From team training to making the right business decisions, re-starting your spa in the aftermath of covid-19 is bound to be a challenge. Professional Beauty UK discusses it on PB Live with spa experts from around the world.
Professional Beauty UK invited Christian Kiefer, Founder and CEO Rayya Wellness & Former CEO Dreamworks Spas (UAE) to talk about the challenges of re-starting your spa after the pandemic. The 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.
Christian says that there is no Harry Potter magic wand solution for the re-opening of spas since we have too many unknown factors such as time. He lists out some pointers for the benefit of spa owners on how to utilise the present time to the optimum and things to consider before re-opening.
Team Trainings and Moral: I believe this is a huge point in order not to see skillset and product knowledge depleting. What can you actually do remotely to keep your staff engaged? We have a huge number of therapists sitting in staff accommodation currently on lockdown until further notice.
- Prepare remote training plans: Ask your ops managers and training managers to take the lead here and oversee the whole mechanics. Even if they are on unpaid leave this is the time to show commitment to common cause. Set up the IT, provide at least three training sessions per week until the reopening happens.
- Focus on keeping moral up: Be a counsellor, listen to your staff, emphasize on the fact that their jobs are safe (if you are confident in that fact).
- Keep them busy: I am currently running competitions for best Fitness Routine and they have to send daily workout videos on our WhatsApp group. There are so many ways to keep them engaged.
Changes in business models and commercial viability
Solidarity and support for third party spa operators: I believe now is the time for clear win-win scenarios. The scales will have to be extremely balanced in terms of risk. Owning companies as well as landlords have to loosen up in light of business models. Flexibility is key. Rent and Lease Agreements will turn towards revenue shares and minimum guarantee scenarios should be adjusted to pure % share of top line revenue until guest count goes back to normal. Risk now needs to be carried equally by both parties.
Pricing: We will see a huge wave of discounts going through the industry and many spa providers will cannibalise their own revenue with heavily decreasing average daily cheque. Be smarter here and catch the fall by focusing on your regular guests first. Look at new client acquisition later when the market has slightly recovered and the desperation has subsided. Give it a month at least and monitor the situation carefully.
Partnerships: We unfortunately saw a huge drift from genuine affiliations towards a complete focus on money in the last few years. This will change. After this crisis many will realise that partnerships are indeed what keeps the business alive. Now is the time to really shift focus to strong affiliations and support functions. Look at new revenue streams. We, for example, have partnered up with Fitness First in the region and conduct roadshows and awareness campaigns etc.
Barter: No one will have big budgets anymore, especially not at the beginning, but you have a great service to offer that indeed everyone will see value in (Wellbeing), try bartering now to increase your marketing reach. Barter treatment vouchers worth X $ for Radio ads, TV ads, etc.
Step-by-step to recovery
You need to know your financial buffer and short and long term worst/ best case scenarios need to be projected. This is crucial step number one.
Foresee a very slow start and weak revenues at the beginning to be on the safe side and look at how you can tighten the screws with manning and cost control overall
a)Do not rehire/start with a full team. Build slow and save payroll cost
b)Look at your ageing reports and speak to vendors to loosen payment terms
c)Speak to owning companies to negotiate rent/revenue share (if you are third party)
Plan your marketing strategy in advance with focus on strong affiliations and barter systems rather than spending cash.
Focus on your team and its morale when doors reopen. Support financially now wherever you can. Keep in mind your top performers have been without commissions for weeks (maybe months). Try to put funds in place in case someone really has the back against the wall. Remember your TOP PERFORMERS need to be retained first and if that means you have to pay advanced salaries or support otherwise so be it, (everything is better than losing a retailer who sells 8000 dollars worth of products a month).
Hold back on LPOs and clear whatever is in your stores. Become resourceful.
Be brave when you reopen and remember that the things that didn’t work in the past now might just do the trick. Out of the box thinking will become the new norm. You should already be brainstorming what amazing new ideas you can implement to open up new Revenue streams.
The general problem is that we are overthinking a lot currently and it is in our nature as entrepreneurs and business owners to ‘worry’ but there is a light at the end of the tunnel and trust me when I say that people will evolve out of this with more focus on their health and Wellbeing than ever before. The mindset after this global lockdown will be set on Leisure and people will realise how much they miss you. Leverage on that and keep a positive outlook for you and your teams. If I were to summarise the re-opening strategy in just a few words than it would be the following:
“Minimise financial risk by working resourceful and leverage on partnerships with win/win solidarity. Keep your top performers happy, the teams moral up and stay optimistic. Be braver than ever with innovative ideas to open up new revenue streams.”
To learn more from Christian Kiefer, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOKU5I_jEFg&list=UUDU7I_AtAf-YgLX0X8YtQyg&index=13