MidEast spa managers say retail is key to revenue

Therapists and clients need more product knowledge say experts

Leisure, Hotelier middle east spa and wellness forum

Retail could be key to boosting revenue at the region’s spas, according to experts speaking at the first Hotelier Spa & Wellness Forum in Dubai on March 18.

Moderator of the ‘The Spa Journey’ panel at the event held at Ritz-Calton DIFC, The Product House founder and managing director Janette Watts said: “Part of the spa journey is retail sales, taking the products home. This can extend the value and benefit of the treatment, and acts as a reminder for guests to come back to the spa”.

However, the panelists comprising Burj Al Arab director of spa and retail Gopal Kumar; Grosvenor House, Luxury collection, Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort and Spa complex director of spas Galina Antoniouk; Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas Zoe Wall and Esadore chief executive officer Ebrahim Malekzadeh said therapists and clients needed more product education.

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“If I’m not aware of what the product is and how to use it, there’s no point [trying to sell it to the guest]. Also the product training tends to be lost after a few months so it’s important to refresh the knowledge for the therapists,” said Burj Al Arab’s Dogra.

Watts said spa therapists, who typically spend at least one hour one-on-one with with the client are well placed to pitch the products.

“But we have to take into consideration the therapists look of shock and horror when you say ‘retail’. I come from a background where it’s drummed into you to sell products. The key to therapists is making them understand it’s not a hard sell, it’s a recommendation,” commented Anantara’s Wall.

“So when you give a sales target, show the therapist how to break it down and how they can achieve it each and every day and how to track their revenue - what are the sales figures for the month? Show them how it can be done step by step, that makes it a lot easier for the therapist,” she added.

However, Dogra said it’s important to recognise that “at the end of the day they’re not sales people, they’re therapists so we need to empower them”.

Antoniouk revealed that Starwood had introduced a system to incentivise retail sales across the spas she oversees.

“One great tool I’ve found is when we have a certain retail target that is achieved, they [the therapists] receives a product as a gift which they can use themselves and experience the benefits. This is one of the best tools for increasing the sales,” Antoniouk explained.

“It’s not only educating the staff, it’s educating the client on how to use the products so they see the results. We need to teach the guest it’s not enough just to come for a facial, you have to use the products as well and when they believe this they come back and buy the products,” she added.

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