#SpaVoice
June 2020
WELCOME TO THE JUNE EDITION OF SPAVOICE . . . 
 
In this edition of Spa Voice you will find out all about our work and activities to get you the re-opening information you need, including: 
  • Lobbying via the APPG
  • Spa Industry Survey 
  • Good Spa Guide Survey
  • The UK Spa Community Promise 
  • UKSA Consumer Video & Media Activity 
As our unique sectors falls within differing governmental guidelines at present, the UK Spa Association has taken the lead as we lobby government with the recent APPG. Thank you also to all those that took the time to help our sector, by filling out our pioneering survey, as we demand answers and clarification to our specific questions, around reopening safely. Do read our initial findings and you’ll be updated through correspondence shortly. We’ve taken the time to ask the right questions, listen and process the data generated. 

As a collaborative industry, we have also worked closely on behalf of our members, with the Good Spa Guide, to develop a consumer facing survey, so that we are well equipped to understand the needs and concerns of our consumers. To this end we have also created a working tool for our members, that of The UK Spa Community Promise which is a basis of expectant behaviour and new etiquette in these changing times. During their visit, our clients will come to understand what is expected of the spa team and vice versa. We not only provide this useful tool for your benefit, but we’ve also filmed a video for your spa’s use too. Our GM, Helena Grzesk reassures and answers the questions that the spa-going public may have. See both for your use, within this issue of Spa Voice. 

We believe that the spa and wellness sector will be in more demand and essential than ever, to support the emotional and mental health of our nation post the Covid-19 pandemic and not least for expert physical touch. Read more, as we explore The Healing Power of Touch in this month’s issue. 

With spas often an intrinsic part of hotels and therefore hospitality, there may potentially be a phased re-opening, next month. Read our contributor article, The Future of a Therapist in the Service Industry. 


Juliet Wheater 
SpaVoice Editor
 
 
UK SPA ASSOCIATION SURVEY FINDINGS

We’d like to thank the sponsors of the UK Spa Association’s Work for Wellness survey, they include: 
 
Spa Life International, Journey Travel, La Rue Verte, Body Ballancer and Salon Life. 
 
Our report and its contents would not have been possible without our members also. Therefore, we’d like to thank all participants, as we look for guidance during this difficult time. 

Key findings with regard to ‘Impact on Business & People’ concluded that 92.3% of participants reported severe or significant impact on their businesses, with 87% reporting that the majority of their staff have been furloughed and unfortunately, 27.7% anticipate the need to make redundancies on re-opening. 79.5% of businesses have applied for a Business Interruption Loan. 

Our findings have shown that missing important calendar dates, such as: Mother’s Day, Easter and Summer holidays, will be deemed to have had a negative effect on revenue. 31.1% believe that gross revenue change will be down + 51%. 

It was interesting to note therefore, that 54% stated that they aim to re-open their spas, immediately that our sector allows. Although only 13% state they anticipate opening in full, with the safety of both staff and clients, being paramount in any decision to re-open in any capacity. 

38.3% of participants plan to restrict the use of thermal facilities with 21.8% planning to phase the reopening of their pool areas, with restricted usage also. 

Our conversations with the APPG surrounded the subjects of PPE and guidelines with regard to social distancing. Through our survey, its evident that we require vital guidelines around the use of PPE and how social distancing can be implemented. 

Its anticipated by quite a majority, that ALL staff will be required to wear PPE. Respondents believe PPE will be required in some form front of house, back of house, laundry and when receiving deliveries. Suffice it to say, PPE extends well beyond the treatment room. 

78.2% believe that therapists should wear face masks, whether the government advise it or not and many respondents to our survey, want guidance on the type, quality and from where, masks are to be sourced from. With findings pointing to the cost of the masks, to be passed to clients. 

It’s accepted that facial treatments will need to be suspended, although our findings indicate that the government need to identify which treatments might be suitable on reopening and which sanitisation procedures will need to be adopted post Covid-19, so that all operations will be working to the same standard. 

With regard to gyms and their classes, our data shows that the majority believe class numbers should be reduced. A secondary response was a phased return to full use, another popular suggestion was the removal of certain pieces of equipment. 

The good news is that our industry has a real platform in which to educate the consumer with regard to their physical and mental health and wellbeing. We embrace the opportunity in this new age, to upskill our existing workforce with regard to this important, multi-faceted work. 


