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The Spa & Wellness Center Opens at The Blake at Taos Ski Valley

WTS International (WTS), the spa, fitness, lifestyle consultancy and management firm, is celebrating the opening of the Spa and Wellness Center at The Blake at Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico, for which it provided design consulting, pre-opening services and now daily management services.

Taos Ski Valley Resort was founded by German skiing pioneer, Ernie Blake, in 1955 and was influenced by Native American culture and Spanish Colonial history. Recognizing the importance of respecting these cultures, WTS collaborated with the hotel design team to incorporate elements of local Pueblo and Navajo tribes’ identities into the new spa’s design and layout.

The property showcases a collection of original art to give a true gallery feel, while original Pueblo pottery is on display in the relaxation lounge.

Mary Lynn Mellinger, Director of Planning and Design at WTS International, said: “There’s a real sense of place at the resort. We were tasked with making suggestions for ways of integrating the rich history of the region into the look and feel of the spa and wellness center. The spa menu’s services and treatments also draw on these traditional influences.”

The spa has four treatment rooms with one functioning as a couples’ room, and a relaxation space and mixed quiet room with a water feature.

An express treatment area offers chair massage sessions for guests who need immediate support after coming off the slopes.

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Innovative treatments developed for the spa include the Intentional Aromatherapy Massage, during which guests are invited to the aroma design bar where they work with an alchemista to create a custom blend of aromatherapy oils for use during the massage.

The choice comes from the finest organic- and therapeutic-grade essential oils from Body Bliss.

The spa also offers the Earth Elements massage during which hand-carved, organic salt stones, are warmed and incorporated into the massage experience to elevate it to another level.

The Earth Elements massage was developed in partnership with Saltability.

Steven Rose, Director of Hospitality at Taos Ski Valley said: “We’re delighted to have WTS International as a collaborative partner at The Blake at Taos Ski Valley, helping us develop our wellness programming, spa treatments, products and amenities.

“The design and feel of the spa is intended to honor and recognize the many cultures that make this region unique,” added Rose.

The fitness center provides equipment to suit guests who come to the region all year round. It also includes specific pieces of equipment designed for skiers’ needs.

Susan Shanmugham, Project Designer for fitness at WTS explained: “At this facility there will be a focus on recovery, to help skiers get back to optimal performance. For example, we’ve included Normatec Pulse Recovery Systems, which are dynamic compression devices to target the muscles which skiers use and to cater for guests who are looking for additional recovery after a day on the slopes.”

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Other key pieces of equipment in the fitness center include a SkiErg, an upright machine which mimics the motion of cross-country skiing and helps build strength and endurance by working the entire body in a rhythmic motion.

EAST-related spa treatments focus on cooling and rehydration, such as the Sole Renewal, while EAST fitness programs revolve around recovery clinics for the mountain sport enthusiast.

The SOUTH is associated with water and purification, with treatments such as Yoga and The Blake Signature Massage, while the WEST is connected to fire and is the most energetic of the directions, with spa treatments and fitness programs which build vitality and energy, such as the Peloton bike workout and the hot salt stone massage.

At the heart of all treatments is the Golden Center, which nourishes and supports the other directions and represents a state of optimum balance. Spa treatments and fitness programs focus on balancing the body’s energies and include small group circuit training and sports massage.

Andrea Dubois, Senior Project Designer for spa at WTS, concluded: “We want guests to sample a piece of Native American culture, even if it’s a ritual incorporated into a treatment. Local customs are very focused on the spiritual world and healing. We want guests who come to the spa and fitness center to experience that healing process.”

For more information, or to request high resolution images for this piece, please contact Stephanie Batista at sbatista@wtsinternational.com.

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WTS International Builds on Success of 2016 for an Exceptional 2017

WTS International (WTS), the spa, fitness and lifestyle consultancy and management firm, is reporting a strong forecast for 2017, following a record year in 2016.

Last year was an exceptionally busy one for WTS and saw the firm expand its position as a global leader in the industry, with the delivery of 80 design projects and 22 new spa, wellness, fitness and corporate fitness openings around the world.

Commenting, WTS COO Frank Guengerich said: “Last year we exceeded all our own expectations in terms of design, performance and operations, and the 2017 project pipeline is looking even more robust.”

With some 2,500 members of staff worldwide, a corporate team of 65 employees and an executive committee of 20 people, WTS operates in over 30 countries and currently manages over 100 sites worldwide. It’s currently overseeing design projects in locations as diverse as Dubai, Switzerland, America and India.

