I recently watched this documentary on Netflix called “(Un)Well”. The show talks about how the lucrative wellness business and some of its unique practices such as essential oils, tantric sex, hallucinogens, bee venom, and breast milk can add value to the spa sector.

However, some of those bizarre details don’t grab my attention quite as much as the important matter of how to actually run the business. Therefore, we asked Ingo Schweder, Founder of GOCO Hospitality and highly respected spa and wellness expert to give us six important keys to running a successful wellness spa business. This is what he had to say:

Properly defined target audience (and a concept that matches)

  • Through detailed market research, spas should clarify their target audience and build a spa offering that suits their guests.
  • Concepts should work towards the target audience and feel authentic. Most commonly, this is done through accessing the traditions, rituals, and materials of the locale in the spa treatment offering.
  • Spas in Southeast Asia should all have at least one Thai massage room (or equivalent) as travelers to the region expect these types of treatments. In Europe, Thai massage is less common, but can still be found in spas with a mostly Western clientele that takes an interest in Asian style spa treatments.

A high-quality, authentic, and genuine wellness service with quality spa treatments and the highest level of delivery is far more important than rituals that have little relevance to the location or concept.

  • Most importantly, spas must be authentic and high in quality. Treatments that genuinely improve the mind and body of guests are far better than treatments that just look good for Instagram.
  • For concepts built around the locale, authenticity is gained through the use of traditional practices performed by qualified therapists with a background in their specific treatment.

Partnerships or affiliation with leading wellness providers and industry experts (for products, menus, treatments, etc.) to ensure your concept has integrity.

  • By partnering with affiliated industry experts or providers, you immediately elevate your spa brand by having it ‘approved’ by world-leading industry names.
  • For example, GOCO Hospitality currently partners with Aromatherapy Associates, Hommage, QMS!, Comfort Zone, 111Skin, and Anne Semonin for spa products and treatments for our two spas, GOCO Spa Ajman and GOCO Spa Daios Cove.
  • Inviting wellness practitioners to stay at your spa to offer their personalized services to guests is also a great way to get a spa on the map, as it offers something new to returning guests and also attracts new guests who are followers of the practitioner or their practices in general.

Be prepared to invest in ongoing training for therapists and team members, including their ability to maximize retailing opportunities with guests.

  • Investment in spa therapists and team members is key to running a successful spa. Be willing to pay more for seasoned experts in their fields – it will pay dividends in the long run.
  • Also be sure to continually train and re-train your therapists and staff, improving their skills while also ensuring your spa follows the most up-to-date practices and techniques that guests will come to expect.

Ensure your revenue-generating treatment rooms are able to be utilized for a diverse range of treatments and therapies and are not restricted by the inclusion of specific facilities.

  • If a treatment room is limited to one treatment, especially due to a piece of equipment that cannot be moved, that space runs the risk of generating less revenue.
  • Wherever possible, make sure there are adequate rooms and storage space so that your revenue-generating treatment rooms are able to be utilized for a diverse range of treatments and therapies.

Targeted marketing with yearly changes in strategy that supports the business goals.

As with any business, a well thought-out marketing strategy is essential. From promoting visiting practitioners to providing updates and informed posts on your services, products, and collaborations, you can generate more conversions and build quality brand awareness.

I trust that some of Ingo Schweder’s great know-how here will help smooth your journey towards running a successful spa and wellness business.