February 2020

Typically, when we flip the calendar over to February we begin to be bombarded with images of chocolates and flowers. Many of us welcome St Valentines to brighten what can sometimes be a dreary month. However, this year before we reach the fuzzy feeling associated with the 14th we have a hurdle to overcome… January 31st 2020 = Brexit. At the time of writing we are all still anticipating what that really means. The article Beauty of Brexit shares viewpoint and statistics from a variety of sources to help you see the different perspectives. 

If all this Brexit talk leaves you feeling out of control, then the UK Active article ‘The Critical Role of Physical Activity in Workplace Wellbeing’ will give you something you can take the reins on.  Whether it is working with your teams to increase their daily step count or to take some fresh air throughout the day, our ‘wellness’ industry should lead the way in workplace wellbeing with the experts we are fortunate to be surrounded by.

Physical health is not all about going for a run. What is happening on the inside? This month’s feature on ‘Gut Health’ talks through everything from probiotics, what has an impact (you might be surprised) and cook and influencer Madeleine Shaw assists with foods to help the gut thrive. 

We look forward to seeing you on 4th March at the first of this year’s UKSA networking events. Keep an eye on our social media for the announcements of the speakers joining us.

Jean-Paul Blissett & Clare Dickens 
Spa Voice Editors

The Beauty of Brexit
by Juliet Wheater
The significance of Brexit cannot be underestimated as the most important political issue facing the United Kingdom since the Second World War! At the time of going to press, the UK will have left the European Union, perhaps!

At the time of writing, the political and economic environment continues to be peppered with uncertainty with all types of industry being affected. The property and construction industry call for stability and a study by consumer motoring website BuyaCar.co.uk has found that consumer confidence has been “unlocked” by an end to the political uncertainty that has rocked the nation in recent years. The publication’s poll of more than 3,000 people found that 15 percent would go ahead with plans to buy a new car now the general election is over, and the Brexit withdrawal agreement has been voted through.

Healthcare industry professionals are quite divided regarding Brexit's outcome post 31st January however, with 26% and 43% of the UK and US respondents, respectively, stating that there will be a further delay once the current deadline is reached and 43% of the EU respondents believing that Brexit could be achieved by renegotiating a current withdrawal agreement.

Victoria Rickett, Spa Manager at Rockliffe Hall comments on her observations: 

“Regarding Brexit we have already had impact in terms of a change in booking behaviour during the unsettled period. We have found that guests are booking very last minute and are far more cautious on average spend. When making supplier decisions we are careful to work with brand partners with warehouses in the UK to eliminate the chances of disruption of supply. Hopefully now the dust is settling we will see more confidence in client spend”.

Laura Johnson, Marketing Manager for BC Softwear gives Spa Voice her take: 

“Initially when the referendum happened, we sensed some natural customer hesitation and concerns. Overall, we haven’t seen any significant impact on our sales, which continue to grow. We maintain a positive outlook towards Brexit, as we have a large warehouse which has already been topped up to ensure we are ready to provide stock on demand for our customers’.

These positive attitudes are echoed, as apparently Brexit is no longer the chief concern for British finance directors for the first time since the 2016 referendum, according to a survey from Deloitte . . .

Click the Read More below to find out other opinions and other outcomes of the world post Brexit . . 

The Critical Role of Physical Activity in Workplace Wellbeing
by ukactive

In the UK we are facing a physical inactivity crisis, especially in relation to the workplace. Research from the Lancet (embed link – see end) shows that office workers spending eight hours a day sat at a desk are up to 60 per cent more likely to die early from diseases such as cancer and heart disease; but it also shows that high levels of moderate physical activity can eliminate the increased risk of death associated with high sitting time. 

Not only can being active during the working day effectively save lives, it can also have a number of additional benefits for individuals, society and employers. Being active can have a positive impact on mental health, build inclusion and team ethos, increase productivity, lower absence rates, increase self-confidence and support development of individual purpose. 

A recent global Deloitte report [embed link – see end] found that 78 per cent of employers are looking to invest in physical activity programmes in the next three years, the same report found that 56 per cent of the fitness operators interviewed in the survey consider corporate wellness a ‘big opportunity’ for growth, while a further 36 per cent indicated that it will increase their total revenues. 

In this context, what does wellbeing or corporate wellness really mean and what is the opportunity for the fitness, leisure and spa industry? How can we raise the value of physical activity in the workplace and how can the sector provide . . . 

Healthy Gut, Healthy Life
by Juliet Wheater

Gut health refers to the balance of microorganisms that live within the digestive tract. Looking after the health of the gut and maintaining the right balance of these microorganisms is vital for physical and mental health and immunity. Such bacteria, yeasts and viruses — of which there are around 100 trillion are also known as the "gut microbiome" or "gut flora."

Many microbes are beneficial for human health and some are even essential. However, others can become harmful, especially when they multiply. Therefore, to boost the beneficial bacteria or probiotics in the gut, some choose to take probiotic supplements, readily available within health food shops, pharmacy’s as well as online. 

Some people believe that taking probiotics can support a healthy gut microbiome and that it may prevent gut inflammation and other intestinal problems. This may well be the case, however there are a variety of stressors which can negatively affect gut health such as eating high concentrates of sugar or artificial sweeteners, which some believe may cause gut dysbiosis, an imbalance of gut microbes.

Other factors detrimental to gut health include: Stress and environmental stress such as extreme heat or cold or excessive noise. Stress management techniques include meditation, the practise of yoga and deep breathing exercises. Also exercising regularly, sleeping well and eating a healthy balanced diet can also reduce . . . 

Dates for Your Diary . . 

UKSA Spring Networking Event - 4th March 2020 at Carden Park, Cheshire

Carden Park Spa from 10:30am - 3:30pm
See Eventbrite to book your tickets


A Note from the Chair . . .
"It's kind of fun to do the impossible"
- Walt Disney 

Looking ahead to National Spa Week 2020 . . 

One of the most common themes that come up in my own conversations with spa managers and spa directors as well as in our SDA's around the country, are the struggles with getting the investment, recognition and focus that your spa deservers. This is particularly noticeable among hotel spas where the old fashioned mentality of everything existing to drive room revenue is so deeply ingrained that any shift seems so difficult as to be impossible.

I've witnessed this myself that there seems to be a pecking order amongst departments within a hotel operation, with rooms generally sitting at the top, food and beverage next, golf (if applicable) somewhere close by and generally spa sitting somewhere at the bottom. 

Now I am generalising here obviously, but we've seen this come up again and again at the UKSA and we no longer want hotels to miss out on what could easily be the jewel in their hotel services offering, easily outpacing revenue from Food and Beverage and other service offerings all while adding to the hotel's draw and driving that all important room revenue.

That is why we have made the theme of National Spa Week 2020 . . . "Taking Spas Seriously"

NSW 2020 will follow the format of last years hugely successful 'Wellness in the Workplace' campaign and we'll be bringing you exclusive educational information, discussion, podcasts, videos and articles designed to highlight this important subject throughout the industry. 

So if you've got strong opinions on this either as a spa manager, spa director, hotel general manager or anyone else in the industry we'd love to hear from you.

National Spa Week 2020 will take place in November so keep any eye on our social media channels for more information over the coming months.

Adam Chatterley
Chairman of the UK Spa Association