With every project, WTS spends time consulting with clients to fully evaluate their needs, ensuring plans are firmly based on the company’s principles of excellence in both service and performance standards. Innovation is a key priority, as Guengerich says: “We approach every project with the aim of being relevant and cutting edge.”

Of the many projects in the pipeline for 2017, Oceana Bal Harbour, Florida, a condominium paradise with unobstructed views of the South Florida beaches, is significant for being the first building in the area to be LEED certified. WTS will manage the on-site spa and fitness facility, ensuring a five-star service to residents and guests.

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The spa and fitness facility at the brand new MGM National Harbor luxury resort on the banks of the Potomac River in Maryland features a full-service spa and salon with men’s Barber Lounge and fitness centre. WTS designed the spa concept and handled all the pre-opening and ongoing management.

WTS will also provide ongoing consulting services for the destination and day spa within Trump International Hotel Washington, DC and the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Vancouver, where guests can benefit from signature treatments, as well as full lifestyle programmes. WTS has been involved in the development of the new spa concept for Trump Hotels, and has provided design consulting services throughout the development of both properties.

Other new openings for 2017 include VERDURE, a luxury wellness facility in Amarillo, Texas, for which WTS provided design review services, including operational feasibility, interior design review, equipment sourcing and layout, together with pre-opening services such as finance reviews, staffing, organisation and training, and program development, plus on-going management.

All aspects of the facility’s operations, from its luxurious amenities, exercise equipment and resort-style pools, to its personal training services and world-class spa treatments, are designed to encourage a healthy lifestyle and wellbeing with an uncompromising commitment to service.

The development is also intended to serve as a selling point for prospective residents and a value enhancement for current residents.

Building on over 40 years of spa, leisure and lifestyle consulting and management experience, WTS’s mission is to provide exceptional services to clients, and 2017 will be no exception.

For more information, or to request high resolution images for this piece, please contact Mary Simpkins at msimpkins@wtsinternational.com.

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WTS Develops New Lifestyle Brand for YOO on the Park

Washington, DC—WTS International (WTS), the spa, fitness and lifestyle consultancy and management firm, has announced its collaboration with The Trillist Companies, Inc., the Atlanta-based development company, to design The Art of Living, a new lifestyle brand.

The Art of Living brand will officially be launched later this year at YOO on the Park, a new luxury apartment complex in the heart of Midtown Atlanta, Georgia, US.

At the core of the new brand is WTS’s concept for creating an environment that stimulates the senses and inspires community wellness, improving the quality of life for residents of Trillist’s YOO branded apartments, through unique, luxurious and sophisticated design.

The Art of Living is about enhancing the lifestyle of residents who want to live better and smarter, giving them access to the things that bring meaning and balance to their lives, translated into exclusive services and offerings.

This is delivered at YOO on the Park by concierge services and a lifestyle director who connects residents with enriching experiences, such as local cultural events and fitness programmes.

Reward programmes tailored to include local merchants and restaurants mutually benefit both residents and the neighbourhoods in which they live.

The Art of Living experience will also be delivered through personal touches, such as providing a cup or two of a resident’s favourite coffee or tea and having it waiting for them every morning.

WTS President Gary Henkin said: “The high-end residential real estate market is fiercely competitive and developers know that if they want to move their investments quickly, they need to add something special to the mix. The Art of Living is just that – a new concept which will deliver the highest level of lifestyle and luxury to residents, to ensure the success of YOO on the Park.”

Located adjacent to Atlanta’s Piedmont Park, YOO on the Park combines the expertise of Trillist with design visionaries YOO Studio, which was founded in 1999 by property entrepreneur John Hitchcox and world-renowned designer Philippe Starck.

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The apartment complex is conceived as an extension of Piedmont Park, reflecting its greenery with a six-storey living green wall – North America’s largest – on the building’s exterior façade. This will be illuminated at night, creating a new landmark for residents and the wider community.

The building combines luxury imported finishes from Italy, Germany and Portugal with inventive design and state-of-the-art technology.

The YOO brand is all about designing the unexpected and at YOO on the Park, signature design elements that raise a smile combined with Trillist’s next-generation technology provides innovative lifestyle amenities to residents.

