Courtesy of The Raithwaite Estate Spa, N Yorks
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EVERY BREATH YOU TAKE

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By Juliet Wheater 

It was reported back in April, that the Himalayas were visible from India , amid the government’s lockdown to fight the corona virus, allowing residents to see the towering peaks 125 miles away from Punjab for the first time in 30 years, indicating cleaner air. 

However, as life begins to get back to normal, clean air is once again, increasingly hard to come by, so what we can do to stay healthy? 

According to the Royal College of Physicians, air pollution is responsible for around 40,000 deaths a year in the UK. Air pollution is a known cause of lung cancer and is connected to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and changes in the brain linked to dementia, says Professor Stephen Holgate, RCP’s adviser on air quality. Other chronic health conditions, such as asthma, bronchial diseases and skin problems, are also triggered by exposure to pollutants. And for children, the elderly and those with existing respiratory conditions, pollution is a major concern, states Dr Nick Hopkinson, medical director at the British Lung Foundation. (Source: Woman & Home magazine). 

With pollution levels in many parts of the country regularly exceeding the World Health Organisation’s safety guidelines, it’s time for all of us to make some changes and not just temporary ones, during a pandemic. 

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THE CRYSTAL CRAZE

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By Juliet Wheater 

 

People are falling in love with crystals, a trend accelerated by celebrity endorsements from the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, Victoria Beckham, Katy Perry, Khloe Kardashian, Bella Hadid, and Adele.

Adele uses citrine to help combat stage fright. Victoria Beckham is said to carry a black obsidian with her for protection and Miranda Kerr is understood to keep her rose quartz next to her skincare products, in order to infuse them with energy. 

Rose quartz and amethyst are usually displayed within homes and other working and living spaces to “balance negative energy.” More latterly, such stones are also sealed into water bottles to infuse the water with their declared healing, grounding, and restoring properties. We’re also seeing a rise in the popularity of crystal skin care and crystal light therapy. Crystals are being touted as cures for stress and pain, and as having the ability to “reduce radiation” from smartphones – among other things.

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A RETURN TO THE WORKPLACE

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Thankfully many spas are now open and operational. We at the UK Spa Association, fought long and hard for this outcome so we wondered how members of our industry felt about their return to the workplace. Here we speak with grateful thanks to Amanda Hardy, Spa Manager at Seaham Hall, Victoria Rickett, Spa Manager at Rockliffe Hall and Teresa O’Farrell, Spa Director at Coworth Park. 

How have yourself and your team responded to being back in the spa, following lockdown? 

The team are simply delighted to be back doing what they love.  Initially the return to work can be very daunting for most, especially as the guidance continues to change day to day.  Throughout lockdown we kept regularly in touch with all team members via virtual sessions, providing useful links to enable them to update their skill toolbox and supporting their overall wellbeing at a very uncertain time.  Although we have not been able to welcome all team members back fully as of yet we are moving positively in the right direction. I for one certainly believe that all members of the public will be looking to boost their immunity, taking responsibility for their own health and wellbeing and that spa’s more than ever will provide a pathway for this to be achieved.
- Amanda 

It has been wonderful to return to some semblance of normality! We take for granted the psychological benefits of being around a positive team all working towards the same goal and the job satisfaction from welcoming guests back to their wellbeing journey. We are a family and the challenges have brought us even closer together (metaphorically of course in reality there is social distances being upheld) 
- Victoria 

I have thoroughly enjoyed all the additional learning, research and networking that helped in setting all the new standards for the spa. The team have been brilliant settling into the new normal including all the new protocols and procedures that have been introduced. During the lockdown period the team were engaged in weekly training sessions, plus we had a weekly team catch up on zoom and I arranged a full re-engage plan that included onsite training all of which prepared them for returning to work. I think that this has benefited us in such a positive way as the team knew what to expect and are confident with the new standards and new way of working. 
- Teresa 


Have you implemented new procedures/policies that you’ll now retain going forward? Such as booking online, consultation online etc 

