Spa Inc. Winter 23/24

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The sexual health and well-being opportunity

THE IMPACT OF TECHNOLOGY ON THE SPA INDUSTRY

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controversial Ontario Therme spa 6 features The Dol-ás Spa experience 10 Looking and feeling great 13 Sexual health & well-being 15
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Entering the data-driven future 20 6 13 30

between us

Enhancing the spa experience through personalization

As we approach the end of 2023 and get ready to plunge headfirst into 2024, spa owners and operators across the country are looking ahead, eager to make the necessary tweaks and adjustments to their offering that will improve their treatments and services, elevating the experience they provide their customers to the next level. Given the intimate nature of a visit to the spa, many establishments are attempting to achieve this through enhanced personalization.

With this in mind, we profile Dol-ás Spa in Harbour, N.S., where the picturesque wellness destination welcomes visitors with bright and warm East Coast hospitality. And, once inside, they’re treated with luxury care that’s delivered via custom-tailored treatments and services, making the spa one of the top establishments in the country.

We also delve into École hôtelière de Lausanne's list of the most impactful trends to influence the industry in 2024. The world’s largest hospitality university offers a comprehensive and thought-provoking collection of forcing functions, from the increased use of technology and enhanced focus around health and wellness, to the offer of elevated forms of relaxation and stress management, in an effort to educate and inform global spa operators and their teams as we continue throughout the year.

It doesn’t get any more personal than one’s sexual health and well-being. And, it just so happens to be one of the more recent areas of focus that is presenting opportunities to spa operators willing to offer treatments and services to address the related issues and concerns. We take a look inside the bourgeoning sub-sector of the industry, exploring the role that spas will play in the future concerning improved sexual health and well-being.

Given the important role that talented staff serve in the administering of personal treatments, services, and care within spa establishments, Grace Burzese, Founder of Beauty Incubator Recruitment, shares her thoughts concerning the importance of knowledgeable employees toward satisfying customer needs and lending to a successful spa business.

With an eye on the future, we take a close look at the use of data and its potential, in combination with machine learning, to train artificial intelligence models and revolutionize the industry, creating predictive insights that will fuel all future growth and innovation, enhancing the idea of personalization and taking to heights never before dreamed of.

And, what’s the point in looking into the future without assessing the current state of technology? So, we sit down with Elena Zinchenko, Director at Ten Spa in Winnipeg, to discuss the latest advancements in technology and how they’re being used within spa establishments to enhance services and build on successes.

We hope you and your teams enjoy the content that we provide within this issue of Spa Inc. magazine, and that it helps to inspire ideas to enhance the services and experiences you provide guests. Here’s to a healthy and bright start to the new year.

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ISSN 1710 -1727

Volume 19, Number 1

Publisher Susan A. Browne sbrowne@dvtail.com

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LUSH COSMETICS OPENING FIRST CANADIAN SPA

Downtown Vancouver recently witnessed the opening of the first ever Lush Cosmetics spa in Canada. Located on Robson Street, the brandnew spa concept was launched by the global skincare giant in the middle of December, and offers a range of different facials, full body massages, and immersive bathing treatments. The concept, which combines the experiences of a spa and a retail store, is one that the company introduced in 2009. Today, there are 15 Lush Spas located all over the world. And, although the 1,350-square-foot space will be offering the same menu of treatments and services as the other Lush Spas, the company says that the Vancouver location could serve as a bit of a testing ground for the evolving concept.

"In addition to new facial and body treatments, we are also working on new services that showcase our dedication to fresh handmade cosmetics. This is still a work in progress, but all we can say is, there will be no more bad hair days," says a Lush representative.

Private land alternative FOR CONTROVERSIAL ONTARIO

THERME SPA

As the ongoing saga involving spa developer Therme Canada, provincial land formerly occupied by Ontario Place in Toronto, and citizen advocacy groups continues, the city’s mayor recently offered an alternate suggested location in an attempt to quell the controversy and unrest surrounding the situation. Rather than beginning development of the indoor water park on the land granted by the Ford government, which has faced a significant amount of public opposition, Mayor Olivia Chow has reportedly offered the Better Living Centre as another option. The Better Living Centre, which is situated within Exhibition Place on land owned by the city, is represented by a similar footprint to the proposed Therme facility. However, Therme Canada is pressing ahead with development on the original site as the Ontario government prepares legislation that will hasten its start.

spa news 6 Spa Inc. | Winter 2023-24

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Plans for Saskatoon Nordic spa renewed

More than two years following the collapse of plans by Dream Development to erect a Nordic Spa and hotel in Saskatoon, the project has been resurrected. Originally chalked as a result of the developer's lack of consultation with local residents concerning their thoughts and opinions of the planned spa and hotel development, Dream Development has worked tirelessly since 2021 to understand the concerns of those living within the neighbourhood near the proposed location. After surveying and meeting with residents of the community, Dream Development

determined that the greatest worries concerning the project involve spoiled views, unsettled tranquility, and increased traffic through the neighbourhood. Considering input from a number of different sources, the developer revised its pitch, tweaking it slightly within an alternate location further away from most residents. As a result of their consultation and work with locals, Dream Development has plans to construct a Nordic spa and hotel in Saskatoon, and it is that much closer to reality following city council approval regarding the changes made.

POLAR BEAR SAUNA IN VANCOUVER?

