Defining the Size and Scope of Your Spa

By Elaine Fenard Partner & Chief Operating Officer, Europe and U.S., Spatality | February 22, 2010

In today's world there are many reasons for including a spa in the hotel footprint. Spas are no longer built simply as a differentiator. Spa has become a revenue generator and a guest expectation, leaving many owners and investors asking the question. "How much space do I really need to secure a place in the spa market, add value to the asset and meet the needs of my guest?" Hypothetically the answer is a simple one. The minimum square footage required to build a spa complete with locker rooms is approximately 4,000 square feet.

However, we all know the simple answer is not always the best solution, so the question becomes 'what is best for the project?' There are generalizations we can use to address this simplifying the process and find a starting point.

The first task is to define what spa means to the hotel brand and its positioning. The principle objective will usually dictate the starting point. For example if the objective is to maintain a competitive edge, the first focus will be on the competitive set. Clearly understanding the competition will give you an indication of the size and scope you will need to compete. If you wish to differentiate then size will not be as much of an issue, you will need to be creative in order to differentiate. A market research study is often recommended in order to ensure you have an objective overview giving clarity to the objective as well as the potential and aligning both with the business case.

Note: If the property is to be managed by a hotel management company, it is wise to establish if there are or will be brand standards with the spa, and if so what provisions the management company has made to address this.

Generalizations can assist in the initial outline, utilizing a basic formula and information taken from industry standards to ascertain the treatment rooms to guest room's ratio...

Guest Room - Treatment Room Ratio

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Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.