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COVID-19 has made local markets more important than ever, says Emma Darby, Resense COO
By Megan Whitby 14 Aug 2020
Emma Darby was appointed as Resense chief operations officer in 2019
According to Resense COO, Emma Darby, domestic markets have always been a crucial target audience, but in the midst of COVID-19, their custom has become even more important.

With global lockdown putting travel on hold, Resense has been working to attract local guests to all its markets wherever possible.

Darby said the company has numerous spas between 60-70 per cent local interest and usually encourages about 30-40 per cent as a baseline, even before the pandemic.

Darby spoke to Spa Business about how she applied her 26 years’ experience to keep business moving in the face of COVID-19, reopening preparations for Resense’s 33 wellness destinations and how two Resense spas hit target in the depths of lockdown.

How is business going for reopened spas?
In Asia, China is doing well, however other regions are having to drive new business channels because they were previously more reliant on the tourist market.

In Europe, resorts are also progressing – achieving budget and showing improvements from the previous year. We even have a couple of city locations producing 60 per cent of their 2020 budget.

Overall, the company has reopened 22 destinations and I'm definitely pleased with progress, but I’d recommend taking a measured approach to ensure you don’t rush and make mistakes.

Can you explain how two Resense spas hit target in April?
This refers to two individual Chinese spas which we’d fortunately already set up with a major online presence through the social media platform, WeChat.

Targets were hit purely through retail and selling advance day passes, as one spa was open and one was closed – the closed site actually only relied on online sales for revenue. The beauty of it was that things could be sold really quickly and then arranged using drop shipping.

Following this success, we’re investigating how to use this in post-opening to continue supporting revenue.

It’s about building our local client base up and our place within the market, and then holding onto those customers through schemes and opportunities like this.

Can you tell us how you plan to reach out to locals?
One of our main methods is social media and apps, but it varies between markets. In the Middle East you’ll find advertising deals via text message is a lot more successful, whereas in China we use WeChat for sales and in the UK, we use GroupOn.

The key is once we get those guests in – even though you may have to negotiate commission with the provider – we focus on incentivising them to come back. They’re a captive audience, and you’ve got to offer them something to capture their interest. This is what I think spas forget.

The trick is to do things that won’t really cost you but use it to pad the offer out and keep consumers intrigued.

What’s surprised you during reopening?
In China, the revenue has been coming in steadily, however one spa is drawing revenue from a completely different place than I expected. We’ve seen a surge in couples treatments and facials – a treatment the whole industry seems to be expecting to put on hold until we get more of a grip on the pandemic!

Looking ahead, do you agree with the prediction of an upsurge in medical wellness following the pandemic?
I agree medi-wellness will be popular, especially because of the clinical appeal following COVID-19. But it was already gaining speed well before the pandemic, as it was becoming more mainstream and thus affordable and available. Combine this with the fact people are going to be more focused on their own health, and we’re set for a surge in demand.

Resense has some medi-wellness projects on the table and I’m excited to see how they take off and how this trend develops in future but, personally, I never want to pin myself down to something. Ultimately, my advice would be to remain positive, realistic and open to change.



To read the whole interview, stay posted for the next issue of Spa Business.


News
1 to 12 of 7718 news stories
01 Mar 2021
Kempinski Hotels has completed the acquisition of Resense Spa SA as part of the expansion of its wellness and wellbeing strategy. Resense, which was originally founded as a joint venture between Kempinski and spa consultancy ... More
01 Mar 2021
The Asia Pacific Spa and Wellness Coalition (APSWC) has unveiled new details about its upcoming 2021 Round Table Conference, scheduled for 15-17 March. The annual event always produces a white paper that pinpoints the region’s ... More
28 Feb 2021
Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas has expanded its portfolio with a new eco-wellness resort in Mantiqueira, Brazil, nestled amongst flourishing forests and situated at the meeting of three valleys. Six Senses Botanique was opened after ... More
25 Feb 2021
Baca Architects has submitted a scheme to transform an unused UK quarry lake and surrounding land into a unique eco-wellness resort centred on waterside living and water-based recreation. The 80-hectare Ashwicken Lake site is situated ... More
24 Feb 2021
The Hot Springs Connection has announced its third-annual conference is scheduled to take place in person at Quinn’s Hot Springs Resort in Paradise, Montana, on May 17-20 2021. Established in 2018, the convention is claimed ... More
24 Feb 2021
The iconic Beverly Hills Hotel Spa in Los Angeles has reopened its doors after seven months of extensive refurbishment and redesign. Christopher Cowdray, CEO of the Dorchester Collection – luxury operating company of the Beverly ... More
23 Feb 2021
US-based skincare company Heyday has announced a US$20m (£14.2m €16.5m) Series B round of funding led by Level 5 Capital Partners (L5), with participation from existing investors Lerer Hippeau and Fifth Wall Ventures. Heyday has ... More
22 Feb 2021
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced non-essential retail, including spas, salons, close-contact services and gyms, could reopen by 12 April 2021, at the very earliest. Johnson revealed the news today as part of step ... More
22 Feb 2021
A collection of industry organisations, including The British Beauty Council, are working closely with the UK Government to present proposals for a package of industry-saving measures. These include a VAT cut for reopened salon and ... More
22 Feb 2021
Luxury Hawaiian wellness enclave, Sensei Lāna‘i, A Four Seasons Resort has launched an Optimal Wellbeing Programme in partnership with WHOOP, the human performance and wearable tech company. Located at the island resort on Lāna‘i, the ... More
18 Feb 2021
Aman is planning to debut its sister hotel brand Janu in the heart of Tokyo in an urban redevelopment project, called Toranomon-Azabudai development. Janu was unveiled in 2020 with a fresh philosophy based on social ... More
19 Feb 2021
As evidence grows around nature’s wellbeing and health benefits, the team behind the UK’s Lost Gardens of Heligan has created an initiative to demonstrate how its guests can harness nature to boost wellbeing. Heligan has ... More
     