Stanley Park in downtown Vancouver may soon be the location of a brand-new spa, housed within the park’s well-known polar bear enclosure. Plans, however, for the development of any such project may be a long way off. Though the very idea of it is starting conversation within the city. The enclosure, which was once home to four polar bears and has always been somewhat of a controversial space, has been vacant for nearly 30 years since it, along with its parent facility, Vancouver Zoo, was shut down back in the nineties. Today, the site is something of an afterthought. So, Vancouver architect firm Tony Osborn Architecture + Design Inc. has proposed a renewed use for the space, presenting an opportunity to revitalize and rejuvenate the entire central area of the park, including the inclusion of cold and hot pools, a steam room, and underground areas that could serve as a place for people within the city to congregate and take rest from their day-to-day stresses.

spa news 8 Spa Inc. | Winter 2023-24
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The Dol-ás Spa EXPERIENCE

Finding rest and relaxation within East Coast personalized hospitality

When thinking of places where one might be able to find rest and relaxation, or achieve a state of tranquility and well-being, there are few that can compare to the Dol-ás Spa in Harbour, N.S. Nestled into beautiful scenery on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, visitors are cared for from the moment they enter the establishment, welcomed by traditional East Coast hospitality. And, providing a range of treatments and services meant to

rejuvenate and refresh, the spa promises guests an experience like no other.

“From the first moment a guest walks in, they can expect to feel a sense of serenity as they are welcomed into our world,” explains Joann Patriquin, spa director at Dol-ás Spa. “Drawing on the essence of the East Coast and the healing traditions of global spa culture, our skilled, professional therapists and aestheticians are

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dedicated to helping you feel and look your relaxed, polished best. Beneath our beautiful spa lies our state-of-the-art wellness centre featuring a stunning junior Olympic-sized swimming pool. The soaring space is lined with windows to bring the outside in.”

Holistic wellness centre

Operating as part of the overall offering at the Fox Harb’r Resort, Dol-ás Spa is quickly becoming known as a holistic wellness centre destination. Offering specialty treatments that include a range of different massages, facials using the exclusive Swiss skincare line Cellcosmet, along with a number of different body treatments, nail care, and more, the spa continues to build on the reputation it has already developed for itself as a provider of luxury spa services. In fact, it was recently named as one of the Canadian Spa & Wellness “Top 25 Spas in Canada.” However, what differentiates the spa from others, says Patriquin, is the significant amount of focus it places on the needs of the customer.

“We aim to anticipate the distinct needs of guests; that’s what sets us apart,” she asserts. “From the moment a guest walks into our spa, they will experience a sense of calmness and serenity. Even prior to their arrival, our therapists will be well versed with any needs and requests so guests can expect a seamless and bespoke experience. As we’re known as a five-star golf resort, we offer a range of treatments especially designed to enhance golf

mobility that you won’t find at other treatment centres. We were honoured to recently be named the Luxury Resort Spa and Wellness Centre of the Year by the LuxLife Hospitality Awards.”

Focus on the customer

It’s the intense, almost hyper-focus that Patriquin and her staff pay toward satisfying the needs of customers that allows the spa to continuously please its guests. And, supported by a personalized approach to each experience provided within the spa, guests enjoy a pampering within a bright, warm, and welcoming environment they are not likely to receive anywhere else.

“Personalization is at the top of the list when it comes to our priorities,” she explains. “To achieve a luxury spa experience for our discerning guests, we place an emphasis on customization and tailoring our treatments to the individual. Our guests travel to spas all over the world. They are seeking a premium experience that’s imbued with our distinct East Coast hospitality. And that means prioritizing a personal experience and recommendations with each visit tailored to the individual guest—whether that’s to improve a golf game, look picture perfect for a wedding, or treating a specific issue.”

Consistent enhancement

Operating within such a competitive industry, the achievements

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and accolades that Dol-ás Spa receives on a relatively regular basis are testament to the quality of the establishment’s treatments and service, as well as the expertise of the therapists and other staff responsible for their administering. However, what keeps the establishment consistently on the leading edge of the spa industry in Canada, explains Patriquin, is its willingness to evolve and expand its offering in order to remain relevant to today’s spa-goer.

“We’re proud to continually be recognized by the industry as being one of the top spas in Canada,” she says. “We’re constantly adding luxurious details to the dynamic roster of experiences at Fox Harb’r Resort. It’s these fine details that makes a visit to Dol-ás Spa memorable. Over the years, we’ve continued to elevate the experience by adding new moments of pampering to our treatments. We have a handbook that lays out exactly how each treatment should go from start to finish, incorporating very specialized and customized details. For example, each private treatment starts with a calming foot bath. A guest may be coming in from a big hike or a full day of golf, and we want them to truly relax and enjoy their treatment. Another example: we use hot stones with our manicures. And, our pedicures are accompanied by a thorough foot massage. Our return guests always remember these details.”

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Expanded service and offering

Given the reputation that Dol-ás Spa enjoys among those who have visited the luxury spa destination, combined with the consistent enhancements and improvements that have been made to the site and its services, it’s no wonder it continues to welcome droves of visitors through its doors. And, according to Patriquin, it has no plans to stop, with further additions to be revealed to guests soon.

“Our market continues to evolve. We’re seeing more and more guests visiting primarily with wellness in mind. Our stunning seaside location draws visitors from around the world. And now, with a brilliant new golf course expansion in the works, we’ll be luring even more visitors to Nova Scotia. Spa travellers seeking the best in pampering, wellness, and luxurious rejuvenation will find it all here. In the very near future, we’ll be revealing a brand-new spa space that will multiply the variety of treatments and experiences available. In our beautiful new space, we’ll offer a complete range of specialized destination spa programming, including wellness retreats, sound therapy, hydrothermal experiences, signature treatments, and mind-body activities such as yoga and meditation.”

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C M Y CM MY CY CMY K
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Looking and feeling great

The top trends, treatments, and innovations to watch for in 2024

HL—the world’s largest hospitality university—recently released its list of the most impactful forcing functions that it believes will continue to shape the spa industry throughout the coming year. From the increased use of technology and enhanced focus around health and wellness, to the offer of elevated forms of relaxation and stress management, the treatments and concepts that are anticipated to take centre stage in 2024 seem set to meet the evolving interests and desires of today’s spa-goer, while also facilitating the continued growth of spa establishments everywhere.

Here are the top trends that EHL identifies as those to watch for within the global spa industry in 2024.