THE HEALING POWER OF TOUCH
by Juliet Wheater


New-borns that are given nurturing touch grow faster and have more improved mental and motor skill development. Partners who cuddle have been shown to have lower stress levels and blood pressure and improved immune function. Elderly people who receive the soothing, affirming experience of touch have been shown to better handle the process of aging. 
(Source: Healthline.com)

Perhaps one of the toughest things about lockdown for many of us is not being able to see our friends or family. To not feel the touch of their embrace. They say you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone, and human touch has been in short supply during the worldwide pandemic. Difficult for the spa therapists amongst you and most certainly your clients too. Spa and the expert, reassuring and beneficial touch it offers, we anticipate, will be in hot demand on reopening. 

Consumers in Covid-19 lockdown are looking forward to beauty therapy the most, after quarantine. This activity comes out on top, ahead of socialising, eating out and travel, according to Kantar (April 2020). The data, insights and consulting firm, scanned global English language social media conversations around Covid-19, quarantine and coronavirus, using its real time human and artificial intelligence system to identify what people were most looking forward to, post lockdown. 

The benefits of human touch, and the biological releases that come with it, can manifest positively in mental and physical health. Physical touch increases levels of dopamine and serotonin, two neurotransmitters that help regulate mood as well as help the body relieve stress and anxiety. Dopamine is also known to regulate the pleasure centre in your brain, which is a good counter to feelings of anxiety. 

Touch appears to stimulate our bodies to react in very specific ways. The right kind can lower blood pressure, heart rate, and cortisol levels and drive the release of a host of hormones and neuropeptides that have been linked to positive and uplifting emotions. There’s no doubt that the physical effects of touch are abundant. 

If touch is a language, it seems we instinctively know how to use it. But it's a skill we take for granted and one we underestimate when communicating. There's much to be gained from embracing our tactile sense—in particular, more positive interactions and a deeper sense of connection with others.

During lockdown the lack of physical contact with others can have a real impact on mental health and wellbeing, particularly if isolating alone. Now that human touch has been restricted due to social distancing measures many people may start to feel emotionally, mentally and psychologically detached which could lead to sadness, anxiety and perhaps depression. 

People with no history of mental illness are developing serious psychological problems for the first time as a result of the lockdown, amid growing stresses over isolation, job insecurity, relationship breakdown and bereavement, the Royal College of Psychiatrists has disclosed. (The Guardian). 

So, let’s be mindful of the fact that our spa staff and clients alike, will have suffered to some degree with their mental health during Covid-19. 
 
 
THE FUTURE OF A THERAPIST IN THE SERVICE INDUSTRY
By Hannah Charlesworth 


I’m unsure which is the most common phrase I’m hearing at the moment; “Recorded before social distancing”, or “How are you doing in these difficult times?”. Nevertheless, Covid-19 is proving to be a challenging time for everyone, and the service sector is no different. Life after lockdown for therapists will be a world away from how we worked in late 2019, and thus far not many predictions can be made as to how or when we could reopen our doors. In April 2020, the International Spa Association (ISPA) released a ‘checklist’ of what spas must ensure they have before there can even be a consideration of opening, but so far this is all we have.

When considering the future of therapists in the service industry, it would be so easy to speculate how the current pandemic is going to affect us and our jobs. However, I am sure many are fed up with reading about the doom and gloom this virus has brought to so many, and as I am sure you can guess from my opening statement, I am myself. Instead, I decided to use this article to reflect on the industry changes we could expect to see when we are all back on track, some perhaps now more relevant than they were prior to lockdown. 

I recall a lecturer at my University inviting us to discuss the possibility of technology being integrated into the wider service industry, beyond automated hotel check-ins and online bookings. Technology has had a profound impact on the service industry, with many spa brands being able to develop treatments that require technology to perform. Therapists have had to adapt their roles to use technology on an increasing basis and could expect to continue to do so. 

Resources such as skin scanners, used by a variety of brands, allows therapists a more detailed and accurate consultation of their guests and subsequent aftercare. Websites such as spabreaks.com, founded in 2009, have also allowed the service industry to benefit from technology by opening up the spa to more consumers. With the world-wide-web seeing two billion users daily, all being able to self-educate themselves in a matter of moments, the inclusion of more easily accessible ways to book spa experiences online can only be seen as beneficial in the 21stcentury. Social media has also been a channel many spas have now taken to use in place of traditional advertisements, understanding the variety of consumers they are able to reach this way. But within this discussion of technological advancements came about questions such as how may treatments continue to be delivered? Would there even be a need for therapists? 

