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How to get a return on the investment

The high cost of the these question

has already been mentioned and therefore

areas that

normally follows the presentation of an unexpected budget is how to get a return on the high level of the expenditure.

Whilst not wishing to be quite so blasé as to suggest the famous quote ‘build it and they will come’, apparently

attributed to Steve

Wynn when proposing building The Bellagio

in Las Vegas, will apply

to a well-appointed hydrothermal spa, we do have to draw some similarities.

Most people have, at some point, experienced

using a health club

where a sauna and steam room are provided as a locker room ‘freebie’. Consequently they hold no perceived value, however beautiful they may be, it will be hard to provide these facilities, call it a spa and expect to be able to charge a premium for using these features.

Consequently we have to add value in order for the guest to have a perception of value. Examples of adding value are as follows:

• Introduce ‘different’ experiences in addition to sauna and steam rooms.

• Introduce hydro pool/s

• Create unisex areas where mixed couples can enjoy their spa experiences together

• Provide innovative and more unusual, even unique, cooling experiences such as plunge pools, experiential showers, experiences,

ice fountains,

waterfall ice

chambers or even real snow caves.

• Give guests space and a sense of journey

• Provide excellent, well qualified advice on the health benefits and usage of hydrothermal bathing. Consider different ‘journeys’ promoting multiple visits

• Expand the offer from traditional sauna and steam rooms, consider herbal laconium, hamam and rasul as further features.

• Rasuls and Hamams both have


specific associated treatments associated with them that can be sold as further, secondary spend items.

Most importantly, give the guests something they will value and they will pay to use it.

The way in which the guest can be charged are numerous and varied and very much depend on the business model of each property.

In hotels, the use of the hydrothermal spa could be part of a resort fee, or packaged in and reclaimable as part of a ‘resort credit’, or simply a usage fee in the same way a fee is charged for golf, sailing, water skiing etc., all of which hotels never seem too worried about charging extra for.

In standalone spas as well as hotels, use of the hydrothermal areas is often offered to guests booking a treatment or therapy over a certain value.

The value of enticing a guest into booking further services while relaxing in a hydrothermal spa should not be overlooked.

The benefit of a relatively modest charge

of off

hydrothermal spa, will often attract many guests who would otherwise be put

even visiting a spa when entry level traditional spa say $25 to use a

Don Genders Design for Leisure

treatments and therapies frequently start in excess of $100. Discounts for couples may attract men to visit a spa for the first time, potentially opening up a whole new market.

Not for one moment am I suggesting this significant investment should be used as some form of loss leader or expensive incentive deal.

I do suggest that the investment is looked at as a business, but that costs

associated with usage are

fairly and sensibly applied to any business plan. If there is an element of recovery charged generally within a resort fee, then this figure should be properly and fairly allocated to such an area.

Multi-million dollar investments in hydrothermal spas have been repaid in less than two years in well-presented projects in the USA within the last 5 years.

Finally, please remember that good design does not have to be expensive design. It just has to be done by a designer who understands their discipline and the market in which they are working - coupled with a clear and accurate understanding of the guests they are aiming to attract.

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