The med spa

As people around the world continue to place an increasing amount of focus on their physical health and well-being, it’s being suggested that the med spa concept, in which guests receive services and treatments meant to improve their overall physical health and condition, is set to explode. Offering treatments that are designed to serve as near-permanent solutions addressing concerns including cellulite, wrinkles, hair removal, and skin pigmentation, the med spa concept appeals to a number of different guests for varying reasons.

Increased use of technology

It might go without saying, but with the continued advancement of technology, its use is expected to increase within today’s spa environment. Supporting everything from treatments and services to the training of artificial intelligence models, technology is on the verge of sparking revolutionary change within the spa industry, enhancing the guest experience, increasing productivity, and enabling growth like never before.

The human touch

There’s no questioning the changes that have taken place all over the world since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. And, at the heart of it all is an accelerated digitization that has served to enable greater efficiencies, reduce operational costs, and enhance convenience. However, it has come at the expense of a lack of human interaction and, as it relates to the conventions of the traditional spa experience, touch. However, according to EHL’s trends list, physical contact, including person-to-person treatments and services, is a need that’s being driven by the younger generations, and is one that’s set to become something that is sought out over the course of the next year.

The power of nature

Since the start of the pandemic, people all over

Person-to-person treatments and services is a need that’s being driven by the younger generations, and is one that’s set to become something that is sought out over the course of the next year.
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the world have also been paying significantly more focus toward their mental and physical health and well-being. They’ve also been simplifying their lives, getting back to the essence of life. These two trends are blending, or conjoining, to form a powerful movement involving the use of, or reliance on, nature and natural elements to relieve stress and anxiety. It’s leading a multitude of spas to offer outdoor facilities, including hot and cold pools, hammocks for lounging, firepits, and walks through natural environments, satisfying the needs of today’s spa-goer in a completely genuine and organic way.

Focus on mental wellness

The world has enjoyed the development and introduction of a number of different innovations and advancements over the course of the past decade or so. Many of these innovations and advancements have helped us find efficiencies within our lives and increase our capacity to do a number of different things that we weren’t able to before the digitization of our environment. However, our digital connectivity has also brought with it increased stress and anxiety and, for some, a near-smothering impact on their psyche. As a result, it’s expected that spas in countries across the globe will continue to offer classes and services involving yoga, meditation, mindfulness, and more, in order to address the growing mental wellness needs of today’s spagoers.

Enhanced stress management

As part of a renewed focus on mental health and wellness, today’s spa-goers are increasingly seeking ways by which to better manage the stress they experience on a day-to-day basis throughout their lives. And, although spas are naturally designed and developed to help with the relief of stress, and don’t necessarily need to make any tweaks or adjustments in order to address this concern, many are redoubling their focus on the need to find peace and tranquility while in the spa environment. As a result, a number of spas in provinces across the country enforce strict “quiet” or “no talking”

policies, leverage sensorial elements like soft gentle sounds and running water to invoke mindfulness, and include other stress relief aids to help visitors find a sense of serenity, away from the bustle and grind of their regular routines.

Evolving focus on food

In addition to a focus on physical and mental health and well-being through mindfulness, physical treatments, and other services, it’s anticipated that more and more spas will begin placing a greater emphasis on the relationship between wellness and food. By extending their services to include an array of different educational-based offerings that explore the benefits of a proper diet, the importance of proper nutrition, and critical role played by immune-boosting habits, spas can broaden their focus and appeal.

Relaxation and sleep

One of the many adverse effects of stress and anxiety today is lack of relaxation and sleep, which many suffer from. And, because spas are known to be facilities and establishments that facilitate peace and serenity, it’s an area of need that many spas are including within their offering, providing services that cater to deep relaxation and sleep via vibration therapy loungers and other similar pieces of technological equipment. Some are even offering “sleep retreats” that are meant to rid guests of their troubles and challenges around sleeping.

The year ahead

It’s clear sifting through this list of trends, and other similar lists, that the focus and objective of the spa industry very much remains the same—to help guests experience the results they’re looking for from their visit to the spa. It may just be the means by which operators within the industry are attempting to achieve their objectives. So, whatever your approach, or the tactics you and your team employ, in order to enhance your services, by keeping the needs of the visitor at the centre of what you do, you’re staying on top of the most important trend of all: satisfying your guests.

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SEXUAL HEALTH

& well-being

Is this an opportunity for the spa industry?

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SSexual well-being is when we are content—emotionally, physically, and cognitively—with our sexuality and our sexual decisions.
— Dr. Carolin Klein, registered psychologist

pas are increasingly focusing on physical well-being and mental health. But what about sexual well-being? For most spas, this seems to be a no-go zone.

Are spas missing a vital link to overall health and well-being and an opportunity to better serve their clients?

Zion Market Research recently published a study that estimated the global sexual wellness market at USD $57.5 billion. It forecast it to grow to more than USD $110 billion by 2030 and grow at an annual rate of 8.49% throughout the period. This is a huge revenue opportunity for spas to capture.

The study attributes this global growth to a combination of factors: a more positive acceptance of sex, increasing sexual awareness, government programs promoting sexual education at the school level, a larger population, increasing investments in sexual products, and relaxed laws around selling sexual toys.

Defining sexual health and wellbeing

What does sexual health and sexual wellness mean? Is it the same? Simply put, no.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines sexual health as “a state of physical, emotional, mental, and social well-being related to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction, or infirmity.” WHO adds, “Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination, and violence. For sexual health to be attained and maintained, the sexual rights of all persons must be respected, protected, and fulfilled.”

WHO added sexual pleasure to the mix in 2022 when designing sexual health programmes. “Sexual health education services have traditionally promoted safer sex practices by focusing on risk reduction and preventing disease, without acknowledging how safer sex can also promote intimacy, pleasure, consent, and well-being,” said WHO’s Dr. Lianne Gonsalves.

The American Sexual Health Association (ASHA) follows a similar tone to WHO’s definition and adds, “Sexual health is the ability to embrace and enjoy our sexuality throughout our lives. It is an important part of our physical and emotional health.”

