The first World Spa & Wellness Online Convention by Professional Beauty UK delves into the question of what’s next. How to reset and restart your business in the aftermath of the Covid-19 crisis? We bring you a special report from this session was moderated by Mark Moloney, Professional Beauty Group’s managing director, and Jean-Guy de Gabriac, WSWC conference producer and founder of World Wellness Weekend.
Professional Beauty UK invited Andrew Gibson, Senior VP Sensei Holdings (USA), for VP Well-being Luxury brands ACCOR Hotels is he still at Accor as I thought he left last year, and Chairman of the Wellness Tourism Association, to talk about what spa owners should be considering right now and looking forward to after re-opening their business.
He said, “The style and response of Leadership is going to define those companies best positioned to succeed post coronavirus pandemic. Your own personal leadership, irrespective of the work you do, is also vital to your ability to maintain your job. I am therefore going to focus on leadership within the context of strategic planning for resumption of business.”
He enumerated the following:
Cash is King: A term I learnt a long time ago when starting up a small company.
Turnover is Vanity: It sounds good but does not put food on the table.
Profit is sanity: This keeps the shareholders and banks happy a little longer
Cash is Reality: This pays the bills, keeps the staff and puts food on the table
Therefore let’s focus on cash – most companies need a little cash CPR right now – from mega corporations to family run businesses. How can we provide CPR?
C = Communication
Be transparent and honest. All stakeholders including owners, directors, banks, landlords and employees are aware of the situation. How and what you communicate can engage these parties to help however they can.
P = Plan
Do you have a 3 / 6 / 9 month plan in place? No-one knows exactly when this crisis will be over and how badly it will affect the economy. Prepare contingencies for each scenario so that you are able to communicate and answer questions. Examples are company voluntary pay cuts rather than redundancies, rent breaks and refinancing options with the banks. Be in control of when and how you want to return to normal business operations. Be ready to answer any questions from customers, employees, management or owners. How you answer will determine how they support.
R = React
Do not sit idle – this is the time to be positive, to plan, to respond and to prepare. This is the time to negotiate with your stakeholders. I think of this as a new opportunity or a ‘flight to MARS.’
Flight to MARS
M = Motivate
This is the time to be positive, to show confidence, to encourage new ideas and explore opportunities. This is particularly relevant to employees that are concerned about their future, their families, their health.
A = Analyse and Activity
Part of the motivation is to encourage your stakeholders to own the solutions. Do a daily Zoom call with employees and ask them what they can be doing (training, research, SOP’s, online support to customers). Show the owners that the team is not sitting idle – that there are activities, tasks and projects that are taking place. This is an opportunity to really analyse the data, such as most popular activities, most profitable activities and make decisions on what will be improved upon when business resumes.
R = Reassure
With open communication, well thought out contingency plans, definitive action requirements by stakeholders and a calm, positive approach to the future you are in a position to reassure all stakeholders.
S = Stimulate
Reassess your current business using data analysis, review of your employees’ productivity and attitude and your customer base. Create a plan and then stimulate activity such as reaching out to your customers (communication) and reassuring them that your company is there to support them. Get your employees to participate in responding to customers, planning new activities, completing online training, etc.
As we can see there are many opportunist online solutions for the stay at home audience – with fitness, yoga and meditation being amongst the most popular. If you are thinking of providing online content then you have an advantage over these generalist providers. You know your customers. You can provide content that creates emotional engagement and encourages loyalty to your brand / company. This is going to be a significant point of difference in a very competitive market.
I think that many societies will see change in the behaviour and social interaction of people over the next year as we go through the different stages of managing this virus. We are not good at social segregation and social distancing. As these restrictions are relaxed, I think it is likely that people will seek experiences that allow them to safely mix and gather. It is likely that anything connected with wellness will be popular as more people become concerned about their own health and the cleanliness of the environment they live in. Your company has an opportunity to genuinely appeal to these needs. Increased competition and opportunist business enterprises will pop up and offer innovative pricing options but I do not believe in entering into a price war. I have never been in favour of discounting.
I have two thoughts on this:
Differentiate between experience and commodity: If your services are simply a commodity with little emotional attachment then you will end up competing on price. If your activities are experiences, unique and valuable to your company based on your facilities and your people then you are providing experiences which will have value.
Sell on value: If you think you need to discount then message it as value added – add manicure with each 90 minute massage or 90 minutes massage for 60 minute pricing. Discount often attracts a different customer to your profile – which is ok if you want to change your customer profile and business plan.
Finally – It maybe that the review and reflection of your business or your position within a company leads to a conclusion to change. If it does, then you probably need CPR!
For more from Andrew Gibson, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOKU5I_jEFg&list=UUDU7I_AtAf-YgLX0X8YtQyg&index=13