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International Women’s Day: European Spa celebrates women in the spa industry

To mark this year's event, we highlight the wisdom of some of the spa industry’s most influential women

GLOBAL

By Lauren Heath-Jones

08 March 2022

www.internationalwomensday.com
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This year’s International Women’s Day is centred around the theme of #BreakThe Bias, which encourages people to confront the biases they face – whether they’re internal biases or based in communities or institutions – for a more diverse, equitable and inclusive society. 

To mark the global event, which advocates for the social, economic, cultural and political equality of women, European Spa is celebrating the wisdom of some of the UK spa industry’s most influential women.

“The spa and wellness industry a shining testament to female leadership,” says European Spa founding editor Sarah Camilleri. “In the last two decades it has attracted many talented women who have stepped up to create and lead extraordinary brands, concepts, teams, and businesses across the world.

“It’s been my privilege through the pages of European Spa to shine a light on the talent of countless women out in the spa industry who understood how beauty and wellbeing can connect, nurture, and really make the difference to people’s lives.“

Sarah Camilleri

Founding editor, European Spa

“I felt so strongly about the power of the spa industry, that I launched European Spa in 2007 to celebrate the people who look after the wellness world. It has been our privilege to write their stories over the years and to help the spa industry grow and prosper.

“Thanks to a wealth of creative and entrepreneurial female leadership the spa industry is now thriving globally, yet there is still much work to be done to progress our industry to make it truly inclusive and welcoming for all.”

As part of its ‘In conversation with…’ Instagram series, European Spa has interviewed many of these influential and inspirational women, discussing issues ranging from online marketing to recovery and rest programmes, team connection, recruitment and retention, and how to deliver the perfect guest experience.

Here are some highlights from these conversations with the industry’s inspirational female leaders, along with links to the full interviews…

Tracey Stapleton: ‘Content is queen’

Speaking to European Spa contributing editor Mark Smith, the founder of The Spa PR Company, Tracey Stapleton shared her top tips for managing your business’s reputation online. According to Stapleton, when communicating with your customers online, both existing and potential, content is queen.

“You shouldn’t ignore your own content because obviously people search and find new brands and businesses that they want to buy into, so your content plays a really important role in actually driving them to your website or driving them to a portal where you want them to be,” said Stapleton. “So look at your content and see how you can attract more people to you by creating engaging and valuable content for them.

Image of Tracey Stapleton

“Generally, for your existing customers, your email database is going to be your most effective way of reaching them because you’ve built up that trust and engagement.”

Tracey Stapleton

Founder, The Spa PR Company

“I think this applies to any business really but it’s splitting [your audience] between your existing customers and your prospective customers. 

“Generally, for your existing customers, your email database is going to be your most effective way of reaching them because you’ve built up that trust and engagement with them on a platform that they have agreed to be on.”

“Similarly, this works for your social media channels. If they’ve agreed to follow you then generally they want to hear more about what you’re doing. That’s another way of reaching your existing customers.” 

Stapleton also suggested private Facebook or WhatsApp groups for businesses with membership or VIP programmes, and working with influencers, who already have trusting and engaged audiences, as a way to connect with existing customers. 

“This is very much the era of personalisation and the more that we can do that, even with a small group – you know quite often we think too big, we think we’ve got to have hundreds and thousands of all these people, but something that starts quite small can quickly evolve if it’s done the right way.

Marina Efraimoglou: Learn to feel the joy

Founder of Euphoria Retreat, Marina Efraimoglou discussed the key elements of rest and recovery programmes, and why they are so crucial in today’s climate. She said that guests go to Euphoria Retreat claiming they’re stressed, depressed and have gained weight, and the root of these issues, particularly over the past two years, is fear.

“There’s a lot of fear, there’s a lot of uncertainty. This is what we are facing,” said Efraimoglou. “Underneath the weight gain, underneath the depression, underneath the loss there is this feeling that people don’t know where to turn, don’t know what life is going to bring them, and we help to prepare them to tackle the uncertainty and be okay with the fear that is part of our life.”

“Sometimes committing to ourselves is not good enough, but committing to somebody else and then feel that we are exposed to them, that helps us move on."

Marina Efraimoglou

Founder, Euphoria Retreat

She explained that travel had helped her recover following a difficult period during the pandemic, which then led to her creating the resort’s Feel Alive Again recovery and reset programme. 

“Coming back home I felt that I was a person that I could recognise. I could recognise myself. This is when the idea for Feel Alive Again came about. Overcoming the difficulties, the testing and insecurity, and understanding that even I, which I didn’t believe, had some form of agoraphobia. it made me realise what I’d been through and gave me time to acknowledge that it was difficult.

“It gave me this idea to help people, not in direct ways but in indirect ways, to connect with each other and open up. If I could give any advice, sometimes committing to ourselves is not good enough, but committing to somebody else and then feeling that we are exposed to them that helps us move on.” 