Sexual well-being on the other hand, is just one aspect of sexual health.

“Sexual well-being, is when we are content—emotionally, physically, and cognitively—with our sexuality and our sexual decisions,” says Dr. Carolin Klein, registered psychologist and director of the West Coast Centre for Sex Therapy in Vancouver.

“If we are enjoying what we are doing in the moment, and then look back on our choices with positive emotions, then that’s a great indicator of sexual wellbeing,” she says. “On the other hand, negative emotions tied to our sexuality and sexual experiences—anxiety, shame,

L-R Intimate Wellbeing owners Cassandra Redding and Leah Fischer
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The global sexual wellness market is estimated at USD $57.5 billion. It is forecast to grow to more than USD $110 billion by 2030 and grow at an annual rate of 8.49% throughout the period.

sadness, guilt, disgust, anger, and aversion—this is a clear sign we are not experiencing well-being.”

Societal, cultural, and religious attitudes toward sex have made communicating about many aspects of sexual health difficult for some. It has hindered our approach to open, positive, and non-judgmental sexual health discussions.

Where do spas fit in with sexual wellness?

Do spas have a role in sexual wellness? Absolutely, according to Dr. Klein.

In a webinar entitled “Revolutionizing the Spa Experience,” organized by the Leading Spas of Canada last June, Dr. Klein said, “We need to get to a place where spas, for example, do have lubes on their shelves, do have vaginal moisturizers, products for sexual wellness because it is sort of ironic that spas have all of these fantastic products for skincare—for the face, for the hands and feet— and yet are missing the parts of the body with the most nerve endings, the most potential for pleasure and real potential for great health benefits.”

Dr. Klein explains why it is important for spas to play a role in sexual wellness.

“I really hope spas will consider every part of our bodies when promoting health and that they will move toward speaking

openly to clients about the importance of sexual well-being as part of overall wellbeing,” she says. “Ignoring our genitals when focusing on good skincare and health, and ignoring the importance of sexual well-being to our overall wellbeing, means to continue to perpetuate inaccurate ideas that our sexuality is shameful, unimportant, and something to be ignored and suppressed.”

Delivering sexual wellness at the spa—Intimate Wellbeing

B.C.-based business Intimate Wellbeing, owned by two women, Leah Fischer and Cassandra Redding, is trying to break into the spa industry and offer a range of sexual wellness products and resources. They have launched an online sexual wellness boutique that features an assortment of sex toys, serums, oils, menstrual cups, Kegel exercises, and their own branded Okanagan Joy lubricant. Intimate Wellbeing would arrange to place their Okanagan Joy on a spa’s retail shelves.

More importantly, they want to be supportive of spas featuring their products with assistance in marketing their offerings through co-op marketing campaigns and social media, and participating in industry events.

Due to the sexual nature of the products, Intimate Wellbeing feels it is important for spa staff to receive specialized training and workshops so they are comfortable talking about the products and discussing sexual wellness with their clients.

Intimate Wellbeing is more than just an online sexual wellness boutique. It organizes and conducts a series of seminars throughout the year with sexual health and wellness experts, including gynaecologists, sex therapists, registered psychotherapists, pelvic floor specialists, and other healthcare professionals. Seminars have included topics on sexual

feature SpaInc.ca 17

pain, menopause, hormonal changes, masturbation, loss of libido, incontinence, and wellness practices.

It has been challenging for the owners of Intimate Wellbeing to convince spas to hop on board the sexual wellness train. Many have declined their services and products, fearful—whether real or imagined—of negative client feedback. Local and cultural mores and the type of clientele spas receive will vary depending on their location. In larger urban centres there may be less resistance to featuring sexual wellness products.

Ten Spa embraces sexual wellness

Elena Zinchenko, spa director of award-winning Winnipeg-based Ten Spa, firmly believes in Intimate Wellbeing products and for the spa industry to promote wellness in all aspects, including sexual wellness.

Ten Spa’s retail area and online store features the Okanagan Joy lubricant by Intimate Wellbeing and loves the fact that it is high quality and has no parabens, no mineral oils, no endocrine disruptors, no synthetic fragrance, and no colour, and that it’s condom safe, eco-friendly, and naturally preserved. They will be adding more products and bundles in the coming year.

“All our clients love the product, and the reaction has been great,” says Zinchenko. Suffering from the effects of menopause over the course of the last five years, Zinchenko can speak from experience concerning the importance of getting spas more involved in sexual health and wellness.

arousal and orgasm lead to significant changes in the body, including releasing endorphins and natural opioids, that can result in pain relief for various conditions like migraine headaches, menstrual cramps, and chronic pain.”

It is also known to improve sleep, and research is currently being conducted on its effect on inflammatory diseases and mental health concerns like depression.

For Halifax-based sexologist and sex/intimacy coach Serena Haines, the benefits aren’t just physiological. Sexual well-being also means, “Being authentic and accepting of your right to pleasure and that you have agency over that pleasure.”

“Women in their 50s are main spa-goers and they take advantage of all advanced treatments and services. And they appreciate quality,” she says.

Not limiting herself to simply selling wellness products, she plans to do a workshop and possibly a three-day couples retreat at the Fort Garry Hotel (where Ten Spa is located) partnering with Intimate Wellbeing. Educational sessions, spa services, and unique activities like “blind yoga” for couples to discover a new level of relationship building in an intimate setting will be offered.

Sexual health and well-being benefits

Why should we care about sexual health and well-being? How is it interconnected to physical and mental wellbeing? Funding for such studies has been limited but is now increasing.

Dr. Klein explains that studies have shown, “Sexual

Dr. Klein and Haines, who have both counselled and coached many men, women, and couples, believe the medical community needs more training concerning talking with patients about sexual health and wellness and how important it is to their overall health.

The road to embracing sexual wellness in spas is paved with stigma, cultural and religious mores, myths, and many other barriers.

