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Quality, care and simplicity are crucial keys to a successful spa strategy, says Jeremy McCarthy
By Megan Whitby 27 Dec 2023
Jeremy McCarthy is group director of leisure, spa and wellness at Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group and a Spa Business contributing editor Credit: Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group
Jeremy McCarthy, group director of leisure, spa and wellness at Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, has shared key insights about how to shape a successful spa business strategy
In his latest column as Spa Business contributing editor, McCarthy has drawn on his 34 years in the market to explore what it takes to create a thriving spa operation
He feels the relationship between complexity and profitability is spa operators' and owners' greatest challenge
In the latest issue of Spa Business, Jeremy McCarthy explores what it takes to create a thriving spa business.

Striking the right balance
Spas are complex businesses which require a lot of knowledge in diverse areas including leadership, customer service, wellness therapies, products and retail, finance, sales and marketing, software systems and more.

Secondly, they’re low-margin operations which require large numbers of highly paid and well-trained employees. Most spas simply don’t make enough money to pay for the calibre of talent necessary.

This relationship between complexity and profitability is the greatest challenge spa owners and operators face. However, many have still found ways to create successful businesses. Here are some strategies they use.

1. Partner
Many successful spas can be found within hotel premises, where they can offload some of the complexity – relying on the property’s expertise and support in areas such as housekeeping, maintenance, marketing and food and beverage.

In this synergistic relationship, the hotel also benefits from offering a great experience that builds loyalty and goodwill.

2. Size
A larger spa with more treatment rooms has greater revenue-generating potential, leading to higher margins and supporting more experienced leaders.

This can create an upward spiral resulting in increased success. Unfortunately, because spa margins are not high, there’s often pressure from investors to reduce size and smaller facilities struggle to make enough money to offset the fixed costs and turn a profit.

3. Scale
Having multiple locations can allow a spa business to draw enough income from across its operations to fund an experienced central leadership team who can share their support and expertise in each business unit.

4. Specialise
Spas can reduce complexity by streamlining their offering down to a few key services and building a reputation for doing those services very well.

Many spas try too hard to keep up with all of the latest wellness trends and continually expand their menu to offer so much that it confuses customers and costs more in terms of stock and training.

5. Passion
Much of the success of the spa industry is fuelled by the passion of our people. People who have foregone other, potentially more lucrative career opportunities, in favour of working in a more meaningful industry that gives them a deep sense of purpose.

The spa industry would simply not be what it is today without these hard-working individuals who have a passion for wellness and for helping people feel at their best. One of the best ways for a spa operator to be successful is to create a working environment that attracts the best people and enables them to do their best work.

6. Experience
Give your guests a great experience that they’ll want to have again and again and will want to tell all their friends about. The winning spas are those who really know their guests and give them exactly what they need.

7. Storytelling
Give your guests a story to tell. The best spa is not necessarily the one with the most products or treatments. It’s the one that has a compelling story. And simple stories are easier to tell and to remember.

Essentially, most strategies for successful spa operations work by virtue of their ability to reduce or offset the complexity of the operation. The key to success is the focus on quality, caring and above all, simplicity.


News
1 to 12 of 8735 news stories
14 Jun 2024
Hotels incorporating wellness amenities experienced a significant boost in Total Revenue per Available Room (TRevPAR) in 2023, according to the latest Wellness Real Estate Report by RLA Global, produced in partnership with P&L benchmarking firm ... More
13 Jun 2024
The 2024 G7 Summit is now underway at a destination spa resort in Puglia, Italy, with leaders from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US convening to address some of the world’s ... More
13 Jun 2024
Minor Hotels CEO Dillip Rajakarier has unveiled plans to introduce an innovative medi-wellness concept to the group's Anantara Hotels, Resorts and Spas brand, with ambitions to expand the concept to additional resorts in the future. ... More
10 Jun 2024
Global Wellness Day (GWD) marked its 13th anniversary on Saturday, 8 June and was reportedly celebrated by a record-breaking 1 billion people worldwide, making it the most successful year yet. Founded in 2012 by Belgin ... More
07 Jun 2024
Wellness industry figure Deepak Chopra is co-developing a new wellness community and resort focused on wellbeing and longevity in Utah’s Heber Valley, centred around natural geothermal springs. Named Ameyalli – an Aztec term meaning "a ... More
06 Jun 2024
European health spa operator Ensana has announced the strategic appointment of Dr László Puczkó as senior health spa advisor. Established in 2019, Ensana manages 28 hotels across the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania and ... More
05 Jun 2024
The Great Spa Towns of Europe (GSTE) has announced the successful approval of its funding application under the European Town Twinning Programme. This funding will support a year-long project named INTERSPACE, aimed at fostering intercultural ... More
04 Jun 2024
According to new research from Ernst & Young, the gap between female and male engagement in sport and physical activity is narrowing, with Gen Z adult female engagement figures on the rise. The EY Sports ... More
04 Jun 2024
North Wales’ four-star The Quay Hotel & Spa in the Deganwy Marina in Conwy has invested £1 million (€1.2 million, US$1.3 million) refreshing its 580sq m destination spa with new wellness facilities. Inspired by its ... More
03 Jun 2024
Marriott is set to bolster its exclusive Ritz-Carlton Reserve portfolio with a brand new property in South America in Costa do Sol, Rio de Janeiro. The eco-luxury resort will open as part of the ambitious ... More
30 May 2024
Developer Rockwell Island Development Group (RIDGE) has appointed five-star, global hospitality brand Banyan Tree to manage its new luxury island retreat in Bimini in the Bahamas. Immersed in nature and surrounded by pristine beaches, Banyan ... More
29 May 2024
Reservations are now open for Mandarin Oriental’s second London hotel, Mandarin Oriental Mayfair, set to open on 3 June. The luxury establishment will feature 50 guestrooms, 77 private residences and a luxury underground spa retreat. ... More
     
