Dayspa

JAN 2014

DAYSPA is the business resource for spa & wellness professionals! Each issue covers the latest in skin care, spa treatments, wellness services and management strategies.

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GLOBAL SPEAK AmanResorts is one of many hospitality brands bringing spa luxury to China, as with its Aman Spa at Amanfayun (for more information see page 42). prepared for an ever-changing regulatory environment. And the fines for non-compliance of laws are steep. Given the lack of therapist education, spa operators are obliged to train staffs on their own. The big hospitality brands that operate spas in China spend between four weeks and three months getting their staffs ready to take care of guests, and have to provide continuing education not just on technical aspects, but on English language and communication skills as well. In spite of all this required investment, the staffs do not tend to be loyal, and seem to need a greater level of nurturing from their leaders and managers. This comes as a surprise to westerners and others, considering the client-centered nature of spa professionals that we know. But Kathryn Moore, director of operations for MSpa International (mspa-international .com), a spa concept developer and manager that operates throughout Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa, notes that the nature of the Chinese worker is different. "The One Child policy has had a massive impact on the work ethic and value that the Chinese place on themselves," Moore explains. "Very often, the child grows up being the center of attention, and when that child gets into work environments he or she is no longer the main attraction. One of the things we focus on at MSpa is to show recognition and to make each employee feel special at some point, being very generous with our praise," she says. Moore's spa management team focuses on building strong relationships with the staff members, so that the training investment is not wasted. The Chinese people do love to spa, but their version of spa-ing looks very different from that of spa-goers in the U.S. In China, spa is a social activity, so guests 70 DAYSPA | JANUARY 2014 want to enjoy treatments in groups with family and friends. There are large spas with dozens of treatment rooms where clients basically hang out, bathhouse style. They may play mah-jongg, watch television and even smoke cigarettes while at the spa. Some of the bathhouses reputedly have slot machines and pingpong tables. Food is also an important part of a Chinese spa visit, and we're not just talking about bowls of nuts—full meals are the norm. One trend of the moment is the growth of hot springs spas: new resorts and hotels embrace the idea of having a hot spring at their properties. However, they're not always keen to do any testing or research, preferring to just get the resort built and open. Speed to market is the key, and the approach seems to be "Get it built and we'll fine-tune it later." CHINESE SPA CLIENTS Spa treatments are supposed to make one look and feel different, and the Chinese embrace this philosophy whole-heartedly. Although the most popular spa services in China are reflexology and massage, the populace is beginning to experiment with the benefits of Western-style facial treatments. They place great value on treatments performed with equipment and machines, as opposed to human touch alone. And they're not shy about letting their friends know they're having treatments—no need for discretion here! They don't mind submitting to numerous medical spa treatments and walking out of the spa sporting all of the bruises or redness that one might expect: this shows their friends that they have "arrived." Anything considered new or trendy is of great interest to a well-heeled Chinese spa consumer. In some less affluent cities, Chinese spa-goers place a greater emphasis on value, and will be more likely to book massages, foot treatments and tui na. Naturally, the Chinese middle class will not regularly patronize luxury five-star spas. This population is understandably more price-sensitive and less likely to purchase spa products. In fact, they may not even visit a hotel spa while on vacation, unless a treatment is included in the package. On the other hand, for those who do want to indulge, they may be disappointed when they arrive at a hotel and find that there are no appointments available—the concept of booking appointments ahead of time has

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