But these barriers will hopefully get

Spas have an ideal opportunity to be a safe, nonjudgmental space and resource for products, information, and services (e.g., workshops/seminars) for physical, mental, and sexual wellness.

As Haines points out, “Sex and sexuality is what we are made of, it’s our life energy, and we all deserve to feel that energy, shame-free, and full of love.”

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Entering the DATA-DRIVEN FUTURE

Mountains of information, its careful curation, and the creation of datasets could lead to revolutionary results for spa operators

Every spa owner wants to gain a deeper understanding of their customers, possess a keener sense for the trends and future forcing functions that will impact the industry, and enhance the experience they offer customers. Each of these goals on their own present significant challenges and obstacles to overcome in order to achieve them. The task in realizing these goals simultaneously might seem impossible. And it likely is, today. However, with the continued development of advanced technologies and resulting innovation concerning the combined use of data and machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI) models present a range of benefits to spa operators going forward.

Deeper understanding

One of the most compelling uses and potential benefits offered by data is the easy means by which it provides its beholders to gain a deep and comprehensive understanding of their customers that cannot be enabled by any other means. It provides insights that allow a peek inside customer behaviours and attitudes, revealing

in the know 20 Spa Inc. | Winter 2023-24
in the know

tendencies and patterns that can allow spa owners and operators to remain a step ahead of their customers’ desires and deliver the treatments, services, and experiences that will engender their trust and loyalty.

Curated future

It’s not just data, however, that enables this incredible power to gain a deeper understanding of your customer. The data is important, and can be gleaned from a number of different sources, including point-of-sale transactions, marketing surveys and initiatives, activity on e-commerce platforms, and more. But what really gives the data the power it needs to fuel AI models and software, providing it with its predictive qualities, is its level of curation. Essentially, the cleaner and more organized data is—segmented into like datasets—the more powerful, and thereby useful, the data will be.

Predictive capabilities

Once data has been curated and organized into datasets, it can then be segmented and leveraged to find analogous examples of opportunities that exist within your operation to capitalize on trends, market shifts, and consumer sentiment. This predictive quality and characteristic inherent within the use of data-informed AI models represents the real potential around data. And, it seems as though we’re currently right on the tipping point of its widespread adoption and use within industries all over the world, making it of critical importance for business owners and operators to begin understanding its nuances and capabilities today to prepare taking advantage of everything it offers tomorrow.

The power of education

Another incredibly beneficial use for data and the AI models that it

fuels is the potential that it presents in the way of education. If leveraged properly, using curated data as recommended, data has the power to inform staff, consistently educating them concerning the latest products, treatments, services, and techniques available, as well as those that are most commonly being administered to customers, and the reasons why. As a direct result of staff education, AI also helps support positive customer interactions. Staff can leverage the technology, in combination with their own knowledge, to make powerful recommendations to the customer based on their needs and the types of results that they’re looking for, elevating the experiences they receive tenfold.

The future is intelligent

The clever use and intelligent curation of data, in combination with machine learning, can also be used to inform highly advanced AI models or systems that can help spa owners and operators optimize their operations in a number of different ways, including the enhancement of their purchasing strategies, increased control and management of their inventory, improved marketing efforts, the provision of a more seamless and intuitive omnichannel experience for their customers, and more. Generally speaking, it can enable businesses to improve the speed and accuracy of decision-making while reducing operational costs along the way.

As we look ahead into the future, the use of data, in conjunction with trained AI models, doesn’t seem to be too far away on the horizon, nor does the enormous potential that the combination poses with respect to changes it might influence concerning the way spa businesses operate and the ways in which they provide treatments and services to customers. And, as we move closer to that precipice, the closer the industry gets to creating truly personalized experiences for guests.

One of the most compelling uses and potential benefits offered by data is the easy means by which it provides its beholders to gain a deep and comprehensive understanding of their customers that cannot be enabled by any other means. SpaInc.ca 21

INTRODUCING

THE WINNERS

Congratulations, and thank you for exemplifying the best of Canada’s spa and wellness industry.

TOP 25 SPAS IN CANADA

Ancient Cedars Spa

BALNEA spa + réserve thermale

Boathouse Spa

Bota Bota, spa-sur-l’eau

Burning Springs Spa & Thermal Pools

Dol-ás Spa

Fairmont Spa Banff Springs

Grail Springs Retreat for Wellbeing

Guerlain Spa at Four Seasons Montreal

Hammam Spa by Céla

iwa Spa

Kananaskis Nordic Spa

Pacific Mist Spa at the Kingfisher Oceanside Resort & Spa

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Scandinave Spa Blue Mountain

Spa in the Woods Timmins

Spa myBlend at The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto

Ste. Anne’s Spa

Strøm Spa Nordique du Vieux-Québec

The Elora Mill Spa

The Grotto Spa at Tigh-Na-Mara

The Spa at Langdon Hall

The Spa at Nita Lake Lodge

Thermëa, by Nordik Spa-Nature

Willow Stream Spa at the Empress

Willow Stream Spa at the Fairmont Pacific Rim

TOP DESTINATION SPA

Ste. Anne’s Spa

TOP NEW SPA

Thermëa spa village

TOP DAY SPA

Nordik Spa-Nature in Chelsea

TOP MEDI-SPA

Victoria Park Medispa

TOP HYDRO SPA

Eclipse Nordic Hot Springs

Scandinave Spa Blue Mountain

TOP HOTEL SPA

The Spa at The St. Regis Toronto

EDUCATION AWARD

DermaSpark Products Inc.

TOP SPA PARTNER

Esthetics Plus

CONSUMER’S CHOICE AWARD

Skinprovement Medi Spa & Laser Clinic

PILLAR OF THE COMMUNITY AWARD

Spa 901

TOP INNOVATIVE SPA PRODUCT

AquaIMUNITA Cell Reboost Lotion Aquafolia

TOP INNOVATIVE SPA TREATMENT

Whispers of Ouessant

Guerlain Spa at Four Seasons Montreal

HONOURABLE MENTIONS

Monastery Spa & Medispa Nature Folk

THANK YOU TO OUR ESTEEMED JUDGING PANEL

Chris Ryall

Irina Yushvaeva

Marion Le Gall

Sean Tarry

Vivienne O’Keeffe

Wanda Love

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS

PLATINUM GOLD SILVER

“A well-informed team can provide valuable recommendations and advice, helping clients make informed decisions about their treatment plan and skincare products.”