The early days of re-opening for the hotel where particularly challenging.  Renowned as a spa destination we had to get creative quickly, to ensure the hotel could re-open with spa opening dates pushed back on the re-opening roadmap.  Successes included expansion of our in-room extras list, to include virtual in-room facial masterclasses with one of our Temple Spa guru’s. Also outdoor spa parties for residents, social spaced of course, as well as garden room candle light dinners, which take advantage of our acres of open space.  We quickly implemented virtual classes to allow our spa members and team members to train at home and maintain our very loyal membership base. We  certainly see a combination of onsite and virtual classes as part of our fitness offering to continue to achieve social distancing.  In terms of online spa bookings, our closure gave us some much needed time to develop this part of the spa business to enhance our guest experience, to ease the volume of calls into the reservations hub, as members of the team remain on furlough or where possible work from home.  We are now starting to see the benefit of spa bookings online and consider this as an essential procedure that can help the spa bounce back and react to demand.
- Amanda 

Prior to arrival, guests complete an online pre-arrival questionnaire and their temperature is checked on arrival. Numbers are also severely restricted to allow for social distancing at poolside.  While the close contact restrictions are in place, we are running our ‘A New Beginning’ menu which comprises of a select few treatments which are designed to boost wellbeing, while still safely fall within the parameters of the restrictions.
- Victoria 

Very early on in the lockdown period it became very apparent that we would need to rely on technology mor, in order to become a paperless spa, as part of the new recommended protocols.  I therefore, arranged for our spa soft booking system to be upgraded. This has benefitted us in many ways including; electronic health consultation forms completed prior to guest arrival, automated email confirmations for all the additional swimming pool and gym bookings, locker allocations allowing us to use zones within the changing room to comply with social distancing , plus the use of iPads in the operations which are easy to sanitise after use. This was something that was already on my list as part of our sustainability project for the spa and we were able to bring this forward so it was in place for our reopening.
- Teresa 

How are guests reacting to the new guidelines and treatment options? 
 
We are operating at reduced capacity for full spa day guests and evening spa guests only.  We are known for our guest experience and ‘Northern Hospitality’ so our guests have really missed this. Everyone at this moment is searching for a sense of freedom and we promote this sense of escapism and comfort to all that visit. Our guest feedback has been amazing, without hesitance to the reduced treatments and face coverings around dry areas of the spa. However, equally there are a lot of people choosing to visit us at a later date, once we have fuller facilities available in terms of heat experiences. 
- Amanda Hardy

 
A mixed bag! Our guests are either completely over Covid-19 and are quite cross that it is not business as usual or completely lovely and so grateful and happy we are open, we have had lots of lovely feedback about how safe they feel with us.
- Victoria 

We are operating on a reduced treatment menu offering a variety of 60 minute treatments. The feedback from the therapists and guests has been both positive and complimentary. Our guest are very understanding and comforted by our new procedures and the checks that we have in place. We have a turnaround time of 30 minutes between each treatment to allow full sanitisation of the room to be completed. It is certainly evident that there is a pent-up demand for treatments and we have been extremely busy since we reopened on the 1st August.
- Teresa 

It would be interesting to understand what the guest preferences are, in terms of facilities?  

 
There are guests pushing back their reservations until the saunas and steam rooms open, but those that are here are loving being in the outdoor pools, especially in the glorious weather we have been enjoying lately. 
- Victoria
 
The swimming pool and the spa sun terrace have been very popular with our guests as have the additional outdoor wellness activities we have introduced during this time which include yoga, chi-gong and wellness walks. Our spa members are so happy to be back and fully support us with our new polices. 
- Teresa 
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HEALTH, HEDONISM & HYPOCHONDRIA: THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF SPAS

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The UK spa industry needs some good cheer just now as it begins the slow journey out of lockdown. Perhaps this can come from looking to the past rather than the future and reflecting that it was this country that led the way in developing the whole modern concept of the spa. It is an achievement that should provide pride and encouragement as we prepare for the challenges ahead.

