The Role of Spa Design in Spa Performance
By Jane Segerberg Founder & President, Segerberg Spa Consulting, LLC | July 22, 2012
As we build spas for the future or re-invigorate current spa facilities and re-purpose spaces, the process and results have to make sense for investors. There is a new grading system for value, both from the spa guests' perspective and from our spa owner clients' perspective. Given the importance of value and the intricacies of spa design, the process becomes not just about an investment in the number of treatment rooms or upgraded finishes but how the spa can operate at its best and how we can elevate service levels.
The underpinning of all spas, regardless of the concept, is an atmosphere of well being. According to surveys conducted for The International Spa Association, the number one reason guests go to spas is to "relax and reduce stress", and the results have not wavered over the years. Guests should begin to feel better the moment they arrive and leave feeling greatly improved.
Design the Concept
We add the concept's sense of place and brand identity to the sense of wellbeing and develop a long lasting design by having a thorough understanding of the current or potential market and the owner's vision for the spa. Most importantly, the spa's design must be functional and flexible and at the same time enhance the spa's treatment program and above all, the guest experience.
The planning begins with questions such as, "What would attract guests to this spa?", "Would guests feel at home with their expectations?", and "What or who is this spa?". The spa's concept is the heart and soul or very essence of the spa and the experiences it offers. Just as we dress as who we are and our personalities shine through in our actions and decisions, so does the spa's concept. In order for the spa's message and market to be clear, the concept needs to be concise and easily translated into space programming, interior design features, the treatments program and marketing approaches. This is a tall order and a most important one.
Prior to the design phase, we start with owner and property GM meetings to gain a clear idea of their vision for the spa and property. Sometimes owners and GM's can paint a clear visual picture of their vision and at times others are influenced by what they have seen and need help in translating their ideas into a clear concept. We want to avoid a smorgasbord of ideas that either worked or didn't work in other spas. The final and most revealing question we ask ownership and management is "What guest comments would you want to hear as guests describe their spa experience and the spa to other guests?"