This week I hosted the first ever Tomorrow Spa Meet Up in the Maldives. And it was kinda cool – if I do say so myself. I thought it might be useful to share some of the discussions we had. So here goes.
The whole idea of these Meet Ups is to simply get together a small group of like-minded people to discuss the Future of the Hotel Spa business. As I do travel quite extensively, and there are people following my articles and videos from all around the world, taking a few hours in each city to meet up with some of you seems like a great opportunity. One thing that I have certainly learned from my travels and visits to hotels and spa the world over, is that many of us are facing very similar challenges. With these Meet Ups I hope that I can share lessons from one country to those in another country. And with that, we can all benefit.
Spa Managers will no doubt be well represented at these meet ups, but it is my hope that we will also have people from other related industries. Hotel managers, skincare companies, healthcare businesses, equipment manufacturers, etc. All are welcome. In fact, ideally, I would love to have a few people with absolutely no connection to the world of spas. I genuinely believe that with this type of cross-pollination of industries and perspectives, we can really start deconstructing the spa of today and start building the Spa of Tomorrow.
In Male this week we have 12 people in attendance. We had representatives from resort spas, a city day spa, medi-spa and even two local media publications. All came with to hear my thoughts of the state of the hotel spa business and also share their own perspectives. The one thing I think we all agreed on is that hotel spas in the Maldives are, for the most part, a long way short of operating at full capacity. Whilst not all would go so far as saying the hotel spa model is broken, all agree it is currently sub-optimal.
In addition to that, a few key points we covered…
Wants vs Need
Something I’ve spoken about quite a bit in the past. One of the spas at our Meet Up told the story of how their Sunburn Treatment is the top-selling service they have. A nice, relaxing massage or facial is great, but it’s a nice to have. When you have a really bad case of sunburn, you need something to help take the burn away. The more spas can find Needs to service, rather than Wants, the more relevant we can be.
I’ve stated in the past that the Capture Rate in a market like the Maldives is likely to be somewhere between 12% to 25% of resort guests. Spa Occupancy percentages, around 30% – 40%. True GOP for the spa, around 25%. Many people said these numbers were way too conservative. Others suggested that these numbers would only apply to lower end hotels, but not 5-star resorts. Well, I hate to say I told you so…but… I TOLD YOU SO. The general consensus from our Meet Up was that my estimates are pretty accurate.
I shared an example of when we once surveyed resort guests who did not visit the spa to find out why. The reason given, for many, was that they didn’t have time. Others at the Meet Up had been given similar reasons. It’s crazy to think that these people are staying on a remote island for 1-2 weeks and yet they don’t have time to spa. Of course, the truth is, they really do have time. It’s just that we haven’t given them a compelling enough reason to go to the spa. They have time. They’re just choosing to use it doing something else.
Our city medi-spa is planning to introduce the first-ever Cryotherapy treatments in the Maldives. Being first in the market will obviously give them a big advantage. The challenge with being first is you also need to develop and often educate the market. This can be difficult, time-consuming and expensive. We also discussed the importance of having scientific, medical or at least evidence of the benefits of such treatments. A useful resource for such evidence is the Wellness Evidence website.
Wellness Transition Market
One of our resort spas was keen to explore the Wellness market but is taking a slow and steady approach to it. Their concern is that to go ‘all in’ on Wellness at their spa may mean that the spa does not appeal to the majority of their guests. The resort has 150+ rooms and so to expect a resort full of dedicated Wellness guests is probably not realistic. However, as I have also mentioned before, the opportunity in the Wellness Transition Market is significant. Even in a unique market like the Maldives. Helping gentle introduce and guide those guests new to Wellness could be a very valuable niche here.
Lots of other topics were discussed. Many viewpoints shared. Overall, I reckon it was a pretty good start to our Tomorrow Spa Meet Ups.
Next Meet Up – London sometime between 23rd – 27th of July.
Let me know if you’re keen to join.