Don’t be reluctant to hire a Spa Business Consultant

spa business consultant Anja Eva Keller Petruccelli TalkWellness

The answer to the question “Why do you need to hire a spa business consultant ?” is very easy, and very short: To save valuable resources.

I can hear some of you ask now: how do I save resources by hiring a seemingly costly spa business consultant?

Well you do, and on several levels:
 

  • save time, as your spa business consultant is an extra hand on board, hence your own staff does not need to free time for a new project. Although you feel that you have the expertise in house for let’s say a do-over or totally new development within you spa & wellness business line, you may still want an independent and fresh view on critical matters. A former boss of mine used to say: ‘three brains have more capacity than just two’, meaning larger (in quality and quantity) results from meetings. A experienced consultant can typically do the job much faster.
  • save money, as your spa business consultant is going to give you expert advise on all matters revolving your spa business, assisting your managerial decision making process to move into the right direction. Your spa manager may be caught up in day to day business matters and lack experience, your in-house financial expert may know little about spa businesses, the hotel manager wants to invest in F&B… there can be so many conflicting interests in the decision making process, that you want to turn to a mediator, who understands all positions and finds the best solution to move forward. the highly qualified spa business consultant provides expert guidance and advise on how to successfully manage the spa operation and how to maximise profits.

The right spa business consultant can limit potential problems, increase the business’s profitability and offer valuable input throughout the entire process.

Cheap solutions are not good.

Good solutions are not cheap.

What is the scope of work of a spa business consultant?

A good relationship between spa business and consultant is very important for a successful outcome. Hence it is worth taking time in choosing your spa consultant and getting to know each other. Some spa consultants are highly specialised in some areas, whilst others can work broader on several levels.

Typical scope of work of a spa business consultant can be

  • market and site analysis including financial feasibility, financial forecasting
  • concept development
  • Equipment and supplies specification
  • recommending and negotiating with partners such as vendors and suppliers
  • spa menu design
  • Business operations, designing the guest journey
  • assisting in staff hiring, development and training, compensation strategies
  • operating policies
  • strategic marketing, annual promotion plans
  • pre opening on site assistance
  • full pre opening consulting
  • Post-opening Audits of Management/Staff, Customer Service, Facility, and Financial Performance.

Yet it all depends on the spa business, and of course their needs.
I can offer anything from a simple spa review that only takes a few hours, to a full time spa pre-opening assistance stretching over many months. A thorough pre-project brief defines contract conditions further.

spa business consultant Anja Eva Keller Petruccelli TalkWellness

When do you need a spa business consultant?

Following are some of the most common reasons why a spa business with its very own set of needs, challenges, goals, and available resources may want to hire a spa business consultant:

Skills and Knowledge

Sometimes the business just lacks specific knowledge to a certain problem. Just think about ‘going green’, which is no longer just a fashion trend, but a mega trend. It is hard to make the right decisions to solve problems with lacking skills and knowledge.


Previous efforts

did not prove the desired results. Or the spa business simply has to deal with re-occuring issues or problems, that they not have time or other resources to look into.

Lack of resources in general

Lack of time, opportunity, knowledge, skills, experience, connections…

 

Independent Opinion

Sometimes an independent expert opinion can be the needed deciding vote in strategic decision making. Maybe even adding alternatives that the business did not look into.

spa business consultant Anja Eva Keller Petruccelli TalkWellness

 

Common pitfalls for unsuccessful spa business development

I have worked on a number of spa openings around the world. And have come across some mistakes, that were unfortunately made by developers and owners during their spa development projects:

Assuming that every architect and designer is a spa expert

Designers and architects are typically not spa business operation experts. Hence they may lack the capability of designing an intelligent spa workspace. Let me give you a few examples for things that I have seen went wrong: 