Spas have been a central feature of European culture since classical times when the ancient Greeks and Romans discovered the benefits and pleasures of bathing in thermal mineral waters. It was only in the eighteenth century, however, that Europe’s spas came into their own as elegant resorts for a clientele drawn initially by the health benefits of taking the waters but increasingly also by the diversions offered and the chance to mix with the well-to-do. Spas became the pre-eminent places in which to be seen and to socialise. They developed a distinctarchitectural landscape in which the bath house was joined by a pump room, for taking the waters and promenading, and assembly rooms, for socialising, gambling, dancing and concerts. These buildings were situated in attractive parks, adding to the atmosphere of elegance and relaxation. A complex set of rules and strict etiquette governed the social life of spas during the ‘season’, which usually extended from May to September, when ‘the Company’, as the patrons were known, forsook the noise and the stench of cities for the clean air and healing waters of these semi-rural oases. 

The English were in the van of these developments, taking to the waters more enthusiastically and in greater numbers than their Continental neighbours. Bath established itself in the first half of the eighteenth century as the most elegant and popular European spa, with Richard ‘Beau’ Nash establishing the complex etiquette which governed the social and recreational life of the Company. It became the model for Continental spas, notably Spa in Belgium, Baden bei Wien in Austria and Baden bei Zurich in Switzerland, which developed in a similar way in the latter half of the century. They followed Bath’s lead in establishing a daily regime for guests which began with the serious business of drinking and bathing in the waters, continued with morning and afternoon promenades and social gatherings to exchange gossip, and concluded with balls, gambling, concerts and theatrical performances in the evening.  

The growing popularity of spas was a direct consequence of the emergence of what we would now call health tourism. The Enlightenment brought a new emphasis across Europe on environment and on the benefits of travel for healing the body as well as cultivating the mind. The English were in the van of this movement and it was the English spas of Harrogate, Buxton, Tunbridge Wells and Cheltenham as well as Bath that picked up the benefit, becoming the first resorts to which people travelled as much for a change of scene as for other purposes. 

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BEST FOOT FORWARD

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- by Juliet Wheater

 

Self-care can include a myriad of practices that an individual finds both enjoyable and in some way promotes physical, emotional, spiritual and/or mental health. According to the definition from the World Health Organisation, self-care is the behaviours you do to take care of your own health and can include hygiene, nutrition, leisure activities, sports, exercise, seeking professional healthcare services when needed, and much more.

During a global pandemic, the need to care for our own health, every aspect of it, is of the utmost importance, as we currently emerge from such unusual circumstances and look to navigate a new normal, is not easy.

Returning to work 

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HOW CBD WILL BE YOUR BEST ALLY ON THE ROAD TO RECOVERY

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As we recalibrate into our “new normal” and understand how we can best look after our mental and physical wellness, along with our Spa industry community trying to best nurture our businesses back to operations - wellbeing has never seemed so important. How do you re-launch with something that's relevant, with an offering that aligns with your client's new-found priorities and offers your business to be part of pioneering new sector? 

CBD could hold all of the answers. 

The UK CBD market generated 150M in the first 4 months of 2020 alone, this was a 50% rise in 2019, naming the hottest new trend, CBD, loved by the likes of the Kardashians and some of the UK’s Top Spa Directors.

What is CBD? 

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IF DIVERSITY IS BEING INVITED TO THE PARTY; INCLUSION IS BEING ASKED TO DANCE

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- by Juliet Wheater 

Over recent years, there has been a significant rise in the attention of inclusivity and the authentic representation of people with disabilities, the LGBTQ community and racial diversity within the beauty and wellness industries. 

During 2017, the largest diversity story was the launch of pop star Rihanna’s beauty brand, Fenty, a cosmetics line that launched its new foundation line, in no less than 40 shades. Vogue magazine at the time, named it a top 2018 beauty trend, exclaiming Fenty Beauty “singlehandedly changed the conversation.”

This conversation continues and more recently, in light of the Black Lives Matter movement, we learn that on these shores, black and minority wellness professionals have united and signed a charter demanding reform for racial equality in the UK wellness industry. ‘The Wellness Industry Charter for Racial Diversity, Inclusion and Access’, aims to tackle three diversity challenges: health inequality, lack of access, and under-representation faced by black and minority groups.

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DISASTERS LEAD TO CHANGE

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-by Juliet Wheater 

Although change is undeniable, it generally just evolves, not usually with ferocious pace, unless a crisis occurs. Covid-19 is one such global crisis and we’ve all had to adapt and change. We’ve implemented new ways of coping and of working. 