WTS International’s Corporate Operations Director, Roberta Kruse-Fordham, has collaborated with Scott Greenfield, Director of Development Services and Scott Leventhal, President and CEO of Trillist, at every stage of developing the lifestyle programming and concierge services, to ensure The Art of Living brand is delivered consistently throughout.

The result is a luxurious, ultra-modern environment where residents can escape from the outside world and enjoy high quality time with their families and friends. Communal spaces – from the distinctively designed billiards room to the controlled music zones and the theatre – are designed to encourage residents to relax and socialise with their neighbours.

Kruse-Fordham said: “The YOO on the Park project has been unique, exciting and fun. WTS, in collaboration with Trillist, has put a new definition on luxury vertical living and what residents can expect.

Lifestyle and concierge directors will offer a vast, varied menu of options to engage YOO on the Park residents. They will find themselves sipping signature cocktails at YOO on the Park socials, attending personalised fitness sessions in Piedmont Park and having VIP access to cultural happenings.

Residents’ canine friends are also taken into account, with their own signature Pet Respite for bathing and grooming.”

A 24-hour, fully-equipped fitness centre includes an outdoor exercise terrace and yoga area. A variety of classes, ranging from yoga to high intensity interval training, are offered on and off-site, as well as small group training and personal training.

“Brilliantly planned amenities, signature programming and responsive concierge services are designed to make every day satisfying and rewarding for residents of this innovative rental community.

WTS International is committed to helping YOO on the Park residents discover and express their own version of The Art of Living. WTS International signature programmes and events will enable residents to explore their community and beyond, engage positively with neighbours and enjoy all that Midtown Atlanta has to offer,” said Kruse-Fordham.

Residents are expected to start moving in from January 2017. Yoo on the Park is located at 207 13th Street, between Juniper Street and Piedmont Avenue, Atlanta, Georgia. The 25-storey building contains 245 luxury apartments.

Editors’ notes:

Technology
Together with the bold design, a host of innovative lifestyle amenities add value to The Art of LivingSM Brand. Stakeholders have partnered with industry-leading technology providers including Nest Thermostats, Hotwire Communications and Google Fiber to bring next-generation technology to residents at YOO on the Park.

Amenities
YOO on the Park’s public spaces will feature the latest technology and amenities. Residents will be able to play golf in the complex’s indoor golf simulator; iPad Minis will serve as hubs for both TV and Pandora radio; and a resident conference center will offer a large format television, complete with teleconference hardware, allowing residents to speak with colleagues and friends in a professional and private setting.

For more information, or to request high resolution images for this piece, please contact Mary Simpkins at msimpkins@wtsinternational.com.

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WTS International Designs Ocean Spa for Marriott Autograph Playa Largo

Washington, DC—WTS International (WTS), the spa, fitness and lifestyle consulting and management firm, has designed the 6,000sq ft (557sq m) Ocean Spa at the Marriott Autograph Playa Largo Resort and Spa, which is set to open later this year.

The stars have aligned perfectly for the new property, which hits key milestones for the companies involved.

The first new-build in the Upper Keys in over 20 years, the Key Largo property – which is co-owned by Shaner Hotel Group and Prime Hospitality Group – is also the Marriott Autograph Collection’s 100th property.

The Ocean Spa, designed by WTS, will be the first full-service spa in the Upper Keys and includes a couples treatment room and five further treatment rooms, a co-ed lounge, hair and nail salon and a 1,500sq ft (139sq m) fitness center. It will be operated in-house by Spa and Wellness Director Caroline Wilmot, under the guidance of WTS.

Wilmot will oversee the development of all Ocean Spa’s wellness programs, as well as creating spa treatments, managing the salon, the fitness facilities, kids club and spa personnel, as well as running the day-to-day operations.

Commenting on the visitor experience at Ocean Spa, Wilmot said, “From the warm welcome and customized experiences, to enjoying refreshing Mango or Hibiscus Tea, to the tropical, ocean-inspired services, our guests will enjoy an island spa experience like no other.”

Ocean Spa’s treatments are inspired by Playa Largo’s seaside location. They incorporate high-end, marine-based products and indigenous flora to create four signature services, including the Tropical Body Glow, a 90-minute scrub and massage that immerses guests in aromatic coconut and pineapple shea butters that exfoliate the skin.

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Other inspired treatments include the Mojito Salt Scrub, the Awaken Coffee Scrub, the Coconut Sugar Scrub and the Ocean Dew and Bamboo Scrub.

