We report from the UK Spa Association Autumn Networking Event 2023

The event attracted 120 delegates to The Municipal Liverpool – MGallery


By Mark Smith

30 October 2023

The UK Spa Association held its Autumn Networking Event 2023 at The Municipal Liverpool – MGallery with 120 delegates attending.

General manager Yvonne Ebdon welcomed all attendees to the one-day event and set the agenda for the day’s activities.

In partnership with Sothys, the Autumn Networking Event, offered UK spa and wellness leaders the chance to network and discover the latest news from suppliers. This included inspiring keynotes and panel discussions.

The main programme was followed by the National Spa Director Assembly and a spa suppliers meeting. These sessions allowed people to share any problems and to discuss best practice.

Woman in black dress in front of a himalayan salt wall

“We are proud that these forums continue to receive record number of attendees and we will continue to improve and develop the events based on the feedback of those that attend and the wider industry.”

Abi Selby

Chair, UK Spa Association

Sharing experiences

Liz Warom, co-founder and managing director of Temple Spa, shared the personal story of how she and her husband Mark developed the brand.

Tracing back to Liz’s early career as a dental nurse and then cosmetic account manager, the presentation was filled with interesting anecdotes. This included her time with Anita Roddick at The Body Shop and with Richard Branson at Virgin Vie.

woman in black dress addressing a conference delegation
Liz Warom, co-founder of Temple Spa, speaking at the UK Spa Association event

Inspired by the Mediterranean

The talk provided an insight into the development of the brand while the couple where on a sabbatical in the Mediterranean. It detailed the ups and downs of the company’s journey to where it is today.

The brand is now available in over 150 spas including Armathwaite Hall Hotel and Spa, Firmdale Hotels and Harbour Hotels.

With 150 staff in total, the team donates 10% of profits to charitable causes every year and has so far donated over £1.5 million to charity.

two woman at an event smiling at camera
Jessica Grant Sloyan, spa and wellness director at Lucknam Park Hotel, and Eleanor Jeffrey, spa manager at Montcalm East
two women in smart dress at a conference
Lisa Buttle, business development director at Journey Hospitality and Sarah Ronchetti, head of spa at Temple Spa

Energy and sustainability

A panel of industry professionals discussed ‘How to Reduce Energy Costs and Improve Your Carbon Footprint’.

They explored the challenges of energy and decarbonisation in running a spa today.

Discussing the importance of net zero, Andrew Crowley, director of OS Generation, noted that to achieve this takes considerable investment. On-site generation of power is an option but requires investment or working with a partner who can provide this and then sells it on at a discounted rate.

Producing energy as close to your building as possible is the most cost-effective method of lowering a carbon footprint, but it was concluded that there is no one single solution to the issue and that spa businesses should have two, three and five-year strategies for their energy and sustainability goals.

Abi Selby, chair, UK Spa Association; Christine Alice Hartigan, architect at Space & Place Architects; and Andrew Crowley, director at OS Generation

Building a sustainable spa

Christine Alice Hartigan, architect at Space & Place Architects, presented a case study of St Sidwell’s Point in Exeter. The project uses 70% less energy and 50% less water than a typical sports centre and spa of the same size. She looked at sustainable buildings and the opportunities and challenges of designing a sustainable spa.

Hartigan explained Passivhaus standards, which are designed to minimise the natural heat loss of a building to minimise the energy required to heat it.

She  said: “There is a great synergy between Passivhaus and spa, its one step closer to achieving carbon net zero by reducing your running costs and it improves the quality of your spaces.”

The panel also addressed how to retrofit an operation to make it more sustainable.

woman standing in front of an exhibition stand
Sothys was the headline sponsor at the UK Spa Association event

Wellness in motion

The main sessions concluded with a sound healing workshop with Harriet Emily, a talented practitioner swhohe has worked across Europe and the US with companies including the ITV Network and Soho House.

Keeping with the wellness theme, delegates were able to enjoy access to the new spa at The Municipal Hotel, Liverpool – MGallery. Many people braved an ice bath courtesy of Brass Monkey.

“The board of the UKSA, Yvonne and I were absolutely delighted with the incredible turnout we saw at our Autumn Networking Event at The Municipal Hotel –MGallery in Liverpool last week,” said Selby.

“The newly opened showcase hotel was the perfect setting to host an action-packed day of insightful conversations, inspirational talks and immersive wellness experiences that keep our events true to the industry in which we sit.”

woman leading a sound healing session
Harriet Emily leading a sound healing session
two people in business attire smiling at the camera
European Spa's Mark Smith and Sarah Camilleri supporting the UK Spa Association event

Future events for the UK Spa Association

The UK Spa Association has announced a third networking event, to be held in Scotland, has been added to its 2024 events calendar.

This will be the association’s first Scottish Networking Event, the date and location of which will be released over the coming weeks.

Details of the Spring Networking Event in England are due to be announced soon.

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