The short answer is yes; there will always be a need for therapists. In an industry where the human element is so vital to consumers, it would not make sense to remove this aspect. Consumer behaviour research has found that human interaction in both hospitality and customer service jobs have the demand from the consumer for human interaction, rather than to solely deal with automated systems. Perhaps down the line we will develop technology so that we no longer have to perform massage, facials, or nail treatments, but will this take off? Unlikely. The passion to provide holistic care to others is what drives the service sector, and truthfully, I had never seen such enthusiasm in any other role, until I became a part of the hospitality industry. This is something even advanced robotics cannot ever truly replicate. Therapists should, however, be prepared to allow more technology into spas to aid both themselves and their guests, and to become proficient in using it to their advantage. 

Technology is just one example of how the future of therapists in the service industry could change. However, it is not the only contributor to the change’s hospitality could expect to see. Forbes contributor Angelina Villa-Clarke reported in a 2017 interview with Abi Wright, founder of spabreaks.com, that the service industry could benefit from increasing numbers of treatments designed for those who have suffered from cancer. Whilst previously those recovering were unable to receive treatments, a movement within the industry has allowed more people to benefit from a spa’s services. Wright states she would also like to see this kind of service available for other illnesses, post-natal depression being an example given. Whilst she appreciates that spas may never be a replacement for actual health-care services, spas can provide some relief to those who have already been through the worst life has to offer.

The future of the service sector could also expect to see an increase in reputation as a result of this. Whilst therapists can often battle with stereotypes in their roles, an increase in education as to a spa’s benefits and industry movements are happening to place emphasis on spas being integrated with preventative health care. 
A 2017 article by Bromstein (Spa Executive writer) highlights how the industry should experience a shift towards mindfulness and a focus on personal wellness in a non-medical way. A new way of thinking about the spa, and its target market, could be needed to see this change and to allow for holistic healthcare to become integrated into our lives. In 2020, the shift of the service sector becoming a way the consumer can look after their health preventatively, perhaps holds more relevance now than it did at the time of these interviews. 

Therapists of the future should expect mandatory training to treat people who have been through illnesses, or those who wish to complement existing treatments, to ensure spas are not discriminatory, and that there is a place for everybody. To benefit more people, barriers need to be broken down, such as the belief spas are just for those who can afford it. Therapists may become tasked with helping this from an educational standpoint in the future, promoting holistic healthcare and being able to demonstrate why it is worth investing in. 

 
 
 
PREPARING THE SPA GOER FOR REOPENING 

Perhaps the most important takeaway of this pandemic is that there is a lot more we can do for our consumers, to help them live their lives as healthily as possible. Continue to communicate with your regular guests throughout this time, reach out to them if you can, and see what changes they may wish to see going forward. 

As we forge a path to reopening our spas in July as the government’s road map has outlined, there's been a lot of talk about what we as spa operators and suppliers can do to prepare.  The many discussion groups, panels and numerous preparation guideline documents that have been circulated recently have covered this to the best of anyone's knowledge right now.

However, a number of our member spas have expressed ongoing concern about the desire of the spa going public to want to come back to spas as soon as they reopen. WE all know how safe and hygienic our spas are but often the public doesn't, because we've become experts at keeping this aspect of spa operations hidden. So in order to provide that extra level of reassurance, the UK Spa Association have produced a short video, featuring our General Manager Helena Grzesk, aimed at the spa going public explaining just how safe spas are, what's likely to be different when their favourite spa reopens and how much work has gone in to ensuring extra care and levels of safety for people and staff upon return. 

All UKSA members have been sent the download in order to publish the footage on their own website and social media, to provide an official, consistent message on behalf of the whole industry for your clients to reassure them so they feel safe to return.

Please view, download and showcase this video on your own website. 
 

As well as the creation of this video, your UKSA has also been hard at work, documenting The UK Spa Community Promise. This further tangible tool has been development for the safety and clarity of staff and spa goers alike. 
It is for use on your websites and social media and can be dual branded when adding your own logo. It primarily forms the new spa etiquette to include our spas commitment to the guest as well as each guest’s personal responsibility to the spas and their teams.

This downloadable benefit can be accessed by our members below. Display it in prominent areas of the spa/salon and refer to it as often as is necessary. 
 

And if that isn't enough we've been proactively in talks with a number of major media outlets to provide supporting quotes and soundbites of reassurance to the public on spa hygiene and safety to provide consumer peace of mind once our doors are once again open.

Did you see the Forbes online article in which the UKSA was included ‘Feeling Positive: How The Spa And Wellness Industry Is Reacting Now... And Planning For The Future’. 
 
 
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY . . .


 


Online Spa Directors Assemblies - 22nd June & 6th July


Online Spa Suppliers Assemblies - 29th June & 13th July




To participate please contact our General Manager, Helena Grzesk 
manager@spa-uk.org

 
 
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