting to Happen?

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The Spa and Wellness industry has exploded tenfold over the last few years with more and more sites being built almost every month not only in the UK but worldwide.

There is money to be made as men, women and now children- yes children want to be pampered and feel a sense of wellbeing.  There are an abundance of beauty products coming onto the market along with a plethora of new and innovative treatments which sees everyone clambering to get the next great beauty tip, treatment and products.  There is more of a social element to spas now as well with people choosing to spend a day out with friends drinking champagne, having lovely lunches and enjoying themselves. A spa is no longer a treat or luxury, its becoming a way of life for many…

We have recently seen an increase in private and local authority prosecutions. This could be for a number of reasons, e.g. reporting incidences by the clients to the Local Authorities has got better or clients have better knowledge of their rights. On investigation the spa/beauty salon had been lacking on the basic health and safety/licensing requirements, they were caught unaware as they thought they had it covered. 

Health and safety requirements in spas is nothing new, nor has it changed so what is really going on behind the scenes and why are we seeing more enforcement actions and prosecutions? Have a think about what your business model looks like? Does it include health and safety in any way shape or form?  If it does, is it an integral part of your business model or is it an add on to simply “tick the box”.

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The Swiss Pedicure System

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Treatment Focus: MAVEX Calluspeeling;

MAVEX Calluspeeling was the first professional treatment launched by MAVEX Switzerland in 2009. It is now available in over 30 countries through distributors across the World, including the UK.

From the beginning MAVEX were a brand focussed on results and we are often told by our clients that MAVEX Calluspeeling gives the best results of any callous remover they have ever used. This is no surprise to us; our product has been rigorously tested with proven results; important in an industry that relies on results to succeed and secure repeat business.

If you want to give your clients the best spa pedicure results, save time in your salon and increase profitability of pedicures, then you need to be using MAVEX Calluspeeling. This is particularly prevalent for a spa that is claiming to be a ‘Medi Spa’ offering ‘Medi Pedis’. The only callous remover you should be using for a Medi Pedi is MAVEX Calluspeeling because it is the only one that is an Approved Medical Device.

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The World Spa & Wellness Convention will return to ExCeL London on February 25th - 26th, as part of the Professional Beauty trade show. Unique in Europe, the World Spa & Wellness Convention is a leading spa industry networking event for senior management. 

With a global following and attracting an audience of over 300 senior professionals, this strategy-focused event brings you to the heart of the profession. Each year the convention covers a wide range of topics high on the global industry agenda.

Speakers at the convention will be drawn from around the world and include some of the most established names in the sector, such as Andrew Gibson, Vice President of Well Being Luxury Brands, Accor Hotels; Marc Ellin, Global Head of Miraval Group and Kay Pennington, Group Spa Manager at Aqua Sana Centre Parcs. To see the full speaker line-up please click here.

From innovation in technology to hyper-personalisation, customer relations to rebirth of fitness in spa, the convention will cover the most pressing issues facing the industry. Please take a look at the full convention programme set to give you practical solutions and ideas to benefit your business and career.

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Spa Benchmarking Insights: Who Sells the Most Retail?

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If you are already one of the spas registered for the UK Spa Associations Benchmarking scheme, then you will already be benefitting from the monthly benchmarking reports allowing you to compare your spa's performance with that of other similar spas in the UK.

This valuable data is designed to show you where you are excelling in your businesses performance and where you could make improvements.

Given the accumulated data that we now have available, in 2018 the UK Spa Association will produce quarterly "Insights' based on the data provided by our registered spas. This will highlight interesting patterns, trends or disparities based solely on the data that would not immediately be obvious to registered spas simply from the benchmark reports they receive each month.

The first full Insights Report will be produced in March 2018, to give you a bit of a taster  . . . and for a bit of fun, here is a question?

Who sells the most retail  . . . North or South?

Or more accurately, who is better at converting Treatment Revenue in to Retail Revenue?

To start the year off we decided to analyse data we have from registered spas in the UK dating back to March 2017 to see who averaged the best treatment to retail conversation figures. From the graph below it’s fairly clear that the answer is The South.

Over the period March to October, spas in the south averaged around a 4% higher Treatment to Retail Conversion figure than their cousins in the North.

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However, we wondered just how much this was affected by London Spas? We wondered if, just like property prices, London was skewing all the data for the south. So we split out the figures for London and look what happened . . . 

In contrast to what we thought, it turns out that London is actually a slight drag on Conversion Figures for the south, with figures for the South East and South West combined averaging higher conversion rates than London alone!

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How to support the emotional wellness of your team with Beata Aleksandrowicz


Supporting the emotional wellness of your team is a complex business because we are dealing with people. People who have hopes and fears, dreams and dilemmas. We are also dealing with sensitive people. Young people (in the main) and we have to act as a boss, confident and guide. But believe me – if you do this with passion and commitment and maintain this as an on-going practice, you will benefit with a more engaged team and a more passionate and revitalized team.

We are all individuals

The most important element when supporting the emotional wellness of your team is to acknowledge the unique personal tools that they bring to the role – their character, attitude, energy and sense of spirit. These are invaluable assets to be nurtured and respected.  On another hand those assets can also be their biggest enemy, making therapists over sensitive, fragile and vulnerable. Therapists can feel everything…both empathy and sympathy is their strongest point but it can totally exhaust them as well. The impact of therapists’ wellbeing can affect everything from client engagement to professional performance.

Managers need to be fully aware of the complexity of therapists’ characters. They are not warriors (at least not most of them). They are givers, often introverts that would rather touch than talk.

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