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Spa Life International
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NEWS
Quality, care and simplicity are crucial keys to a successful spa strategy, says Jeremy McCarthy
POSTED 27 Dec 2023 . BY Megan Whitby
Jeremy McCarthy is group director of leisure, spa and wellness at Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group and a Spa Business contributing editor Credit: Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group
Jeremy McCarthy is group director of leisure, spa and wellness at Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group and a Spa Business contributing editor Credit: Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group
Jeremy McCarthy, group director of leisure, spa and wellness at Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, has shared key insights about how to shape a successful spa business strategy
In his latest column as Spa Business contributing editor, McCarthy has drawn on his 34 years in the market to explore what it takes to create a thriving spa operation
He feels the relationship between complexity and profitability is spa operators' and owners' greatest challenge
In the latest issue of Spa Business, Jeremy McCarthy explores what it takes to create a thriving spa business.

Striking the right balance
Spas are complex businesses which require a lot of knowledge in diverse areas including leadership, customer service, wellness therapies, products and retail, finance, sales and marketing, software systems and more.

Secondly, they’re low-margin operations which require large numbers of highly paid and well-trained employees. Most spas simply don’t make enough money to pay for the calibre of talent necessary.

This relationship between complexity and profitability is the greatest challenge spa owners and operators face. However, many have still found ways to create successful businesses. Here are some strategies they use.

1. Partner
Many successful spas can be found within hotel premises, where they can offload some of the complexity – relying on the property’s expertise and support in areas such as housekeeping, maintenance, marketing and food and beverage.

In this synergistic relationship, the hotel also benefits from offering a great experience that builds loyalty and goodwill.

2. Size
A larger spa with more treatment rooms has greater revenue-generating potential, leading to higher margins and supporting more experienced leaders.

This can create an upward spiral resulting in increased success. Unfortunately, because spa margins are not high, there’s often pressure from investors to reduce size and smaller facilities struggle to make enough money to offset the fixed costs and turn a profit.

3. Scale
Having multiple locations can allow a spa business to draw enough income from across its operations to fund an experienced central leadership team who can share their support and expertise in each business unit.

4. Specialise
Spas can reduce complexity by streamlining their offering down to a few key services and building a reputation for doing those services very well.

Many spas try too hard to keep up with all of the latest wellness trends and continually expand their menu to offer so much that it confuses customers and costs more in terms of stock and training.

5. Passion
Much of the success of the spa industry is fuelled by the passion of our people. People who have foregone other, potentially more lucrative career opportunities, in favour of working in a more meaningful industry that gives them a deep sense of purpose.

The spa industry would simply not be what it is today without these hard-working individuals who have a passion for wellness and for helping people feel at their best. One of the best ways for a spa operator to be successful is to create a working environment that attracts the best people and enables them to do their best work.

6. Experience
Give your guests a great experience that they’ll want to have again and again and will want to tell all their friends about. The winning spas are those who really know their guests and give them exactly what they need.

7. Storytelling
Give your guests a story to tell. The best spa is not necessarily the one with the most products or treatments. It’s the one that has a compelling story. And simple stories are easier to tell and to remember.

Essentially, most strategies for successful spa operations work by virtue of their ability to reduce or offset the complexity of the operation. The key to success is the focus on quality, caring and above all, simplicity.
Do a few key services well really well to reduce complexity, says McCarthy Credit: Shutterstock/Lobachad
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RLA Global: Wellness hotels experience positive growth trend globally in 2023
Hotels incorporating wellness amenities experienced a significant boost in Total Revenue per Available Room (TRevPAR) in 2023, according to the latest Wellness Real Estate Report by RLA Global, produced in partnership with P&L benchmarking firm HotStats.
World leaders gather at luxury Italian wellness retreat Borgo Egnazia for G7 Summit
The 2024 G7 Summit is now underway at a destination spa resort in Puglia, Italy, with leaders from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US convening to address some of the world’s most urgent issues.
Minor devises new medi-wellness concept for Anantara, debuting in Phuket in Q3
Minor Hotels CEO Dillip Rajakarier has unveiled plans to introduce an innovative medi-wellness concept to the group's Anantara Hotels, Resorts and Spas brand, with ambitions to expand the concept to additional resorts in the future.
Global Wellness Day 2024 shatters records as 1 billion people unite for wellness and nature
Global Wellness Day (GWD) marked its 13th anniversary on Saturday, 8 June and was reportedly celebrated by a record-breaking 1 billion people worldwide, making it the most successful year yet.
Deepak Chopra-backed wellness resort Ameyalli to open among historic Utah hot springs
Wellness industry figure Deepak Chopra is co-developing a new wellness community and resort focused on wellbeing and longevity in Utah’s Heber Valley, centred around natural geothermal springs.
László Puczkó joins Ensana as senior health spa advisor
European health spa operator Ensana has announced the strategic appointment of Dr László Puczkó as senior health spa advisor.
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