THE Perfect FIT

In the spa industry, hiring the right employee always benefits owners

24 Spa Inc. | Winter 2023-24
spa business

spa business

For employers, hiring a qualified employee can be challenging. But hiring the right employee for the job can be even more challenging. The spa industry is no different.

As with any industry professionals, potential spa employees must know their stuff. According to Grace Burzese, founder of Beauty Incubator Recruitment, knowledgeable employees are essential for a successful spa business.

“They contribute to the overall client experience, ensuring clients receive exemplary service and expertise,” she says. “A well-informed team can provide valuable recommendations and advice, helping clients make informed decisions about their treatment plan and skincare products.”

In addition to knowledge, potential hires need to be eager and enthusiastic about working at your spa.

“[These employees] create a positive and welcoming atmosphere that keeps clients coming back for more,” she says. “Having a team that is passionate about

the industry also leads to continuous improvement and innovation within the spa.”

But while knowledge and enthusiasm are great traits that any employer wants in their potential employees, “hiring for the right fit” is also important.

Skills and qualifications are mandatory, but spa owners obviously must also consider candidates that fit with the culture and values of the spa.

“A strong team dynamic contributes to a harmonious work environment, enhanced collaboration, and improved customer service,” Burzese explains.

Just how does the spa owner do this? One way is through recruiting firms such as Beauty Incubator.

“[We] can play a crucial role in connecting spas with top talent and ensuring they hire the right person for their operation,” says Burzese. “We’re able to leverage our extensive network of both passive and active industry professionals to formulate a short list of potential candidates that meet a client’s requirement.”

Beauty Incubator conducts rigorous screening processes to assess candidates’ skills, qualifications, and experience.

“We can present the spa with a curated selection of candidates who are a good fit for the role,” says Burzese. “We help streamline the hiring process to help spa owners save time and costs of keeping a vacant position open for too long.”

Employees are key

However, spa operators must remember that employment is a two-way street. Potential employees are also looking for something from their employer: the employment experience.

“Today’s potential spa employees are seeking more than just a job,” says Burzese. “They’re looking for an employment experience that offers ongoing professional development, but they also want to be valued and seen.”

In addition, those potential employees understand the importance of staying updated with the latest industry trends, techniques, and

SpaInc.ca 25

spa business

technologies to provide the best service to clients, she explains. “[They] welcome the opportunity to expand their skill set and attend workshops, conferences, and training programs to increase their knowledge.”

Recruiting issues

While knowledgeable, perfect-fit employees is the goal for spa operators, it’s currently posing challenges. The industry is facing recruitment issues. In an attempt to combat this, some spas are offering incentives to attract employees. According to the 2023 ISPA U.S. Spa Industry Study, 66% of spas have offered flexible work schedules, 61% have offered higher wages, and 38% have offered a signing-on bonus.

In addition, 58% have partnered with local schools, 42% are offering compensation for training and/or continuing education units, and 24% are offering an education reimbursement program.

Some spas, however, are being proactive in their outreach for potential candidates. According to the survey, 53% are attending job fairs, 45% are using recruitment and placement services, 28% are targeting the unemployed, and 20% are targeting retirement communities and retirees.

Employer tips

However, no matter how spa operators secure their new employees, it’s also important they consider that their new employees have a positive experience after they’ve accepted the job offer.

Burzese recommends that spa operators provide employees with a positive onboarding experience.

“[This] can set the tone for the employee’s entire tenure at the spa,” she says.

In addition, spa operators need to communicate job responsibilities and performance expectations clearly.

“This sets a foundation for success and helps the employee understand their role within the spa,” she says.

In addition, managers should check in regularly with employees to ensure all is going well. And, remember, employees want to feel valued, so recognize and appreciate their efforts. This could be through verbal praise, rewards, or acknowledgment during team meetings, says Burzese.

“When people feel as though they belong or are a part of something, they are more likely to be invested and therefore stay long term.”

The Right Stuff

For employers, there’s nothing worse than hiring the wrong person for the job. Grace Burzese provides her top five must-dos to find the perfectfit employee and ensure they have the right stuff.

Define culture and values: Develop a clear understanding of your spa work environment and the qualities that align with your mission and vision.

Write accurate job descriptions: Clearly outline the required skills and qualifications and desired personality traits and values you seek in candidates.

Conduct thorough interviews: Assess candidates’ skills, experience, and personality fit, and ask behavioural and situational questions.

Check references: Contact the candidate’s references to gain insights on their work ethic and attitude.

Consider probation: Offer a trial period (typically three months) to observe how the candidate performs and interacts with your team before making a long-term commitment.

26 Spa Inc. | Winter 2023-24

BUILDING TECH-ENABLED spa experiences

Driven by a facilitated digitization of the world around us, the spa industry is currently evolving with advanced technologies in order to remain relevant in the digital age

Anumber of things have changed over the course of the past three-and-a-half years or so, sparking an accelerated digitization of the world around us. As a result, advances in technology and its use within a range of different settings and environments are presenting spa operators everywhere with opportunities to enhance the services they provide and experiences that are enjoyed by their customers. In fact, according to Elena Zinchenko, director at Ten Spa in Winnipeg, the intelligent use of the right technologies will increasingly serve to grow the spa business and differentiate establishments from their competitors.

“Over the last number of years, technology has really become a driving force within the industry,” she asserts. “It’s being leveraged by most spas across the country and around the world in order to provide the highest quality service and results-oriented treatments. If you look at the spa operation, just about every aspect of it is enabled or supported by technology, from computer operational systems and reservation systems, to communications and payments. There are also the technologies and equipment that are being used to administer the treatments and services within a spa. And, looking forward, it seems, with the continued advancement of technologies, its use within the industry is only going to increase.”

