Spas are big business – so it’s no surprise that Scottish hoteliers are investing in either putting new spas in or improving their existing facilities.
Over the last year the Old Course in St Andrew’s, The Bowfield Hotel & Country Club and Loch Green House Hotel & Spa have made substantial investments, and they’re on the button, because the global spa market is projected to grow at the rate of 5.7% between 2018 to 2023, according to Mordor Intelligence.
Add that to research by Statista which shows the value of the health and wellness market in the UK increased from over £19.9 billion in 2013 to over £22.8 billion in 2018, and you can see what the potential is. This is one hot topic.
Jason Goldberg, owner one of the UK’s longest-established spa booking agencies, SpaSeekers.com, which has about 40 spa partners in Scotland, has just announced that it would like this to reach 60 to 70 north of the border this year. The success of the SpaSeekers business reflects the growth in spas, with its turnover growing from £2.5 million in 2014 to now fast approaching £10m.
Last year, The Old Course at St Andrew’s unveiled the first Kohler spa in the UK, after an £8m investment. The new 25,000sq ft leisure facility has been designed by architects Sedley Place and marks the first venture in this country by plumbing expert Kohler, with the spa joining three other locations in the US.
Bill Costley is in ‘the early stages’ of adding a pool to Lock Green House Hotel after opening a spa facility two years ago this May, while the
spa at The Blythswood Hotel in Glasgow, which opened in 2009, has only enriched the business.
Said Spa Director Finlay Anderson, “Opening the spa at Blythswood Square has lead to a 16% increase in profitability and a significant increase
in Average Room Rate for the hotel.”
Manorview Hotels invested £1.5million in the redevelopment of Bowfield Hotel & Country Club, which already had existing spa facilities, but a total revamp, extension and branding have led to the creation of a completely new space just over a year ago, to which they’re adding to later
Explained Steve Graham, Managing Director, Manorview Hotels & Leisure Group, “Our AURA Spa at the Bowfield Hotel & Country Club was developed to offer more value for our customers, and an enhanced experience.
We see this as a solid investment in our venue and in what we can offer. And we’re continuing to enhance our customer experience. Our
new outdoor hydrotherapy spa at the Bowfield Hotel opens in April 2019, at an investment of £200k.”
He continued, “Last year we sold 204 spa/accommodation packages, which meant we were able to offer our customers an enhanced experience with packages offering more value for money.”
Spas have traditionally been the preserve of the female market, but Spa Manager Laura Doran has also noticed that more men are using the facilities at The Bowfield. She said, “Over the past two years there’s been a massive increase in male grooming and pampering. Guys are looking after themselves and I wanted to create a space for them. They can come and have a spa day, visit with their friends or on their own, and we offer sports massages where they can ease their muscles after a workout”.
There are also home-grown treatment products available, such as Creme du Loch, a moisturiser combining calcium,magnesium, potassium,iron,vitamins C,E and B12, along with oils of citrus, eucalyptus,wheat germ,kelp extract,cucumber oil, alfalfa and sunflower, which are then put through a lengthy bio-process
Including a spa element in your offering is a wonderful way to massage your revenue stream – but what does it add on to your business?
Said Jenni Watts, Marketing Manager, Stobo Castle Health Spa, “It’s an expensive business and there are huge maintenance costs, but a spa is definitely a way to build growth and enhance the customer experience. There’s increased competition in the spa market and we always make sure that we are ahead of the game. One way we do this is sending our therapists on training courses all the time. The latest one is for people affected with cancer because the latest thinking is that spa treatments can be helpful to sufferers.”
“We run at about 80 to 90 % occupancy. It slowed down during the 2008 recession but we are slowly building it back up, and we sell £1m worth of gift vouchers every Christmas. Most of our customer base is female, although we have had to add new facilities because more couples are joining.”
The stats all say that more of your customers are riding the health-conscious wave, but, paradoxically, this isn’t what’s happening at Stobo. Explained Jenni, “We’ve just celebrated our 40th anniversary and 40 years ago, customers would want to get weighed upon arrival and when they left, plus all of their meals were calorie counted. But today all of that has been replaced by an appetite among our customers to relax and be pampered, plus we have just added a cocktail lounge.”
And there is room for creativity here as well as the more sizeable investments. Last year, for example, Edinburgh’s Sheraton Grand began offering customers a multi-sensory bath experience in their own room or suite, complete with ESPA bath oils, a pot of herbal tea and an exfoliating wash glove. Lighting in the bathroom and music suggestions to play through the bathroom’s speaker system are also employed to set the mood.
What all this tells us is that, whether it’s driven by the pursuit of the body beautiful or pure recreation, there is an appetite for hotel spas among both sexes, and there are a variety of potential offerings for hoteliers to chew over regardless of premises type and budget.
by Jason Caddy