Courtesy of The Raithwaite Estate Spa, N Yorks

UK Spa Association

News and views from the UK Spa Association

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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8 Steps to Effective Management


Keeping valued team members must be a top priority for any spa business planning to succeed over the long term. The fifth most important factor for why employees stay with an organization is money, so how do we keep our team motivated and enjoying their jobs.

Recognition is free, give it out when appropriate as it can raise the bar with your team. Another level of recognition is getting your company's Executive Team involved. Recognition coming from the 'Executive' level has a very positive impact on your employees as it lets them know that they are being watched and attention is being given.

This kind of recognition makes us all stand a bit taller. Memos and voicemails coming from the 'Executive' level stand out. This also allows you as the manger to ensure that upper management is kept abreast of the achievements your team are making for the overall success of the business... To add yet another level of stimulation, have an executive either personally call to congratulate someone (or a group) or even show up in person to shake hands and express his or her appreciation. 

On-the-Spot Praise. This too is associated with recognition but the key here is timing. When there is a reason for praising someone don't put it off for any reason! Promptness equals effectiveness. Praise people when the achievement is fresh on everyone's mind. What is effective is for us to pay attention, watch for accomplishments and go out and tell whoever it is what a great service they gave or applaud them for going above and beyond to serve the guest...praise them promptly for what they accomplished or achieved! Don't allow time to creep in and snatch away any ounce of the positive impact that praise can have when it is delivered promptly. 

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The Retail Experience


Our Spa Guests want to shop, what they don’t want is to be sold to. Here are some tips on effective retailing from my own experience working in Spas.

Selling shouldn’t be a chore, it shouldn’t feel uncomfortable and it shouldn’t be forced. The Therapists with the highest sales in my experience are those that simply express passion for the products demonstrating a genuine belief in the benefit to the customer. The products will sell themselves if combined with a wonderful treatment and to emphasize this the Therapist has the opportunity to select the most appropriate products for that client’s skin type and requirements. The key is to then gently advise on why they have selected the products that they have chosen, discuss the client’s current beauty regime, identify any specific needs and concerns and simply make recommendations.

The Therapist should have had thorough training in the product brand that they are using and it’s vital they have been able to experience the products themselves. The most genuine and effective sales come from Therapists who can vouch for the product they are recommending.

Let the client finish their treatment in a wonderfully relaxing way by offering them a drink and then ideally taking them to a relaxation space where they may continue to rest. The worst end to a treatment is to have a sale pushed on you. 

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Why Be A Member of the UK Spa Association?


You are a spa manager.

You juggle the daily responsibilites of managing a booking system, therapist rotas, spa set up, financial reporting and administration, marketing and sales strategies, training and recruitment, memberships, developing new treatments... all the while trying to deliver the ideal guest experience AND grow your business, and yet nobody actually knows what you do!

Sound familiar?

Our spa operator members tell us it’s because of these very challenges that they join the UK Spa Association (UKSA).

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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?

Benchmarking Insights

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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New Year is the perfect time to get in gear and refocus for a strong 2018


It’s a New Year and a great time to refocus and regroup. One thing we are learning more and more is that the mind-set is very powerful in helping us achieve and deliver. It gives us confidence and motivation when we take the time out to tap into our mind on various areas of our life, and in turn gives us a strong chance at any desired results. New Year’s resolutions are a great way of doing this generally. New Year gives us the feeling of a new chapter and is the perfect time to look at personal, business goals and performance, then plan ahead for the New Year.

So, take a look at reports. Here are a few to get you thinking and planning:

  • How has the business been performing?
  • What did you achieve in relation to the previous year?
  • What were the most popular treatments?
  • What was your average spend per client/hour/room?
  • Who are your key team members?
  • What is your retail performance like?


Reflecting over these results means we can take a look at any areas that may need training for the team. It also shows us our most popular types of treatments and where we can focus in the New Year – are our most popular treatments one of the top on profits for the business?

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Staff Training can improve business performance, profit and staff morale.


