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Tourism and wellness in the spotlight

Updated: May 27, 2020

Wellness and tourism from the perspective of hotel spas was one of the topics discussed in the South Africa session of Professional Beauty’s free online World Spa & Wellness Conference held on 14 March.

Said newly appointed World Wellness Weekend ambassador, Taryn Lilley, who is also spa manager at Cape Grace: “COVID-19 has left the tourist and hotel industry severely bruised and we cannot afford to follow the existing model of operation. Hotels and their spas need to adapt to survival strategies. At this stage nobody really knows what to expect, so businesses need to keep pivoting. Everything that we know about the hospitality industry is going to change.

“The Minister of Tourism believes that domestic tourism will only restart in December this year, with international tourism to follow next year. The silver lining of the current crisis is that people will travel eventually. Another positive thing to take into account is that travelers are postponing their trips rather than cancelling them.”

She noted that a lot of hotels in Cape Town are currently limiting guests to 30% of total occupancy to comply with government’s social distancing regulations. “In terms of couples’ treatments in spas and social distancing, spas could use their empty hotel rooms for these treatments to limit the number of guests in spas at any given time.

“Hotels are also looking at creating specific time schedules for when people can eat, or lounge next to the pool. or use the spa, thus creating unique spaces for them. Going forward with all these changes and staff walking around in masks, it will seem scary for guests. So we need to add value to their experiences and be abundantly generous in what we give them. I believe hotels need a good ‘welcome back’ gift for their guests. There is a lot that we can do domestically on this front by supporting local businesses and sustainability. We really need to uplift the country.”

Lilley is looking at two areas – staff wellbeing and guest wellbeing. “We’ve heard a lot about taking temperature readings as a way of screening both guests and staff before they enter the spa and UV technology to disinfect touch points. It’s all about providing a safe working environment for your team and taking the time to implement full training for post lockdown safety, hygiene and sanitation protocols. Introducing new protocols is like opening a new business. The training that spas need to provide for staff extends beyond safety protocols, as spas are now looking at conducting virtual consultations with guests and not all therapists are tech savvy.”

She points out that even when government allows spas to open up again in South Africa, it won’t mean that the virus will be gone. Hence the need for a detailed employee wellness programme, which could include life coaching for your teams and embracing the 5 Pillars of Wellness, namely Sleep & Restoration; Nutrition & Nourishment; Vitality & Movement; Serenity & Mindfulness; and Purpose & Solidarity.

“What COVID-19 has done is to give people time to think and to prioritise on wellness. As a way of incorporating wellness into the spa offering, you could be revamp your treatment menu; hold workshops on – for example – how to make immune booster cocktails or healthy culinary dishes. You could focus on breath work and offer oxygen treatments. To access a wealth of information on this topic look at the World Wellness Weekend Website,” concludes Lilley. Click here

The South Africa session of Professional Beauty’s free online World Spa & Wellness Conference was moderated by Phil Woods, commercial director of T.E. Trade Events. Joining Lilley on the panel were Tanya Lopes (spa manager at The Saxon), Debbie Merdjan (CEO – Camelot Spa Group); and John Lambrou (Managing Partner, Life Day Spa Century City & Waterfront).

To view this webinar click here.

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