Seeing as the very basis of spa is physical touch, our wellness industry is one sector that is bound to experience quite a transformation, for example: the introduction of new ways of working, new ways of interacting with clients as well as patterns of consumption. 

Beauty & wellness will thrive again as looking good is intrinsically linked to feeling good. A relaxing massage or a physical makeover, is linked to one’s self-esteem, providing empowerment. 

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HOW HALOTHERAPY IS THE NEW FACE OF RESPIRATORY HEALTH & HYGIENE

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We are all very aware, thanks to the current coronavirus pandemic, of the importance of respiratory wellness and keeping our immune systems healthy.  But how do we do this and how do we keep our customers and clients safe?

Halotherapy, or salt therapy, is a 100% natural therapy that has grown steadily in popularity in recent years and continues to be one of the top 5 growing trends in wellness.  Its attraction is the speed and efficacy of results for customers.  It is proven to aid in relieving respiratory ailments such as asthma, bronchial problems, allergies and cold and flu symptoms and also has a positive effect on many skin conditions including Psoriasis, Eczema, Acne, Dermatitis, Rosacea and dry/ageing skin.

The benefits of Halotherapy can be experienced in many different areas including:

  • Respiratory Conditions / Immunity improvement (with regular use):

Asthma, Allergies, COPD, Cystic Fibrosis, Cold & Flu Symptoms, Sinusitus, Bronchitis

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IT ALL COMES OUT IN THE WASH AND DRY PROCESS

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- by BC Softwear

 

There has been much discussion and conflicting views concerning safety and best practice to ensure the linen used in a spa or hotel is disinfected from any potential virus threats, and more specifically the COVID-19 virus. Some people suggest boil washing at 90 degrees and using bleach, which will may help to remove the virus, but as towelling experts, we know that this will also weaken your linen substantially over a period over time, thus reducing its overall lifespan. Ensuring the longevity of your towels and linen is essential to assisting you in reducing long term costs of replacement items and we are also mindful that using bleach and high temperatures is not good for the environment or our efforts to improve our industry’s responsibility to corporate sustainability. 

When put under the microscope, it is possible to see the effect of detergents and optical brightening agents and even bleach, which are often used by operators to attempt to keep towels looking brighter for longer. In actual fact, these brightening agents may contribute to the rapid degeneration of the towel leading to reduced performance, tears, a lifting of the colour and discoloration. The drying process can also be overtly harsh. The length of the loop or pile is extra-long, as it is the pile which is often singed. The towel fibres are literally burnt through excessive heat and over drying. The heat causes the tops of the pile to shrivel and harden which stops the towel from being soft and fluffy anymore. 

Washing Recommendations

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THE FUTURE OF A THERAPIST IN THE SERVICE INDUSTRY

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- by Hannah Charlesworth

 

I’m unsure which is the most common phrase I’m hearing at the moment; “Recorded before social distancing”, or “How are you doing in these difficult times?”. Nevertheless, Covid-19 is proving to be a challenging time for everyone, and the service sector is no different. Life after lockdown for therapists will be a world away from how we worked in late 2019, and thus far not many predictions can be made as to how or when we could reopen our doors. In April 2020, the International Spa Association (ISPA) released a ‘checklist’ of what spas must ensure they have before there can even be a consideration of opening, but so far this is all we have.

When considering the future of therapists in the service industry, it would be so easy to speculate how the current pandemic is going to affect us and our jobs. However, I am sure many are fed up with reading about the doom and gloom this virus has brought to so many, and as I am sure you can guess from my opening statement, I am myself. Instead, I decided to use this article to reflect on the industry changes we could expect to see when we are all back on track, some perhaps now more relevant than they were prior to lockdown. 

I recall a lecturer at my University inviting us to discuss the possibility of technology being integrated into the wider service industry, beyond automated hotel check-ins and online bookings. Technology has had a profound impact on the service industry, with many spa brands being able to develop treatments that require technology to perform. Therapists have had to adapt their roles to use technology on an increasing basis and could expect to continue to do so. 

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THE HEALING POWER OF TOUCH

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-by Juliet Wheater

 

New-borns that are given nurturing touch grow faster and have more improved mental and motor skill development.Partners who cuddle have been shown to have lower stress levels and blood pressure and improved immune function. Elderly people who receive the soothing, affirming experience of touch have been shown to better handle the process of aging. 

