It has been a challenging few month’s for the spa industry and with current government restrictions still in place for the foreseeable future, 2020 is going to be a year like no other for our industry. With that being said, it has also been a time of collaboration and ‘togetherness’ as our industry has graciously formed one big support group, sharing advice, tips and even a shoulder to cry on. The Spa PR Company caught up with Katie Murphy, Business Manager at The Good Spa Guide to discuss what’s next for spas and their new features to support its customers during this time.
It has been a challenging year for the spa industry with the closure and fight to reopen. What is one take away lesson that you feel you’ve learnt about the spa industry during this time?
The spa industry is powerful, resilient and supportive. Individual spas, groups and industry bodies have made their voices heard during the lockdown period and come together to push for a reopening of the industry which has been inspiring. Our own consumer survey conducted during lockdown had nearly 5,000 respondents, the majority of whom expressed a desire to return to spas and demonstrates the need for people to access relaxation, wellness and care.
What does GSG have planned for your spa clients to help them over the next few months?
We provided valuable assistance to all our spa partners as soon as lockdown was announced including an extension to partnership terms, financial credits to some partner spas and cancellation of invoices to spas that joined us just before lockdown. We also worked closely with a range of skincare providers to give them additional coverage on our site visitors during lockdown. Post-lockdown we have added a new section to each spa page listing their Covid protocols so visitors know what to expect. We will continue to explore ways to help our partners as we all move forwards in these unprecedented times.
Will we be seeing any new surveys or consumer stats over the next few months?
Our consumer survey during lockdown was insightful and valuable, 80% of people said they would return to spas as soon as they were open or in the coming months. We plan to conduct more surveys going forward that will enhance our understanding of how spa visitors view their spa experiences, how they value the different aspects of the spa experience and their expectations. We will share this information to benefit and assist in the development of the spa industry going forward.
Will the GSG Magazine still be published and what type of content are you looking for?
Wellness is not currently being published, it’s all about our website which has over 1.9m page views and 752,000 site visitors a year. It provides up to date spa listings and information and authoritative spa editorial. The spa listings provide all the important detail required for a guest to plan a spa visit and the editorial content includes advice and information for our site visitors on a range of wellness, fitness and spa-related matters often with a seasonal bias. This includes insights into trends, new skincare and wellness products and new spas as well as reviews, first-hand accounts and recommendations of existing spas, current products and wellness experiences.
GSG awards are always a highlight in the spa calendar. What are your plans for them this year?
The Good Spa Awards bring the industry together to celebrate and applaud excellence. We are proud to host this event and look forward to hosting the next one. The current situation means we may do things slightly differently this year to make sure it is a safe and comfortable environment for all concerned, at the moment we are considering a number of options regarding the format but whatever form it takes, it will be as memorable and engaging for the spa industry and the public as ever.
What do you feel are the attributes that a luxury five bubble spa must have?
A Five Bubble Luxury Spa (5BL) must be outstanding across all the key areas: personalisation, service, treatments, facilities, customer journey, food, accessibility, sustainability and cleanliness. A 5BL spa does everything right and oozes quality, exclusivity and personal service. It may also have one or several unique experiences not found elsewhere. Intangibles such as ambience and atmosphere related to how a spa makes you feel also contribute to a 5BL rating.
Exclusivity and quality are important but a spa does not have to be big, new or opulent to be great. Some of the best spas are small, they can offer personalisation, attention to detail, flexibility and ambience which may be harder to achieve in larger spas. It’s more about how it makes you feel, the space and the attention to detail.
Describe what the spa industry means to you
The spa industry means care, nurture, collaboration, creativity and strength.