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NEWS
COVID-19 has made local markets more important than ever, says Emma Darby, Resense COO
POSTED 14 Aug 2020 . BY Megan Whitby
Emma Darby was appointed as Resense chief operations officer in 2019 Credit: Resense
According to Resense COO, Emma Darby, domestic markets have always been a crucial target audience, but in the midst of COVID-19, their custom has become even more important.

With global lockdown putting travel on hold, Resense has been working to attract local guests to all its markets wherever possible.

Darby said the company has numerous spas between 60-70 per cent local interest and usually encourages about 30-40 per cent as a baseline, even before the pandemic.

Darby spoke to Spa Business about how she applied her 26 years’ experience to keep business moving in the face of COVID-19, reopening preparations for Resense’s 33 wellness destinations and how two Resense spas hit target in the depths of lockdown.

How is business going for reopened spas?
In Asia, China is doing well, however other regions are having to drive new business channels because they were previously more reliant on the tourist market.

In Europe, resorts are also progressing – achieving budget and showing improvements from the previous year. We even have a couple of city locations producing 60 per cent of their 2020 budget.

Overall, the company has reopened 22 destinations and I'm definitely pleased with progress, but I’d recommend taking a measured approach to ensure you don’t rush and make mistakes.

Can you explain how two Resense spas hit target in April?
This refers to two individual Chinese spas which we’d fortunately already set up with a major online presence through the social media platform, WeChat.

Targets were hit purely through retail and selling advance day passes, as one spa was open and one was closed – the closed site actually only relied on online sales for revenue. The beauty of it was that things could be sold really quickly and then arranged using drop shipping.

Following this success, we’re investigating how to use this in post-opening to continue supporting revenue.

It’s about building our local client base up and our place within the market, and then holding onto those customers through schemes and opportunities like this.

Can you tell us how you plan to reach out to locals?
One of our main methods is social media and apps, but it varies between markets. In the Middle East you’ll find advertising deals via text message is a lot more successful, whereas in China we use WeChat for sales and in the UK, we use GroupOn.

The key is once we get those guests in – even though you may have to negotiate commission with the provider – we focus on incentivising them to come back. They’re a captive audience, and you’ve got to offer them something to capture their interest. This is what I think spas forget.

The trick is to do things that won’t really cost you but use it to pad the offer out and keep consumers intrigued.

What’s surprised you during reopening?
In China, the revenue has been coming in steadily, however one spa is drawing revenue from a completely different place than I expected. We’ve seen a surge in couples treatments and facials – a treatment the whole industry seems to be expecting to put on hold until we get more of a grip on the pandemic!

Looking ahead, do you agree with the prediction of an upsurge in medical wellness following the pandemic?
I agree medi-wellness will be popular, especially because of the clinical appeal following COVID-19. But it was already gaining speed well before the pandemic, as it was becoming more mainstream and thus affordable and available. Combine this with the fact people are going to be more focused on their own health, and we’re set for a surge in demand.

Resense has some medi-wellness projects on the table and I’m excited to see how they take off and how this trend develops in future but, personally, I never want to pin myself down to something. Ultimately, my advice would be to remain positive, realistic and open to change.



To read the whole interview, stay posted for the next issue of Spa Business.
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Six Senses transforms Brazilian resort previously backed by co-founders of The Body Shop and AOL
Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas has expanded its portfolio with a new eco-wellness resort in Mantiqueira, Brazil, nestled amongst flourishing forests and situated at the meeting of three valleys.
Baca Architects submits scheme for floating eco-wellness sanctuary and spa
Baca Architects has submitted a scheme to transform an unused UK quarry lake and surrounding land into a unique eco-wellness resort centred on waterside living and water- based recreation.
Montana hot springs resort unveils new bathing area in time to host global hot springs convention
The Hot Springs Connection conference is scheduled to take place in person at Quinn’s Hot Springs Resort in Paradise, Montana, on May 17-20 2021.
Beverly Hills Hotel unveils newly renovated spa with design details by Champalimaud Design
The iconic Beverly Hills Hotel Spa in Los Angeles has reopened its doors after seven months of extensive refurbishment and redesign.
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