  • one spa had a beautiful and massive waterfall in the limited spa reception area, with the water running down a slate wall. The stones had been specifically shipped from South America to Europe, a several hundred thousand Euro piece right there. We had to rip the wall out after only a few weeks of opening despite many efforts to rectify. The water kept splashing on floors, computers, retail…
  • another spa had elegantly designed invisible drains in the showers. Not taking women’s long hair into account. Workmen had to cut out the expensive floor tiles every night to clean the drains from clogging. And then silicon the tiles back in before midnight, so that the showers would be functional again the next morning.
  • a storage room for cosmetics back to back with heat experiences, turning the storage space more into a green house suitable for tropical flowers…
  • impossible back of house areas that would not fit laundry trolleys, or were very time consuming for the therapists (hence waisting valuable treatment time)
  • Hygiene: materials used for walls, floors, and furniture were hard or entirely impossible to clean. A brief consultation with housekeeping prior to deciding on materials can spare the spa business many problems beforehand. A process that can easily be facilitated by the spa business consultant.

 

Wrong timing of hiring the spa business consultant

Many of the above mentioned issues could have easily been avoided by the employment of a spa consultant. I have guided projects from empty-plot to ready-to-open. The earlier the spa consultant is on board, the more likely is an excellent outcome.

In one project I have been able to visit the construction site from day one. My input during construction was highly appreciated.
Just to give you one example: in the initial blueprints, electricity outlets were positioned according to an (excellent and experienced) architect. However he was not aware that spa treatment rooms are furnished differently from a private living room. You need electricity in the middle of the room for your hydraulic treatment table, you need connections for indirect lighting, outlets for hot-cabis etc. 

Personal Preferences

Wether stand alone or hotel chain, I always had to accommodate for personal preferences. Let it be the owners wife who had a specific requirement that would fulfil her very personal needs, but did not go with the overall spa philosophy; or a hotel manager with strong connections to a certain supplier that did not offer the most suitable solution for the spa. 

Misjudging the importance of research

Adequate research as well as product, market, and financial feasibility are important measures to overcome individual preferences or conflicting interests.

How difficult can it be?

Being familiar with a few spas as spa guest does not qualify as sufficient knowledge base for spa development. You cannot replace actual and hands-on managerial or development experience by browsing glossy spa magazines or visiting exhibitions. The most common mistake I have come across is to allow the hotel manager or spa manager to develop or re-develop the spa business by himself. S/he may lack the appropriate spa experience, the bird-eye view, and the knowledge of strategic management, the industry connections. Whereas the spa operations manager’s input is highly valuable, s/he should be focussing on the day-to-day operation of the business.

What’s the ROI?

A question I hear a lot from investors. There is no number x valid for all spa businesses. Well conceived and realistic expense and revenue forecasts for a specific business by a spa business consultant helps avoiding serious and costly errors. Spa business consultants can deliver bottom line value that is plenty-fold its costs.

What is a spa business consultant NOT?

A threat. A spa business consultant is not overriding or replacing the spa director or controller or any other member of the organisation. He or she should be considered a colleague with an extra set of ears, eyes, knowledge, skills, and experience, thus complementing and adding to existing human resources. spa business consultant Anja Eva Keller Petruccelli TalkWellness

Why hire me as your spa business consultant?

  • I provide solutions, not advise
  • No conflict of interest 
  • Impartiality: I am totally brand independent and do not try to get extra income by recommending the supplier that offers me the highest commission. Still, I am highly connected to industry leaders
  • Experience: been there, done that…. I have managed spas around the world hands-on and know the challenging endeavours from experience
  • What is best for you, not for me… together, we tailor solutions to meet your philosophy, vision, goals and financial position. I help you customise the services and solution you can provide to fulfil your guests’ needs and demands. I do not need to put my name on your project.
  • I am a small business and hence highly flexible.
  • Integrity: I offer pre-briefings, all inclusive rates, and 100% satisfaction guarantee. Which means I work on you project until it is completed, not until ticket time has run out.
  • My promise: professional standards of conduct and competence, I hold a Master of Business Administration
  • My communication is clear, I provide agreements and outcomes in writing
  • I offer total discretion 
  • You can always contact me after completion of your project

Do you have a spa or wellness project that needs to get off the ground or is under-performing? Or do you simply need an innovative idea? You want to know where your business is loosing money? Are you building from scratch? Do you have any questions about your spa business?

Get in touch with me today! I would love to hear about your business.

Anja Eva Keller Spa & Wellness Consulting

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