All are created using locally-sourced fresh, organic ingredients.

Susie Hammer, WTS’ Vice President of Spa Operations, said, “We’re proud to be associated with the first new-build in the Florida Keys in more than 20 years.”

“With Playa Largo we have the opportunity to bring a new level of beauty and wellness to the island and its visitors. It’s a unique spa which provides guests with authentic, local spa experiences,” she concluded.

Designed and conceptualized by architects Prime Design Associates, with The Gettys Group responsible for the interior design, the US$100m Playa Largo Resort features 144 bedrooms and suites, 10 private bungalows, a beach house for small group and corporate events, a waterfront pool, tennis courts, basketball courts, and 745 ft. of white sand beach.

The resort features a private marina, three signature restaurants, Sandbar, a ballroom with private courtyards, a formal lawn for banquets and weddings, kids’ activity and nature learning center, and sports courts.

Editors’ notes:

As the first new-build in the Florida Keys for some time, the Marriott Autograph Playa Largo aims to offer a new level of luxury accommodations and service from the outset, to create an unparalleled resort destination in the Florida Keys.

As a result, it has more modern features, interior design and technology. For example, every room will be equipped with an iPad, giving guests one-touch control of their experience.

Playa Largo is aiming to be one of the most eco-friendly hotels in Key Largo. It will be the first commercial venture of any kind in the Florida Keys to invest in a Power Knot liquid food composter, decreasing the resort’s carbon footprint by a massive 147 tons annually.

For more information, or to request high resolution images for this piece, please contact Mary Simpkins at msimpkins@wtsinternational.com.

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How to Spot and Hire Top Talent: WTS Featured in Pulse

WTS International is thrilled to share a recent article in Pulse, a magazine focused on business issues and trends in the spa industry. The feature, “Wanted: Rockstar, How to Spot and Hire Top Talent,” quotes Henry Gudelsky, WTS’ Director of Training and Development. Henry comments, “It does not matter if the person is a director, attendant, service provider, or host, everyone contributes to the guest experience and performance of the spa. Having rock star performers within our team enables us to consistently deliver the level of service that keeps customers coming back.”

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To read the entire article, download it here.

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Hotel Business Design: WTS International’s Concepts are Based on Meaningful Experiences

We’re thrilled to share a feature in Hotel Business Design that showcases WTS International’s spa branding and design work for Cachet Hotels.

“After WTS International delivered a completed concept presentation, the Hong Kong-based hospitality company approved the spa brand, called cSPA. It will be developed at Cachet Deluxe’s properties throughout Greater China, Southeast Asia and the Americas. The first cSPAs will debut in Bangkok and Hangzhou, China. Designed for the affluent spa connoisseur, the cSPA concept will be rolled out worldwide following openings in Asia.”

“As WTS sought to find the right notes to hit to make this brand sing and stand out from the others, we knew it was important to truly look at Cachet Hotel Group’s target market and make it our goal to craft the experience around their expectations of luxury,” said Dubois. “In the end, it became clear that, for these guests, thoughtful luxury wasn’t about opulence, but about rich and meaningful experiences.”

Environmentally friendly features are being integrated, based on the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. “Cachet Hotel Group has made it clear that each project will be planned with the conscious selection of locally-produced materials, energy-saving lighting methods and more easily maintainable finishings as the means by which each will contribute to the well-being of the environment,” said Dubois.”

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WTS Launches Corporate Charity Initiative, WELLness Begins with Water

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WTS International has launched its 2016 corporate initiative, WELLness Begins with Water. The initiative will include a number of charitable components in support of charity: water and also in partnership with the Green Spa Network and Global Wellness Day.

The initiative’s mission: to deliver clean, safe drinking water to developing nations. It costs the organization approximately US$10k to install a community well and WTS is aiming to raise this amount in partnership with its managed facilities, as well as corporately and through partnerships with selected preferred vendors.

Gary Henkin, president and CEO of WTS said: “We take our plentiful supplies of clean water for granted and our spa industry is founded on it, yet many people in the developing world do not even have access to clean drinking water.

We believe this is a basic human right and here at WTS we’re committed to working with charity: water and also our partners and clients, to raise funds to improve the lives of people who are without safe water, by empowering them to take charge of their own water supply.”

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In a related initiative, WTS will also work with the Green Spa Network on the development of protocols and recommendations aimed at significantly reducing the number of plastic water bottles and cups used at WTS-managed spa, fitness and lifestyle facilities.