Have you ever been on a training course and felt inspired re-energised ready to deliver what you have learnt to all your clients? January Can be a month to schedule training develop staff in further skills to meet your client’s demands.

Advantages to your business include:

  • You choose what new skills your workforce requires, target skills to meet the needs of your operation for now and in the future
  • Training your staff can result in better customer service, better work safety practices and productivity improvements
  • You demonstrate to your workforce that you value them enough to invest in them, improving loyalty and staff retention. In turn

Retention is a saving to you

Training has many benefits for your staff:

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What makes a great massage? With Beata Aleksandrowicz

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A great massage should offer much more than physical relief and relaxation. Delivered with knowledge, humanity, professionalism and commitment, a client should feel cared for. They should also feel a positive change that addresses their concerns. A good massage should make your client feel more positive, at peace and connected with themselves. There should also be clear guidance on how to support the results of the treatment at home. 

To deliver a good massage we must acknowledge the healing power of touch 

Touch is the mother of all senses, and is the first sense that develops in the embryo. It’s how we learn about the world around us and gives us the deepest connection with another human being. It brings comfort, reassures us that we are not alone, provides warmth, care and attention. 

In today’s disconnected world we avoid touch because we don’t have the emotional understanding of how to respond to it. People don’t know how to handle intimacy either – even simple hug can become a problem. This is why touch can be misunderstood and misused. Positive touch is a condition of physical and emotional growth and I believe massage plays a vital role in restoring this balance. 

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National Spa Week Success in 2017

This year we started promoting National Spa Week early on to ensure we got as many Spa’s as possible involved. From May onwards we had a regular presence via editorial and press advertisements and digital banners in many of the major trade titles including Professional Beauty, The Beauty Guild, European Spa, Spa Life, World Spa and Wellness and many more.

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The National Spa Week Website saw circa 3,000 unique users during the week and 480 spas registered to run promotions for the week – that’s an increase of 50% on 2016.

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This year we really saw an increase in consumer news coverage with over 10.5 million opportunities to see in documented print and on-line coverage not to mention bucket loads of social media and even broadcast coverage. We were trending on Twitter again on the first day of the week.

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Fitness Engagement

It’s time to start thinking about the January gym rush, it’s the busiest month for gym sign-ups and expect to see a lot of your existing members back in the gym working off their Christmas dinners! Many gyms focus on sales during this busy period and neglect the retention of their current members. Rather than spend time looking for new members it is far easier and more cost effective to retain the ones you already have, it’s also far more enjoyable!

I first worked as a Fitness Instructor in 1999 when I took a role in the heart of Reading at a bustling 2000 member gym. My new boss could see I was an enthusiastic young woman and he decided to focus my energy into the engagement of our members, I was tasked with creating elaborate gym challenges, notice boards, member competitions and member’s events. My colleagues and I spent a lot of time on the gym floor, supporting and engaging with our members. There was a great buzz in the gym and we had happy members, we would regularly attract new members simply by recommendation and referral. These straightforward yet effective methods of member engagement are still entirely relevant today.

There have been many technological advances that can support member engagement. Gym challenges are now available on the equipment, along with TV channels, radio, goal setting, progress charts and even computer games. There are apps and gadgets that can monitor your fitness levels and running distances for example. However, be cautious not to rely on these technological advancements and neglect the personal approach. Get to know your members, understand what their goals are, what their training preferences may be and get to know the times they come in to train. Address them by their name and make them feel valued. Even those members who prefer to keep a low profile will appreciate a personalised welcome and farewell if nothing else. A nice little touch is to send an email to your customer if you haven’t seen them for a while, let them know they’re missed, wish them a happy birthday or congratulate them when they hit certain goals.

Keep up to date with Industry trends and refresh your equipment offering from time to time. Keep your fitness classes fresh and introduce extra services such as juice bars, healthy menus, personal training, nutritional assessments and health coaching to name a few. I would also recommend having a small retail offering, selling swimwear, gym wear, health products and perhaps skincare and body products. It all contributes to member engagement.

With all these ideas in mind, the main success of every gym I have worked in has been entirely down to the warmth and interaction of the staff!

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