(Source: Healthline.com)

Perhaps one of the toughest things about lockdown for many of us is not being able to see our friends or family. To not feel the touch of their embrace. They say you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone, and human touch has been in short supply during the worldwide pandemic. Difficult for the spa therapists amongst you and most certainly your clients too. Spa and the expert, reassuring and beneficial touch it offers, we anticipate, will be in hot demand on reopening. 

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UK SPA ASSOCIATION SURVEY FINDINGS

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We’d like to thank the sponsors of the UK Spa Association’s Work for Wellness survey, they include: 

 

Spa Life International, Journey Travel, La Rue Verte, Body Ballancer and Salon Life. 

 

Our report and its contents would not have been possible without our members also. Therefore, we’d like to thank all participants, as we look for guidance during this difficult time. 

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THE STEREOTYPES OF THE SPA INDUSTRY

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By Hannah Charlesworth

Being a final year student at The University of Derby on the International Spa Management degree, it  has allowed me to reflect on the perceptions the spa industry has, from those on the outside looking in. The stereotypes surrounding the job ‘spa therapist’ still leaves me at my wits end three years later when I’m left explaining what I do to relatives or friends. 

Many assume I’m still at college, or that I decided to go to college even after completing three A-levels at school and that all I do is paint nails every day. For a while, I even stopped telling people the full extent of my degree, simply stating I just did Business Management. Not entirely a lie, but never something I should have felt like I needed to do by way of avoiding questions, I both had answered no fewer than ten times previously, or that I rolled my eyes at each time I got asked. And it did work - no more was I asked; “How’s college?” or “Do you work at a nail place?”. 

However, the older I got, and the more immersed I became with such a diverse industry, the less I wanted to hide it. So, I began to do my research, and I hope this article can shed some light on how our industry can help to break down these stereotypes and educate those around us. 

Firstly, where do these stereotypes originate? 

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Recent Comments
Guest — emma
Interesting post - I didn't even realise this was a degree option. Makes me wish I'd had the option when I was studying. PS - pe... Read More
Tuesday, 19 May 2020 15:27
Guest — Hannah Charlesworth
Yes there is a degree, but unfortunately it is now closed. In my research I did find some accounts of these unsavoury rumours beg... Read More
Wednesday, 20 May 2020 10:21
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CHANGE FOR THE BETTER

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By Margaret Wood 

Margaret Mead, the American anthropologist said, "There is no greater power in the world than the zest of a post-menopausal woman." It is a time when women are not concerned about contraception, periods and associated PMS or painful cramps. “This”, she says, “is freedom.” It is a stage of life that is free of many encumbrances and full of wonderful possibilities. Still young enough to live life to its fullest, during this period a lot of women experience a renewed zest for life and look for exhilarating new adventures or new beginnings. 

Research on the stages of women’s development suggests that women find a renewed sense of purpose, energy, and increased vitality for work pursuits in mid to later life (Bardwick, 1980; Borysenko, 1996). This ties in with Margaret Mead’s concept of Post-Menopausal Zest.

Stage 1: Idealism. Women in this phase will most likely base their career choices on their desires for career satisfaction, achievement and success.

Stage 2: Endurance. Women in this phase are pragmatic about their careers and do what it takes to get it done.

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THE PSYCHOLOGY OF SUCCESS

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By Sally Halstead, Dip.H.E 

What does Success mean to you?

Success can be defined as “the accomplishment of an aim” however it is subjective and its’ meaning depends upon many individual factors. My perceived success in finishing a 5km race in an hour may be regarded as a complete failure by an Olympic athlete, so don’t let someone else’s meaning of success define yours.

Bear in mind that our definition of success also shifts over time, as we reach our goals or as our lives change, so you will need to keep periodically reassessing this point.

*Define success for yourself. What does it look like? How does it feel? Is it an end result or is it a process? Is it only material, or perhaps emotional as well? 

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HOW FACE MASKS WILL CHANGE THE SPA INDUSTRY

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by Fashionizer

 

There is no doubt that this pandemic has forever changed the world, and this is especially true for all of us working in the spa and wellness industry. Although we all believe the spa and beauty industry will be in high demand once this is all over, we are also aware that there will be quite a few challenges to overcome before businesses can get back to some semblance of normality. 