The Green Spa Network will track and compare usage in WTS-managed facilities to show the improvements made, while an implementation guide will be created by WTS and distributed among both its own managed properties and those associated within the Green Spa Network.

The guide will provide solutions for reducing the carbon footprint created by plastic, as well as providing affiliated spas with suggestions on how to run their Global Wellness Day fundraising events. WTS has also made a policy decision to select vendors who can show they’ve reduced water consumption during the production process.

Global Wellness Day has been successfully incorporated into all WTS facility marketing plans, and an implementation kit and accompanying flyers have been developed to make the launch straightforward. All proceeds raised from attendances at GWD events will be donated to charity: water in the name of WTS International.

“I highly commend WTS for raising money for this worthwhile cause,” said Paul Schmidt, Green Spa Network executive director. “The Green Spa Network is proud to partner with progressive companies like WTS and collaborate to cause positive change.”

To learn more about the WTS corporate charity initiative, please email: initiative@wtsinternational.com.

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For more information, or to request high resolution images for this piece, please contact Mary Pilch Simpkins at msimpkins@wtsinternational.com.

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WTS International Names Penny Kriel Corporate Operations Director for Spa

WTS International is thrilled to announce the appointment of Penny Kriel as Corporate Operations Director for Spa.

Kriel is a fifteen-year veteran of the spa industry, having worked most recently as Spa Director for the Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg, Virginia, a luxury historic destination that features integrative, regional treatments that focus on holistic, results-driven therapies.

In her new position, Kriel will be responsible for overseeing a set portfolio of accounts within the northeast region of the United States. She will work directly with WTS International’s clients and on-site directors to ensure successful operations, marketing, and financial performance.

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Gary Henkin, President of WTS International, said, “The power of WTS to successfully advise clients is directly related to the caliber of the WTS team. With her global perspective, high level management experience, and outstanding track record, Penny Kriel is a huge asset for both our company and our clients.”

Originally from South Africa, Kriel gained a CIDESCO diploma in advanced skincare and cosmetology, aromatherapy, reflexology and massage therapy from the Tina Scholtz Health and Skincare Academy in Potchefstroom.

She began her career as a therapist on board Crystal and Princess Cruises, which led her to be appointed lead therapist and later business development manager for The Image Institute in Rosebank, South Africa.

Kriel’s career led her to Mandarin Oriental, where she ran spa operations in Hyde Park, London, and was Spa Director in Washington, DC for seven years, before joining the Salamander Resort & Spa. During her time with Salamander, Kriel assisted in creating the company’s spa standard operating procedures, spa service standards and signature treatments.

“I’m delighted to join WTS,” said Kriel. “As one of the most-respected spa, fitness and lifestyle consultants in the world, WTS works on some of the biggest, most innovative, and most exciting spa projects out there and I’m thrilled to be on the team.”

For more information, or to request high resolution images for this piece, please contact Mary Pilch Simpkins at msimpkins@wtsinternational.com.

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Moroccan Ritual at Trump SoHo Featured in American Spa

American Spa has featured the “ideal way to warm up this winter,” the Moroccan Ritual at The Spa at Trump SoHo, New York.

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WTS Educates: Be Gift Card Savvy in the New Year

By: Catherine Warren, WTS Spa Director, Eau Spa

With the heavy gift card sales season having come and gone, we are all now faced with the great challenge of turning gift card sales into redemptions. It is also a time for reflecting on the meaning of a liability account. We harken our gift card recipients to return and redeem so that our efforts are not in vain. Gift certificates work the same as gift cards, but I will refer to them as cards from here on out. Without further ado, here is a little gift card Q&A to help you maximize your efforts made throughout the most wonderful time of the year:

Q: Why do I not see gift card sales revenue on my P&L?
A: When a gift card is purchased, the money goes into a purgatory called a liability account. Since revenue cannot be counted when the gift card is purchased, and then counted again when it is redeemed (as this would double what was actually received in the form of a payment from the guest and deceivingly inflate revenues), sales will not be recognized as top line revenue until the card purchased is redeemed as a service or retail item.

Q: How do gift card sales benefit the business if they are not going to count as a profit on top line until an undetermined time of redemption?
A: For one thing, it puts cash in the bank, and this helps the spa or fitness facility to not have to borrow money from the host property when times are lean. Padding the piggy bank is always a good thing. This cash may also grow in interest if invested properly. It also captures guests by holding a credit for them only available through redemption with your spa or fitness facility alone.