The rise of wellness facilities

Zinchenko goes on to explain that she envisions the proliferation of a trend that’s currently taking off in California will soon find a place within the Canadian industry. It’s one that is enabled completely by technology, and supported by people.

“There’s going to be real growth among the spas that are calling themselves wellness facilities,” she says. “The use of technology in these facilities is really allowing for the broadening of the term spa, where guests experience more than the traditional spa services like manicures, facials, and massages. Today, in some parts of North America, there are these facilities where people are supporting the technology, enabling the equipment that administers the treatments. There aren’t any hands-on services applied at all, only knowledgeable therapists that provide consultation and setup. It’s a concept that’s really gaining momentum in California. And, I anticipate wellness facilities emerging in Canada soon.”

Be wary of gimmicks

She points out that there have been a number of different types of technologies used within a range of spa environments for many years, supporting a host of treatments and services, from facials to

of the spa 28 Spa Inc. | Winter 2023-24
science

manicures and pedicures. And, it seems to be only a matter of time before even more advanced technologies are deployed to further improve operations and enhance customer service and experience. However, she warns that not every new toy is worth the investment made by spa owners.

“Virtually every spa owner across the entire country is looking into the latest technologies and cutting-edge equipment that they think might be able to enhance their business and the quality of the treatments and services they offer customers,” she asserts. “But the problem is that the market is becoming saturated with innovations, and the industry is being bombarded with offers that are really, in the end, just gimmicks—and ineffective. It’s the reason it’s so incredibly important for spas to work closely with national associations like Health Canada in order to understand which suppliers are approved in the country as well as the products that have been approved for use.”

The spa of the future

It’s also important, Zinchenko adds, to understand how to properly train staff with respect to the use of new technologies, and to develop standard operating procedures and protocols related to the use of equipment. And, the importance of doing so seems to take on added significance when considering the rate at which technology is being

“Over the last number of years, technology has really become a driving force within the industry.”

developed and introduced to the market and relevant industries. The technology will increasingly be implemented into the operations of spas everywhere, she says, helping to create the spa of the future.

“What I see happening within the industry over the course of the next decade or so is the creation of the next generation of spas,” she explains. “Based around wellness, advanced technologies, and human expertise, I think a sort of hybrid spa is going to be developed and will go a long way toward setting the standard for the industry going forward. There will be very sophisticated pieces of equipment used to produce experiential types of treatments. And, it will all be assisted by expert therapists who are trained. For instance, we’re currently looking at bringing in loungers that have vibration therapy built into them. They can be used to help guests reach a much deeper state of relaxation, even sleep, than they ever could on their own. These types of services are going to become more commonplace, as people are increasingly looking for ways to boost their energy and performance levels. And, spas are constantly looking for ways to help their clients find the results they’re looking for.”

Customer-centric approach

Despite the technology or piece of equipment that’s invested in and implemented, however, Zinchenko stresses the need for spa owners and directors to do their homework in order to ensure they’re truly making an enhancement to their business. And, if they have any doubt, she has one piece of important advice to share.

“No matter what you’re doing, whether you’re installing new equipment or researching new software to make online bookings easier, or anything else, you have to think of your customer and the experience they receive when engaging with your brand. That should guide virtually every single decision you make for your business. Ask yourself, ‘Will this technology or piece of equipment improve the treatments or service provided to the customer or enhance the experience they receive?’ Your answer to this question should inform your decision-making every time, including the digitization of your spa. But it’s clear there are opportunities presented by technology. And, the right investments made by spa owners going forward could really differentiate the top establishments from the rest of the industry.”

science of the spa SpaInc.ca 29

NEW YORK BIOLOGY

Dead Sea Mud Mask

The latest in mineral-infused advancements is contained within New York Biology’s Dead Sea Mud Mask, as well as actual mud derived from the Dead Sea. This special formula unclogs pores and purifies skin, and is gentle enough to use on all complexion types, including acne-prone skin.

MAJESTIC PURE

Himalayan Scrub

Combining potent ingredients, including sweet almond oil, lychee berry oil, and other nutrients that nourish and rejuvenate the skin, Majestic Pure's Himalayan Scrub renews skin, detoxifying and rehydrating, and infusing essential antioxidants, as well as calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, and copper, to help balance pH levels.

THERABODY

SmartGoggles

One of the most innovative products on the market, SmartGoggles help to relieve stress and tension for wearers. Biometric sensors customize treatments. And, combined with vibrating, heating, and massage modes, results include reduced facial tension, headaches, and eye strain, and lowered heart rates.

OSEA

Vagus Nerve Oil

Osea’s Vagus Nerve Oil helps to promote well-being and peace of mind for users while relieving feelings and signs of stress. A soothing combination of essential oils calms, activating the body’s relaxation response, facilitating a natural form of rejuvenation and restoration that presents a range of benefits.

MIKO Foot Massager Machine

Soon to be one of the bestselling products on the market, Miko's Foot Massager Machine is just that, a machine that takes all the work out of a foot rub. Equipped with a range of different compressions and heat settings, users simply need to slip their feet in, sit back, and allow the machine to do the rest.

OPTP LO ROX

Aligned Life Mini Infinity Roll

Designed to help its user reach often difficult-to-access parts of the back, the Aligned Life Mini Infinity Roll allows for the massaging of achy and sore muscles. Firm enough to provide the right amount of pressure, the Aligned Life Mini Infinity Roll is soft as well, providing a gentle and non-abrasive application of pressure if needed.

fresh & new 30 Spa Inc. | Winter 2023-24

PAUSE WELL AGING

Fascia Stimulating Tool

Pause Well Aging’s Fascia Stimulating Tool helps penetrate moisturizer deep into the skin of the user, sparking the body’s collagen production for improved skin density and the appearance of smooth, tight skin, leaving complexion looking radiant and glowing.

