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Ask the Spa expert

Suite Benessere N. 18

Esperto risponde suite benessere 18

Increase price lists yes or no?

Marco asks: Dr. Cantoni, we are owners of a hotel located in the center of a large Italian city. For some time we have created a beautiful wellness center of about 1,000 square meters, also open to the public. 50% of the area is dedicated to aesthetics, while in the rest we have changing rooms, reception, gym, wet area and relaxation. After what can be called a period of departure, despite the turnout is good, we can barely equalize the costs, in which the items produced and staff have a considerable weight. We were advised to increase the price lists, but this leaves us hesitant. What do you suggest? Thank you in advance.

The answer of the Spa expert

Real rules do not exist, except that the customer must be extremely comfortable, and possibly with the legs at heart height. Dear Marco, the case that I submit (unfortunately) is common to many wellness centers projects that did not have the support of a preliminary cost analysis. In any case, analyzing the few data that it provides me, 50% of the space intended for the aesthetic area catches the eye. I hope that the designer has foreseen the use of equipment that allows to treat customers without the constant presence of the operator, otherwise the large amount of personnel necessary to operate manually on 500 square meters could justify that “considerable weight” in the costs , quoted by you.

One of the secrets that allows you to gain in the wellness area of a hotel, is the creation of routes in which customers feel like being accompanied by the hand, even without large amounts of staff. This result is achieved with the creation of important wet areas perfectly in synergy with the services of a proportionate aesthetic area. You now find yourself in a different condition: calculating that reception, changing rooms, services and common areas occupy on average 25% of a wellness center, and that the gym can be dedicated 30/40 square meters, remain about 200 square meters of which – if we take away relaxation, herbal tea and technical areas – very few 90 square meters are likely to be dedicated to the wetland, which in a hotel is rather unbalanced compared to the 500 square meters of aesthetics.

An hotelier should rely on designers who can show how a wellness path can be used by the end customer without fleets of personnel who, as in your case, end up weighing on fixed costs. In conclusion, raising prices – except rare cases – does not help solve the problem. A few months ago my employees and I followed a similar case: one of his colleagues, having repeatedly raised prices, had found himself completely out of business, with a consequent loss of customers. By analyzing each item carefully, we found services hopelessly at a loss: for example, two massage booths had been designed with a service whose break-even point was practically unattainable.

The sum of the costs (personnel, products, electricity and amortization of furniture and technologies) meant that – at market prices – those two services turned out to be a constant tax. It was enough to replace the existing equipment with others that did not require the constant presence of operators, reducing to one fifth the cost of employees, 70% energy consumption and 45% that of products. It may seem strange to you, but your colleague, before this analysis, would never have thought that the replacement of only two services would have significantly changed the performance of the whole area. I advise you not to raise prices a priori, but to do a good analysis to identify the real points of loss, which normally should be done simultaneously with the design, and always before the opening of a spa.


Can not use tanning lamps?

Francesco di Oleggio (NO) asks: Dear Daniele Cantoni, we are building a hotel with a wellness center in a country located on the border between Piedmont and Lombardy. A few weeks after the opening we were told that we can not use the tanning lamps already purchased, because they have a power not allowed in Piedmont. Is this possible? What can we do? Greetings.

The answer of the Spa expert

It seems impossible, but the Babel of regional decrees and laws and their interpretation mean that even my group, sometimes, is faced with unexpected news on the rules to follow for the construction of a spa in the various regions and provinces. I’m sorry for your inauguration, but they told you the truth: the Piedmont region (I think it’s the only one) does not allow the use of tanning lamps in the “four” class in the centers with an aesthetic license.

The lamps are divided into classes (from one to four) according to their power (given by the ratio between UVB and UVA rays). The only way to use them (in Piedmont) is to produce a medical request for each session, which is unthinkable even in an open center with a medical license. I advise you to contact the manufacturer, hoping that in their catalog there are similar models in the “three” class. Alternatively, you will have to extend the wellness pavilion of those meters necessary to reach Lombardy … there you can use the lamps!