Guests are also given the freedom to buy whatever they choose from the service menu or retail area, and so the chances of them being satisfied with their gift is higher than, say, if they received a pair of unattractive, brown bell bottoms, and feel indebted to wear them whenever the gift giver is around. In other words, there is more likely of a guarantee of guest satisfaction with a customizable gift such as a gift card.

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Q: What if the gift cards are never redeemed?

A: Then one day it will be credited as breakage. Breakage is a good thing, because the money will go to the spa or fitness facility without having to pay any costs of sale.

Q: What is my cost of sale?
A: When someone has a service in the spa, receives a personal training session or attends a class, a commission is paid to the therapist, personal trainer or instructor. Additionally, labor for those attending to the guest in the front of house, the linens that need to be laundered after their service or session, their consumable food, beverage and locker room amenities, the cost of product and many, many, many other tertiary costs are included.

Q: So why not just let all of it go to breakage so that more revenue flows through to the bottom line?
A: Depending on the state that you are in, the laws will vary. In Florida, for example, a purchased gift card may legally never expire, and so breakage may not be received that same year or possibly ever. Also, the point of a gift card is to draw guests in so that the revenue is redeemed immediately, a new guest is gained, and retail products potentially sold. Ideally, the guest will adore everything about the business and return regularly. Even better, the guest will buy gift cards for more new guests, and the business will continue to build with the ease of a pyramid scheme.

Q: How do I draw people in to redeem their gift cards?
A: First and foremost, the staff must be trained and then held accountable for gathering all of the contact information for the person purchasing the gift card, and, more importantly, the person receiving the gift card. Then designate someone on the team to go through all outstanding gift cards and personally call to invite guests with credit to the spa or fitness facility. This is actually the simplest AND most effective way to go about ensuring redemptions.

Bounce back offers may also work, but beware of double-discounts! Many times the credit available on the gift card already includes some sort of credit; an upgrade or added value given at the time of purchase, employee commission that was paid off the total amount purchased, provider commission that is deducted when the gross value is redeemed, etc. If not careful, the potential revenue may slowly whittle down to next to nothing, and worst case scenario, go upside down. Always track sales and offers at time of purchase so that revenue is maintained after the compound discounts.

Q: What do you mean by a compound discount?
A: A compound discount is an additional discount on something that has already been discounted, and if the commission to your therapist or personal trainer or instructor is based on the original or gross cost, then it’s possible they are being paid on a higher cash amount than what was actually received. This can quickly increase payroll.

Q: What if the gift card recipient does not want the treatment, sessions or classes purchased?
A: First, provide a thorough list of all of the treatments, services or classes that are available, as it’s possible the guest is not aware of everything they can potentially redeem their gift card for. Ensure they understand the gift card has a dollar credit value, and not necessarily a particular service value. For example, at a SPA, most people just think massage or facial, and must be reminded of all of their options to include body treatments, manicures and pedicures, or hair services. At a FITNESS facility, they may consider personal training as their only option, unaware of any specialty classes offered or special challenges coming up.

If they are not interested in any form of therapeutic work or fitness classes, then encourage them to purchase retail with it for themselves or a loved one.

If they hate all health, beauty and fashion items, then suggest that they re-gift it to their most clean, attractive and relaxed loved one, neighbor, boss or a favorite politician. Just remember that gift cards are not redeemable for cash.

Looking toward the future… Remember that the year is full of gift card selling opportunities; Administrative Assistant’s Week, Mother’s Day, Graduations, Father’s Day etc. So, what can you do to maximize your sales and take gift cards full circle?

Q: How do you convince your team to sell them?
A: The reality is that staff like to be incentivized. Hold a contest offering a prize for the highest sales person. This will automatically instill a minimum to the sales efforts. Since not everyone is a good sales person, the substandard salespeople will possibly not try, because they assume that they’ll never win. Therefore, incentivize the most improved salesperson, possibly one top seller from each department, and maybe even offer a commission.

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Q: How do you pay a commission on something that may not ever be redeemed? Will that not make my payroll high?
A: Good question! This is tricky, because it can’t be denied that it’s a gamble that the guest will never redeem their gift card, and therefore the revenue never hit the top line. Recipients must be drawn to the spa or fitness facility to redeem their gift cards, and then payroll will certainly level out over the course of the year, even if it is a little high during the months such incentive programs are implemented.

