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Beauty services 2010-02-17

Spas: a new destination for success

The spa industry has been scaling great heights during the last few years. Franchising is becoming a successful formula for spa businesses today. Let us have a look at the major propelling factors and a few hurdles in its developmental path

By Abha Garyali Sub Editor

The twenty-first century is witnessing a tremendous escalation of spa centres in the Indian market. Earlier considered a luxury, now visiting a spa has become more of a routine exercise than an extravagance. Although as compared to nations like USA, the spa industry in India is still in its nascent stage, but is gradually picking up speed. Major growth has been witnessed in states like Kerala, Maharashtra and parts of north India. According to Rajesh Sharma, Founder, Spa Association of India, “The future of spa franchising is great, more professionalism and awareness is going to come, as more people would like to go to the spas.” He added, “With over 700 spas predicted to open doors in the next two-to-four years, there is no doubt that the spa industry in India is growing fast.”

Spa formats

The growing opportunity in spa franchising can be attributed to the availability of various spa formats. These include:

  • Day Spa: This is the most standardised format of a spa. In this, the people visit for professionally administrated treatments like facials, massages or even therapeutic treatments. Spas offered by Shahnaz Husain Group, VLCC etc come under this format.
  • Destination Spa: In this format, the spas are mainly a part of a luxury hotel. Nowadays spas are coming up at holiday resorts and remote destinations, where people come for relaxation. Large hotels having branded spas come under this category. Ananda spa is one of the premium examples of a destination spa.
  • Medical Spa: An increasing number of people are visiting spas for medical treatments.  Thus, a new format called medical spa has also come into being. Regarding this, Siddharth Shankar, Director, Mystic Cures Ltd shares, “Mystic Cures Ltd is a hospitality and wellness chain that offers therapies, medicines, and solutions to accelerate the cures of various diseases, ailments, and conditions. Recently, we have forayed into franchising business model for our spa and salons properties across the nation.”  

Factors propelling growth

With an increasing number of people becoming aware of the advantages of spas, there is an increase in the number of franchised outlets as well. Moreover, people today patronise branded spa outlets rather than availing spa treatments from unorganised salons and spa centres. The franchised spa salons offer highly specialised professional services and treatments through advanced technology to its customers. Therefore, the various branded salons and spa centres adopt the franchise route to expand their businesses for high growth rate. A few remarkable benefits of spa franchises are as follows:

High profitability: Owing a spa salon guarantees more success to any entrepreneur. A branded beauty salon with the spa facility earns more profits than any other beauty salon. Moreover, running a spa centre fetches the franchisees more profits in terms of the cost of the treatments and massages. As spas offer a specialised treatment therefore, the fees charged for it is also high.

Large customer base: As mentioned, the spa treatment is just not limited to the affluent but also caters to the middle class clientele. With the rise in the disposable income among the middle class, there has been an increase in the number of franchised salons as well. With many multinational companies setting base in India, the country is seeing an increasing trend of business travelers mixing both business with leisure. The franchised spa industry provides a great impetus for relaxation and pleasure.

Growth of medical tourism: With the growing awareness of healing through spa therapies, many patients have started patronising these branded centres for their specialty in spa treatments. In the year 2006, around 15,000 tourists visited the state of Kerala solely for medical treatments. This is another incentive for branded spa owners to franchise their spa centres.

Encouragement of the Government: With the amount of estimated profits in the spa industry set to increase, the Indian Government is encouraging fresh entrepreneurs to take up the franchises of the spa salons.

Lifestyle of the consumers: The lifestyle of the consumers have transformed with time. People do not mind spending a few extra bucks on beauty treatments. Women today, want to pamper themselves and are constantly on the lookout for experimenting with their looks. The spa industry offers just the right destinations for them.

Challenges of spa franchising

However, there are some hurdles also being faced by the Indian franchised spa industry. These are listed below:

Lack of trained personnel: A major shortcoming in the spa industry can be the shortage of spa professionals. Undoubtedly, the branded spa centres offer speciality treatments but in most cases, the employees are not well-trained and experienced to compete with the services of foreign spas.

Lack of uniformity in treatments: Mostly all the spa centres across India have their own way of giving spa treatments. Even therapeutic treatments are done in different manners in different places. This makes the customers apprehensive about the Indian spa treatments.

Lack of awareness in the social strata: In spite of growth of spa industry, still a major section of the society is unaware of the benefits of spas. This hurdle can be overcome by making the spa treatments more affordable to reach out to its customers at different social strata.

In spite of these hurdles, the Indian franchised spa industry has a bright future. This article is a must read for all the aspirants, keen on taking up spa franchising.

Comment
jitesh 18, Dec 2009 at 10:15 PM
Nice article, thanks for that Jitesh
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