In the past few weeks, we have been listening attentively to Zoom conversations within the global spa community and focusing on what this new “normal” might mean for spas, and especially what new protocols will be introduced upon reopening. All members in the industry believe that there will be major changes to the spa experience, which will involve collating data online before a visit, as well as wearing protective face masks for both therapists and spa-goers. 

 

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UKactive's four-stage strategy to support reopening of the physical activity sector

ukactive has today (23 April) revealed plans for a four-stage strategy to support the reopening of the physical activity sector safely, once the Government eases Covid-19 lockdown restrictions in the UK.

Facilities across the physical activity landscape were forced to close by the Government following a Coronavirus briefing on 20 March. Up to that point, gyms, leisure centres and other facilities had remained open by following strict cleaning guidelines and safety protocols from ukactive, supported by Public Health England.

But today, thousands of leisure and fitness facilities employing a total of around 100,000 staff are at risk of permanent closure, as organisations with zero income struggle to access loan support, face threats of eviction and are crippled by ongoing utility fees, delayed furloughing funds and failed insurance claims.

There are 189,000 people employed by gyms and leisure centres across the UK, and a ukactive consultation with leading operators showed that that more than half of this workforce could lose their jobs, with up to 2,800 facilities at risk of closing permanently.

ukactive has been working with partners CIMSPA and Community Leisure UK, gathering evidence of the financial pressures from across the sector and presenting this to the Government in order to ensure essential support across all areas, as well as for the self-employed.

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HOW TO ‘SPA AT HOME’

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During these unprecedented times of social distancing (some say physical distancing) and self-isolation, our spa clients are at home with many wearing less makeup than they usually do. With a plethora of time on their hands currently, they will have the opportunity to research the companies and brands that ‘speak to them’. Make sure that your spa is highly visible at this time, via the medium of video.

As we adjust to our ‘new normal’, daily habits will change, with many having the intention to take the time to research ingredients and formulations to improve their skin. Let it not be underestimated, that making an effort with your appearance, has a huge impact on how you feel about yourself. Our spa industry will need to pivot and adjust as quickly as we can to capture the imagination of our clients, that are staying at home.

Take to your digital marketing and social media channels and build your brand, giving relevant, value added tips on how to ‘spa at home’ via video, live or recorded. Do this effectively and consistently and your staff members and spa will become the go-to experts and will remain in the client’s conscious, until we can reopen our doors. Build the ‘know, like and trust’ factor with potential new clients too.

Build your online audience as well as email lists, with guides and sensitively constructed, special discounted retail offers. Use Zoom, Webinars and Crowd Cast face to face screen platforms to keep in touch and offer training to your team members but also to offer advice and demonstrations to clients. With exceptions of course, the employed and now self-employed will receive 80% of their earnings lost over this pandemic, so customer confidence in spending will return and there’s a real thirst for our expert knowledge.

Take the time to harness new skills in the social media arena, take advantage of Instagram and Facebook Lives and embrace IG TV on your phone as well as You Tube for video content such as: a ‘how to guide’ for massage, meditation, yoga practise etc Use the polls on social media channels, to ask what specifically your clients are looking for.

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Tackling the C-Word

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- By Helena Grzesk 

 

The announcements on 20th March, that our spas must close the doors to their guests and to their teams sent shock waves through our industry, as it did so many others. In under 24 hours, many of you had to react and prepare to close-up your business for the immediate future; certainly not forever, but with an unknown path ahead and so many questions left unanswered. Only a matter of days later the UK lockdown announcement followed, with a direct instruction for us to ‘stay at home’ so we can work together as a nation to combat coronavirus. 

In the face of adversity, we pressed the pause button on our businesses to protect our loved ones and our communities, but we remain strong; we stand side by side supporting each other through these challenging times and we will come out of this stronger together.  

It is time for the UK spa industry to stand up and be counted. We will be front line in supporting the NHS, now more than ever before. The spa and wellness industry will be crucial to the mental, physical and emotional health, wellbeing and recovery of this country as we propel through and beyond Covid-19. 

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