Q: How do I make the public aware of my gift cards?
A: Advertising is your friend. Social media advertising is your best friend, because it is either free or fairly inexpensive for boosting posts. If the advertising is inexpensive, then it will not cut into this elusive liability revenue, and there will be a better return on sales.

Q: How do I get people to buy our gift cards instead of one of our competitors?
A: It is now time to consider the spa or fitness facility’s competitive edge, and to think about what could be offered as an incentive that no other facility has to offer. Receiving a great value is usually just as important to guests as cost or discounts. Do you offer complimentary valet? Do you have a childcare facility? Do you have pool or beach access? Do you boast anything innovative by way of technology? Is your facility superior to the competitions? Are complimentary beverages offered? Add up the value of all the amenities of this nature that the facility has to offer. This value should always be mentioned in the advertising campaign built around gift card sales.

Q: What if I answered no to all of the above?
A: Even if the facility offers nothing but a single treatment room, a massage table and an orchid, or no specialty fitness classes or high end training spaces, an incentive can still be provided to the gift card purchaser. For example, increase the value by $25 if they purchase $100. Simply charge the “value add” to the marketing/advertising line within your budget. However, keep in mind this will likely need to be advertised as a limited offer, as budgets must be closely monitored and expenses never exceeded. When developing a campaign, it must always be developed considering the ROI (return on investment).

Q: Is there anything else that I could do to incentivize guests to purchase gift cards?
A: Absolutely! Additional incentives may include registering all purchasers’ into a drawing for something fancy by way of a spa day, personal training sessions, or retail products. This is a slick move, because sometimes product incentives can be received complimentary from vendors. It is always recommended a facility speak with their vendors for assistance on this type of incentive.

Q: How do I train my team to sell gift cards?
A: Staff should be required to ask every guest making an appointment, checking in or checking out if they would like to purchase a gift card. A nice sales spiel would be, “Mr. Smith, we have an excellent gift card program (state the program specifics and why they are so stellar). I would highly recommend that you take advantage of it, and if you need holiday gifts for your office, have an anniversary coming up, need a birthday present or just want to surprise someone special, then now is the time to do it. We will even package it beautifully and mail it to the lucky recipient. How many would you like, and whom should I say it is for? Would you like a card to fill out or shall I fill it out for you? I would be happy to have them delivered to your room for your convenience.”

There should always be gift card signage placed around the spa or fitness facility. This can make it simple for staff to reference, and encourage guests to inquire. Most importantly, include a deadline on all marketing pieces to encourage a sense of urgency so that guests take action on the offer available.

Q: How does gratuity work on a gift card?
A: Remember that most people purchasing a gift card do not want the recipient to have to pay for gratuity, and so gratuity should be included in the gift card as often as possible. It should be clarified with the purchaser to be certain.

Q: What if I have not thought about how to package my gift cards?
A: It is always best to go with neutral packaging that reflects the branding of the facility and is void of any gender or religious affiliation. For example:
• If the facility is a luxury spa, consider a fancy box tied with ribbon, placed in a tissue-filled, branded bag.
• If the facility is environmentally conscious, create a biodegradable or plantable envelope for the gift card.
• If the facility is strapped because of a lean margin, consider ordering simple, folded cards that can hold a gift certificate.

If possible, it is recommended a business card sized promotional piece be included to offer recipients suggestions on how to redeem their gift card, and can also be a great way to advertise any upcoming services, classes, challenges or new membership pricing.

Q: Should I offer shipping?
A: It is recommended shipping is charged for and only offered complimentary when a minimum purchase is reached. This will encourage guests to spend more. Keep in mind that forms will need to be created to capture all of the recipients’ shipping and contact information. Adding on a signature line may be necessary when a guest is paying for the shipping out of their own pocket. Always be careful with the shipping costs as they can quickly eat up revenue if certain priority shipping options are used.

Hopefully this guide will assist you in capturing your guests from this past year’s heavy gift card sales season while ensuring revenues are maximized. Additionally, I hope that this provides you with an outline that proves useful when planning for all the gift card seasons to come throughout this year.

Happy selling, and remember that when you come to a crossroads in your operations and feel that some advice or guidance is needed, contact WTS International as we strive to ensure all clients are kept informed and successful in their ventures.