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Sue Harmsworth gives GWS masterclass webinar on the spa and wellness industry in the age of COVID-19
By Liz Terry 29 Apr 2020
Sue Harmsworth gave a masterclass for the Global Wellness Summit webinar series
Spa and wellness icon, Sue Harmsworth has given a masterclass as part of the GWS webinar series.

Speaking to 630 people from 99 countries via Zoom today (29 April), Harmsworth said: “This is almost a war situation – we need to work harder than we’ve ever done and listen to the consumer as we adapt our businesses to the new reality.”

Harmsworth said the upcoming availability of easy, fast, cheap COVID-19 testing will be the key to success – if staff and clients can be checked each time they come in, then the spa can become a safe space.

Couple this with hospital-grade cleaning and hygiene and sterilisation protocols with things like UV light, as well as the use of PPE, and Harmsworth said operators will then have a viable proposition to market to consumers.

No discounting
With the additional expense involved with these COVID-related interventions, she said spas could justify holding their rates rather than discounting, so long as they explained this to customers: “We must sell our air quality, our hygiene standards and then we can hold prices and protect staff at the same time,” she explained.

Harmsworth said in spite of these increased hygiene interventions, older people with health issues might avoid spas, but those under 30 would be far less concerned and would be more confident to venture out. She suggested businesses take this into account in terms of targeting their product development and marketing at younger age groups in the immediate post-lockdown period.

She also advised slimming down spa menus to accommodate the more complex delivery, as services that require close contact will not be so popular with consumers for some time, including massages and facials.

She recommended spas increased the proportion of offerings on spa menus where customers remain clothed, such as Thai massage and assisted stretching. “Pick the things you can deliver without close touch,” she said.

Online retail
Harmsworth recommended using the shutdown to strengthen the online retail offer to create new revenue streams to strengthen the business, saying: “Consumers who can’t get to the spa are spending more on online retail and you can take advantage of this.”

She said she did not expect the long-haul travel market to recover anytime soon and said spa and wellness businesses need to cultivate customers from their local community as an alternative to inbound tourists or business travellers.

Medical spas and clinics will have a huge advantage in the eyes of the consumer, said Harmsworth, due to the trust they engender. Other more generalist spa and wellness businesses would be advised to add medical options, such as diagnostics, as well as offering clinical aesthetics.

Immune boosts
She said all services relating to immune strength and lung capacity and function would be popular, including things such as the use of hyperbaric chambers.

When we come out of the lockdown, Harmsworth said there will be a hunger for fundamental beauty and maintenance services, such as manicures and pedicures, and recommended businesses gear up to deliver these services.

She said customers are likely to have a range of mental health issues around grief and recommended operators should use the shutdown to upskill staff and prepare them for these challenges by teaching them skills around empathy, so they can better look after customers.

When asked about the likely timeline for disruption, Harmsworth said she expects COVID-19 to impact business for 18 months to two years and that we will see business casualties and that “a lot of overleveraged businesses will go bust.”

Ultimately she said her dream is that the world works towards a new focus on prevention and holistic approaches and that this reaches right across all demographics.

She closed by saying that we must guard against there being a blame game between nations with COVID-19 so we can work towards creating a better world for our children and grandchildren.

She also called on the industry to step up and be creative in tackling the challenges ahead: “Think completely out of the box” she said, “it isn’t going to be like it was before.”



News
1 to 12 of 7486 news stories
07 Aug 2020
The Wellness and Barr + Wray are collaborating to realise a new spa and gym for the upcoming Address Jumeirah Resort and Spa, in Dubai. Developed by Emaar Hospitality Group, the beachfront destination will comprise ... More
06 Aug 2020
ISPA has announced the election of a new chair, vice-chair and secretary-treasurer to its board of directors. The new officers’ terms will begin effective immediately. The ISPA board of directors has revealed the election of ... More
06 Aug 2020
Hotel group Lošinj Hotels and Villas has unveiled a newly refurbished integrated fitness and wellness destination at its four-star hotel in Veli Lošinj, Croatia. The 5,000sq m wellness centre at Vitality Hotel Punta is among ... More
06 Aug 2020
Glen Ivy Hot Springs in California has reopened with a new private outdoor wellness ‘staycation’ to create a safe socially-distanced spa experience for returning guests. Called Passport to Wellness, the package invites visitors to enjoy ... More
05 Aug 2020
A South Tyrolean wellness resort in Saltaus, Italy, has received a new two-floor wellness centre designed to provide a sanctuary of wellbeing that integrates smoothly into the natural landscape. Apfelhotel Torgglerhof hotel’s new 570sq m ... More
05 Aug 2020
British natural skincare and spa brand, ilā, is launching Maison ilā, Le Trésor – a wellness retreat in the heart of the Aude, Languedoc Roussillon, France. Set in blossoming gardens in the picturesque village, Maison ... More
04 Aug 2020
The UK government has postponed the reopening of saunas, steamrooms and the recommencement of close-contact services, including facials, until 15 August at the earliest. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy made the announcement ... More
04 Aug 2020
US massage franchise, MassageLuXe, has appointed Kristen Pechacek as chief growth officer, to its executive team. Founded in 2008 in Missouri, MassageLuXe is a franchise-based spa company with a mission to deliver high-quality massages, facials ... More
03 Aug 2020
Following approval to build a £250mn wellbeing resort in Manchester, Therme Group has revealed plans to develop and expand its concept in other major UK cities. “Our aim is to ensure that a Therme Group ... More
31 Jul 2020
Global spa consultancy and contract management company, Resense, is set to unveil Asia’s first boutique fitness and wellbeing experience in Bangkok, after two years' planning and development. Sindhorn Wellness by Resense, at the new Sindhorn ... More
30 Jul 2020
Rosewood Hotels and Resorts is expanding its presence in the Middle East with plans to open a hotel and residences in Doha, Qatar, in 2022. Housed in two towers, Rosewood Doha and Rosewood Residences Doha ... More
29 Jul 2020
International wellness event, The Healing Summit, has announced it has postponed its forthcoming October event to 11-12 May, 2021. Event organisers have confirmed the conference will still take place in Portugal at Pine Cliffs Resort, ... More
     