HIGHERDOSE

Infrared Sauna Blanket

Offering many of the benefits of infrared heat therapy, the HigherDose Infrared Sauna Blanket helps to promote muscle recovery, deep relaxation, boosted circulation, recovery, and detoxification for its user. Easy to use, clean, and store, the Infrared Sauna Blanket offers the opportunity to elevate and enhance spa experiences.

SUSANNE KAUFMANN

Alkali Salts

Developed in order to provide a natural way by which to replenish pH levels and protect against dryness, Susanne Kaufmann’s Alkali Salts can be used as a balancing treatment for the whole body. Formulated with a blend of sea salt and whey, the salts gently cleanse and soothe irritated skin.

ALO YOGA

Magnesium Reset Spray

Dispensing 45 mg of magnesium in just three spritzes, the Alo Yoga Magnesium Reset Spray provides soothing aromatherapy and hydrating qualities that are second to none. Oils and vitamin C-rich amla combine for a restorative and refreshing spray that results in relaxation and comfort.

VANITY PLANET

Aira Ionic Facial Steamer

For use at home and within clinics, the Aira Ionic Facial Steamer by Vanity Planet helps to open pores in the face and neck area, hydrating skin and helping to cleanse it of impurities and toxins. In addition, its hydrating qualities also result in cleared sinuses and deeper breathing.

EMBRYOLISSE

Intense Moisturizing Mask

The Intense Moisturizing Mask by Embryolisse is a best-in-class gel mask that contains white nymphaea and hyaluronic acid, resulting in instantly moisturized and replenished skin. A beautiful soothing texture, comprising sea water and rich in sea minerals, smooths and plumps skin, restoring a natural glow.

fresh & new SpaInc.ca 31

IN THE BEST OF HANDS

spa star

Expert staff the key to Dol-ás Spa’s success

Anumber of changes have occurred over the course of the past few years, impacting just about everything around us. As a result, most industries and sectors have been affected, presenting challenges to overcome in order for many businesses to remain successful. However, none were challenged more so than those operating within hospitality, most specifically—the spa industry. Social distancing protocols and other similar rules severely limited and, in most cases, completely debilitated any spa establishment’s ability to provide the services that they’re known for. When restrictions were lifted, a period of hesitancy on the part of the consumer followed as they collectively refrained from venturing back out into public spaces. However, as we have now well and truly moved beyond the worst of the impacts posed by COVID-19 and into a post-pandemic world, many spa operators across the country are actively working to ensure the experiences they offer are second to none.

For Joann Patriquin, spa director of Dol-ás Spa at Fox Harb’r Resort, those experiences are rooted in the abilities and execution of her talented staff. Spa Inc. recently sat down with Patriquin to learn more about her staff-centric approach, the benefits the customer receives as a result, and some of the factors and challenges impacting the success of spa establishments across the country.

Spa Inc.: Achieving success within today’s hypercompetitive market is a challenging and complex task. In your estimation, what are the most important factors related to running a successful spa operation today?

Joann Patriquin: A successful spa operation is all about your team and their expertise. Our professional therapists are an integral part of the Fox Harb’r Resort experience. They are immensely skilled and committed to offering the best treatments to our valued guests. Our therapists deliver a five-star luxury service. To ensure consistency, we train every season. Even if a therapist has been with us for 10 years, we train again at the start of every season. A luxury spa can have lovely products and strict protocols, but without a talented team delivering at

the highest levels, it will not succeed. People often say guests first, but I believe it’s therapists first. Because our team is the most important aspect of our success, I put them at the very top. They each work with me to make decisions and help ensure our guests receive the ultimate elevated experience from the moment they step into our world. We employ only licensed skincare specialists and registered therapists. They are highly qualified and well educated in their fields. This gives guests the confidence to know they are in the best of hands.

SI: The industry has been faced with a number of hurdles to overcome over the course of the past few years. What do you think are the biggest obstacles currently facing spa operators?

JP: For us, our biggest challenge is the fact that we’re in a rural community and we operate seasonally. That means we have to get creative with staffing. Across the industry, recruitment and retention is a challenge. This is true for most roles in hospitality. Turnover is very expensive, particularly for the spa business. For our part, we combat this by promoting a healthy workplace balance and by creating an environment that therapists seek out to build their careers. And, our team members also enjoy competitive wages, educational opportunities to assist with licensing, discounts, and more.

SI: Catering to the needs of the guest is obviously of paramount importance within the spa industry. However, as markets and economic factors change, so, too, do consumer tastes and preferences. With this in mind, what is today’s spa-goer seeking from their visit?

JP: Dol-ás means ‘escape’ in Scottish Gaelic, and that’s exactly what today’s discerning spa-goers are looking for: a personalized luxury experience to take them away from the everyday stresses that impact their bodies. Spas are continually moving into the wellness space, supporting mental health through customized treatment offerings and specialized retreats. Our mental health is challenged on a daily basis and spa-goers are seeking out holistic support. What a spa does best is help guests relax and recharge. An effective spa gives guests a much-needed mental health break. The boost you can get from a 60-minute treatment is amazing. Guests leave feeling recharged and rejuvenated.

SI: Looking ahead to the next one to three years, what do you anticipate will be the biggest differentiator between top-class spas and the rest of the industry?

JP: I believe for a top-class spa to ensure success, it must be responsive to the ever-changing guest demographic. It’s more than just offering the latest trend treatment. Trends will come and go, but I believe that wellness is here to stay. A spa must embrace the wellness aspect and make certain it’s a core part of the overall offering. For us at Dol-ás Spa, we offer therapies and services that are preventive in nature, meaning we aren’t just trying to treat or maintain a condition. That might mean a specialized treatment to enhance golf mobility and avoid injury or a skincare solution that promotes new and healthy cell reproduction. We want to be a part of the preventative option. We see real value there beyond just offering the basics.

32 Spa Inc. | Winter 2023-24
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