Courtesy of The Raithwaite Estate Spa, N Yorks
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UK Spa Association

News and views from the UK Spa Association

Armathwaite Hall Hotel & Spa in Cumbria was the host of the UK Spa Association Spring Networking Event.

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Armathwaite Hall Hotel & Spa in Cumbria was the host of the UK Spa Association Spring Networking Event.

The UK spa industry headed to The Lake District in full force with over 100 of the UK’s top spa professionals, including owners, suppliers and consultants, attending a full day of networking event. As one of the nation’s leading, multi-award winning spas achieving the prestigious ‘5 Bubbles’ in the Good Spa Guide, Armathwaite Hall made the ideal location for hosting such a prestigious event.

Following a welcome talk from Armathwaite Hall’s General Manager Simon Steele, networking amongst spa industry insiders took place alongside two inspiring talks.

This included a discussion on ‘Dementia in Spa’ from Danielle Alen, Spa Director of Lifehouse Spa in Essex, which covered the specific needs of guests with dementia, and ‘The Alternative Kitchen’ from renowned food and beverage consultant Stu Henshall which highlighted the role of plant-based menus and the growing demand for vegetarian and vegan options in hotels and spas. 

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Preparing Your Skin for Summer Time

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Combining Treatments for your clients is a benefit to the spa and also the clients’ relaxation is essential in everyday life whether it is a relaxing 30 minutes with a book or catching time to spend on yourself.

Preparing for spring it’s essential to look at how we can improve the texture of our skin after winter.

Body exfoliation

A scrub or body polish weather it is a salt or a sugar scrub is an exfoliator which leaves the skin feeling fresh, smooth, and after being moisturized feels so nice. As we come out of our winter clothes and expose areas of the body which have been wrapped up to keep warm we need to exfoliate all the dead skin cells away with an abrasive product which is massaged  across and into your skin. When rinsed away reveals a moisturized layer of fresh, clean and smooth skin.

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The rise of the Sophisticated Hen. How to cater for Hen Parties.

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Hen parties visiting spas is nothing new, but in recent years, there’s been a real trend towards the sophisticated hen party - which can translate into huge gains for spa businesses if they cater for these groups accordingly. As an online wedding planning resource for thousands of brides each year, Guides for Brides have a great insight into what brides are looking for in their hen party spa break, and how (and why) spas should be catering to this customer.

In 2017, Blue Chip Holidays polled over 2,065 brides, bridesmaids and anyone attending a hen weekend in the coming year, and asked: “Would you rather go to a classy or tacky hen party?” A huge 85% of respondents said they’d prefer classy. Of that group, 31% percent specifically cited that they wanted to be pampered at a hen.

Our own data supports this - since January, Guides for Brides had over 28,500 page views from brides and bridesmaids on our listed spas, and we expect this number to only increase as hen party planning season gets underway.

Not only is the demand for a sophisticated, pampering hen party there, but so is the capital. According to a survey by Banana Moon, the average hen party spend in 2017 was £507 per person, which reflects the move towards more luxury activities and accommodation. Take into account that the average hen party group is made up of 13 people, and you’re looking at a lucrative demographic.

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Lifehouse Spa & Hotel leads the way with Alzheimer’s Society to deliver 'Dementia Friend' training to entire staff

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Lifehouse Spa & Hotel is proud to announce it has collaborated with the Alzheimer’s Society to offer Dementia Friend Information Sessions to the entire Lifehouse staff so that they are able to provide a high level of service for guests living with dementia.

The Alzheimer’s Society’s ‘Dementia Friends’ is the biggest ever initiative to transform the way the nation thinks, acts and talks about dementia. Becoming a Dementia Friend simply means finding out more about how dementia affects a person – and then, armed with this understanding, doing small everyday things that help.

The initial batch of Information Sessions were delivered to over 50% of the Lifehouse workforce in the last quarter of 2017, with staff from all departments getting involved. The remainder will then be carried out in early 2018 to ensure all members of staff are better equipped to welcome guests with dementia to Lifehouse. This will also allow carers to feel more relaxed, knowing that their loved one is being well looked after during their visit to the hotel & spa.

Once all Lifehouse team members have received the Dementia Friend Information Sessions, the company will then identify actions they can take as, as part of the local Dementia Action Alliance, making simple changes based on what is known to be important to people affected by dementia and will truly change their experience. 

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The future of beauty at Europe’s favorite beauty business event



The Natural Beauty & Spa Show is back with another helping of the best natural and organic beauty innovations the industry has to offer.  Featuring over 250 personal care and cosmetic brands, and a dynamic seminar programme full of beauty pioneers and experts – there’s plenty for retailers and buyers looking to stay ahead of the curve in an ever-evolving market.  


Register for your free trade ticket today – quote priority code: NPEB49

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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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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?

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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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