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Sue Harmsworth gives GWS masterclass webinar on the spa and wellness industry in the age of COVID-19
POSTED 29 Apr 2020 . BY Liz Terry
Sue Harmsworth gave a masterclass for the Global Wellness Summit webinar series Credit: ESPA
Spa and wellness icon, Sue Harmsworth has given a masterclass as part of the GWS webinar series.

Speaking to 630 people from 99 countries via Zoom today (29 April), Harmsworth said: “This is almost a war situation – we need to work harder than we’ve ever done and listen to the consumer as we adapt our businesses to the new reality.”

Harmsworth said the upcoming availability of easy, fast, cheap COVID-19 testing will be the key to success – if staff and clients can be checked each time they come in, then the spa can become a safe space.

Couple this with hospital-grade cleaning and hygiene and sterilisation protocols with things like UV light, as well as the use of PPE, and Harmsworth said operators will then have a viable proposition to market to consumers.

No discounting
With the additional expense involved with these COVID-related interventions, she said spas could justify holding their rates rather than discounting, so long as they explained this to customers: “We must sell our air quality, our hygiene standards and then we can hold prices and protect staff at the same time,” she explained.

Harmsworth said in spite of these increased hygiene interventions, older people with health issues might avoid spas, but those under 30 would be far less concerned and would be more confident to venture out. She suggested businesses take this into account in terms of targeting their product development and marketing at younger age groups in the immediate post-lockdown period.

She also advised slimming down spa menus to accommodate the more complex delivery, as services that require close contact will not be so popular with consumers for some time, including massages and facials.

She recommended spas increased the proportion of offerings on spa menus where customers remain clothed, such as Thai massage and assisted stretching. “Pick the things you can deliver without close touch,” she said.

Online retail
Harmsworth recommended using the shutdown to strengthen the online retail offer to create new revenue streams to strengthen the business, saying: “Consumers who can’t get to the spa are spending more on online retail and you can take advantage of this.”

She said she did not expect the long-haul travel market to recover anytime soon and said spa and wellness businesses need to cultivate customers from their local community as an alternative to inbound tourists or business travellers.

Medical spas and clinics will have a huge advantage in the eyes of the consumer, said Harmsworth, due to the trust they engender. Other more generalist spa and wellness businesses would be advised to add medical options, such as diagnostics, as well as offering clinical aesthetics.

Immune boosts
She said all services relating to immune strength and lung capacity and function would be popular, including things such as the use of hyperbaric chambers.

When we come out of the lockdown, Harmsworth said there will be a hunger for fundamental beauty and maintenance services, such as manicures and pedicures, and recommended businesses gear up to deliver these services.

She said customers are likely to have a range of mental health issues around grief and recommended operators should use the shutdown to upskill staff and prepare them for these challenges by teaching them skills around empathy, so they can better look after customers.

When asked about the likely timeline for disruption, Harmsworth said she expects COVID-19 to impact business for 18 months to two years and that we will see business casualties and that “a lot of overleveraged businesses will go bust.”

Ultimately she said her dream is that the world works towards a new focus on prevention and holistic approaches and that this reaches right across all demographics.

She closed by saying that we must guard against there being a blame game between nations with COVID-19 so we can work towards creating a better world for our children and grandchildren.

She also called on the industry to step up and be creative in tackling the challenges ahead: “Think completely out of the box” she said, “it isn’t going to be like it was before.”

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