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Tap the growing spa opportunity

The domestic demand for spa services is growing consistently and an explosion is just round the corner. One can tap this tremendous opportunity by making the right moves.

The spa industry has come into prominence in India during the last five years. At present there are around 2,300 spa centres in India, concentrated majorly in south Indian cities where people in the age-group, 25-45 are the biggest draw. A major pie of the business of spa centres today comes from health tourists from America, Europe and East Asia. However domestic demand for spa services is growing consistently and an explosion is just round the corner. One can tap this tremendous opportunity by making the right moves.

 

What you will Offer?

 

The ‘spa experience’ encompasses the entire arena from resorts, hotels, mineral springs, medical, cruise ship, club and day spas to service providers such as physicians, wellness instructors, nutritionists, massage therapists and product suppliers. 

 

The most common spa treatments in India include body treatments, facials, massages, aroma therapy, hair removal, hydrotherapy, manicures and pedicures. Spa treatments in India have also a great number of massages including Indian and exotic massages done with herbal and aromatic oils. Spas have now evolved to offer weight loss, smoking cessation, pre-natal massage, afternoon tea, yoga retreats and even more.

 

Why Venture in Spa?

 

If you are interested in starting a spa, you should believe in the concept of wellness as propagated by the spa industry. As Gayatri Bajaj of Suryavilas Spa and Resorts says, ‘You must have interest in well being in general and that should be a part of one’s personality. There is no point just focusing on the business aspect of the spa and offering services which you yourself don’t believe in. ‘ Secondly you must have a perfect taste, in-depth knowledge, patience, and willingness to serve on agile heels,’ says Deepak Mittal of Kanatal Resorts and Spa.

 

Business Plan

 

Here are a few components of the spa business plan you must check out for: 

 

Investment Required

 

Investment in a Spa facility may range from 15-20 lakh to 2 crore. You must have a detailed plan as to where to invest and how much to invest. ‘Your investment costs will depend on the services you offer, the location you chose, the costs of property, costs incurred on hiring people, the quality and range of products and equipments used,’ says Nikhil Gupta, from Aithein, a spa training institute. Breaking even may take about 2 to 3 years. 

 

Day to Day Operations

 

Your business plan must lay out in detail what all would be required for the day to day operations. These details include the services you will be offering and the equipments and products you need to purchase for the same. Also you need to determine how many employees you need and at what salaries.

 

Detailing your Services

 

Detail your services as much as possible. This may include the following points:

 

Description of the treatment

Benefits of the service (silky smooth skin, relaxation etc)

Which spa member will perform the service?

Time needed to perform the service

Materials and equipment needed

Approximate retail cost 

 

Business Model

 

Spa services can be offered in several formats, depending on your investment appetite and the type of clients you want to cater to. 

 

Destination Spas

 

This is basically a residential facility set up at a remote location away from the hustle and bustle of cities. They offer inclusive programs including exercise classes, body treatments, mind-enrichment and stress-reduction activities and spa cuisine. Investment in destination spa can amount to a few crores. In India a major pie of the business of destination spas comes from health tourists. 

Hotel Spas

 

Nowadays, most high-end hotels are providing spa facilities. These facilities target customers who visit the hotel for business purposes and incidentally want to indulge in a wellness regime to relax and de-stress. However, most hotels want to outsource their spa services since they want to concentrate on their core business that is hospitality.

 

Day Spas

 

For a beginner it would be ideal to begin with day spa services as the investment incurred is comparatively lower. They offer beauty, wellness and relaxation programs that may last an hour, a morning or a day. So they do not provide overnight accommodation. Day spa can be a three room set up in a posh residential area. 

 

Medical Spa

 

Medi-spas can be set up by medical and spa professionals whose primary purpose is to provide comprehensive medical and wellness care in an environment which integrates spa services, as well as, conventional, and complimentary therapies and treatments.

Hiring People

 

You need to be extremely selective with your employees as their skills will impact your business. In India, availability of skilled therapists or masseurs is not very easy. However a few institutes like Ananda Spa Institute, Aithein Spa Academy, Ispaa etc. are catering to this need. You can also bring in people and train them in-house. As Nikhil Gupta says, ‘The therapists you hire should be educated, English speaking individuals with good knowledge of the human anatomy. They should be trained in the different types of massage treatments.’ Apart from therapists you need to hire a spa manager who may ideally be a BAMS doctor trained in Ayurveda or some other healing field.

 

The staff should be well trained in etiquettes as well. ‘It is important that they are able to inform people as to what therapies would be best for them and also the benefits of the same,’ says Nikhil.

 

Promoting Yourself

 

It is important to have a website for online presence. Besides, develop promotional material like a menu of services, brochures etc. Initially one can begin promoting oneself by offering freebies to customers. This can be designed in packages like offering a 10 minute free massage for the first 100 customers or giving a free bottle of oil for those taking higher packages.

 

One can also tie-up with coffee-shops, gyms, health and fitness centres to offer complimentary services to their customers. Spas are also making business out of selling their spa products. These products can be developed in-house or can be outsourced to a spa products company. A major chunk of a spa’s turnover is attributed to sale of spa products.

 

Spa Ambience and Interiors

 

A spa should be designed as an abode of relaxation. The ambience should be such that it relaxes a visitor even before the treatment starts. One needs to hire an interior designer for this purpose. As Deepak Mittal, Kanatal Resorts and Spa informs, ‘Spa interiors should be designed in a way which makes your clients feel close to nature. Chose soothing color combinations, fragrances and music. At Kanatal we have flute playing in the background which has a very relaxing effect. Fragrances created by lemon grass, and pine wood furniture create a tranquilizing effect on customers. The manner in which your staff is dressed also contributes to the overall feel-good effect.’

 

Choice of Products and equipments

 

The choice of products and equipments impacts your business to a great extent. As Vandana of Eminence points out, ‘It is important to realize that the products you use will have an effect on the skin as well as overall wellbeing. In case a customer is dissatisfied or there is an undesirable effect on his skin, he is never going to comeback.’ Products should be dermatologically tested and made using permitted ingredients. Similarly while choosing equipments you should keep in mind that the design and quality of equipments used contribute to the ambience of the spa.  

Differentiating

 

Ancient Indian practices like yoga, tantra, meditation and Pranayama (breathing exercises are the main differentiators of the Indian spa services. As Gayatri puts it, ‘Our USP is the anti-ageing and wrinkle-free skin treatment which is provided with marine algae and sea-weed products. There is no use of cosmetic products in the course of the treatment. We have collaboration with Thalgo, a French company for the same’. One of the most rewarding experiences of owning a spa comes when a customer visits you for the second time and this is possible only if you offer something extra. It is very important to follow up with your customers and work on their preferences.

Spa Products

 

Bath salt, Bath Bubble, Bath Bomb, Dead Sea Salt Scrub, Face Scrub, Body scrub, Mud mask 
Body wrap, Lotion, Crème, Moisturizer, Shampoo, Hair Moisturizer, Sugar scrub, Chocolate, Lotion, Shea butter crème, Aromatherapy fragrance, Home fragrance, Massage oil, Body oil, Hair oil, Bar Soap, Oatmeal soap, Milk soap, Seaweed lotion. 

 

Spa Equipments

 

Massage tables, spa beds, hydrotherapy tubs, massage stone heaters, hydro massage bath, facial, pedicure and manicure equipments, steam/sauna bath equipment, hot stone massage therapy equipment, etc. 

 

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