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Tue 26 Aug 2008 01:20 PM

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Putting secondary spend first

Leisure operators need to prioritise secondary spend revenue streams in order to maximise profitability.

The need for leisure operators to focus on boosting secondary spend has been highlighted by the region’s spa managers, who have admitted that they could be making more money from spa retail.

The issue arose at a roundtable debate organised by Leisure Manager, which brought together six of the UAE’s spa management experts.

The spa managers expressed their concerns that therapists were on the look out for higher salaries and willing to move jobs for as little as an extra AED 300 ($136).

This is despite commission structures offered to therapists for selling spa products to clients.

According to the spa managers, even though therapists could make the extra money that they are seeking to cope with rising costs of living in the emirate through spa retail, the vast majority are reluctant to do so.

This is down to shyness, a fear of upsetting the guest, concern over when is the right time to talk about products and the tendency to forget product details, according to the spa managers.

“Therapists are not natural sales people and they lack the motivation to so it,” said Nancee Ong-Wee, spa director at Shangri-La Hotel Qaryat Al Beri in Abu Dhabi.

While it is understandable that those focused on healing and one-to-one service would find sales a challenge, it’s an issue that spa managers need to address — for the benefit of the spa’s profits, the therapist’s back pocket and, even more importantly, the spa guest.

As director of spa services at Atlantis, The Palm Louise Bunting says, a spa is not offering 100% if it is not recommending products.

And it is the recommendation of products, as opposed to the selling of them, that therapists need to be trained in, adds Bunting.

For more interesting issues raised at the roundtable, see the September issue of Leisure Manager.

Louise Oakley is the editor of Leisure Manager.

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