Kay Pennington: ‘Nurture your team’s wellbeing’

Aqua Sana group manager for the UK and Ireland, Kay Pennington discussed meaningful working connections.

“We have a real opportunity to tell our teams how much they mean to us – find out what they want for the future, don’t take their wellbeing for granted,” she urged listeners. “They will have some inspiration from months of personal reflection that they could bring to the business too.”

“We have a real opportunity to tell our teams how much they mean to us – find out what they want for the future, don’t take their wellbeing for granted.”

Kay Pennington

Group manager, UK & Ireland, Aqua Sana

Pennington also spoke about the need for spa operators and spa suppliers to change the way they work together. 

“The way that we work with, and how we deal with our spa suppliers is key to moving forward. It’s time to shift our working relationships, to respect the wellness of sales teams out on the road. How many times do we see a sales member on long journeys, driving all day? Where is the wellness in that?

“Spa operators and spa suppliers need to recognise and adapt their approach because there is a lot of exhaustion on both sides,” she concluded.

Jaunita Quadros: ‘Meeting the demand for wellness’

Spa director of So Spa at Sofitel London St James, Jaunita Quadros spoke about the recruitment crisis in spas, saying that while demand has never been so high, it’s being impacted by the recruitment and retention issues impacting spas. 

“Wellness is no longer an option; it’s become a way of life for many people,” said Quadros. “The demand for wellness has definitely gone up and the wellness manpower has remained stagnant if not decreased. There’s a lot of demand but the supply is stagnant.

”Wellness is no longer an option it’s become a way of life for many people. The demand for wellness has definitely gone up and the wellness manpower has remained stagnant if not decreased.”

Jaunita Quadros

Spa director, Sofitel London

“You have to look at recruitment from every angle possible and focus more on retention. Retention is like a set of traffic lights, when they’re green it’s great but when you get to amber you really have to pay attention to the little niggles here and there. You really need to emphasise and put all your attention and focus on it to convert that amber back into the green. It’s really important right now.” 

Quadros went on to expand the traffic light theory and shared tips for spa managers if they were concerned their staff were in amber.

“You know your team members and when you’re engaged with your team members as a leader, and you know them one-on-one; you can see small shifts in their attitudes towards work,” she said. “Be it coming in on time, getting their room set up, or if someone who’d usually ask lots of questions suddenly goes quiet… these things are worth looking into because no one knows what’s going on in someone’s life.”

Claire Caddick: ‘Perfect your guest experience’

Spa consultant and Tribe517 founder Claire Caddick spoke on how to create the perfect guest experience based on three facets: wellness of the planet, wellness of the therapist and wellness of the guests. 

“Getting the guest experience right comes down to three pillars,” she told listeners. “The first pillar has to be the wellness of the planet, the oceans and the forests at the moment. Everything we do, we do from an ethical angle and that’s before we even think about placing an ad or somebody telephones to make an appointment. We have to consider that and people look for that now.”

”Everything we do, we do from an ethical angle and that’s before we even think about placing an ad or somebody telephones to make an appointment.”

Claire Caddick

Spa consultant & founder, Tribe517

She continued: “The second pillar is the wellness of the therapist, before the third pillar of the wellness of the guest, which maybe sounds a bit upside down – but when you think now, how much of themselves that the therapists actually give to the guests. 

“It all comes down to the therapists and those three pillars that we work on. I think it’s very difficult just to say ‘right, this is what we do to get the guest experience right’ until we have complete buy-in in the therapist and complete support for the therapist on our end as well. For me, that is crucially important.”

Peigin Crowley: ‘Take the spa experience home’

Co-founder of the Irish Spa Association, Peigin Crowley discussed how she launched her brand, Ground Wellbeing, which specialises in artisanal aromatherapy products and has an amenities partnership with Rosewood Hong Kong. 

“As therapists, we have the luxury of bringing someone into a safe space where it’s all about them and we get them to surrender to us,” she said. “And what I’m trying to help people do at home is to make that time and space to surrender themselves and to mind themselves,” she said.

picture of a woman in a denim shirt leaning on a counter

“Sleep is a currency. Sleep and our own wellbeing and how we recover at night are just so important.“

Peigin Crowley

Founder, Ground Wellbeing

“Although aromatherapy and essential oils are scent driven and certainly your biology will take you to what you’re craving or where you need balance, the scent very much lives within our bodies,” said Crowley.

“It’s very much like eating real butter versus your synthetic types. It’s not a scent that will fix to the skin that they’ll smell in eight hours and think ‘ooh I love that smell’, this is a scent that moves through their body and has cause and effect in terms of making them feel better in themselves or helping them sleep better. It’s resonating with people.

“Sleep is a currency,” she stated. “Sleep and our own wellbeing and how we recover at night are just so important. And people who are suffering with burnout, who are uncertain of the future, it does come into your sleep.”

European Spa’s complete ‘In conversation with…’ series is available on our European Spa Instagram account here.

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www.internationalwomensday.com
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