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International Resort and Spa Management Report

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Updated: May 28th, 2020


The major revenues that spas receive come from goods and services combined, having the ratio between the two of them varying noticeably. The industry average for the sales of products is considered to stand at about fifteen percent of the overall revenue received by spas (Cohen & Bodeker 2008).

Some of the spas are found to report less than ten percent of the total revenue while others report high figures that go to even sixty five percent. Recently, there has been an increase in the product sales and at the present; it is regarded as being a significant portion of the spa revenue.

A larger share of sales originates from the cosmetic as well as topical products instead of foods or clothing or homeware (Yablonski & Mancuso 2007). The trends that have come up recently within the cosmetic industry indicate higher demand for the products that are based on “natural, organic and fairly traded ingredients and those which take into account global environmental issues” (Cohen & Bodeker 2008, p. 222).

Demand for completely natural commodities has brought in some industry issues regarding such products’ safety and how the regulation for the production as well as marketing of these products is carried out (SCCNFP, 1999). Considering spas, the trend in these for creating of signature commodities is debated on a regular basis.

There are a large number of varied views on this subject (DTI 2005). In this paper, it is going to be found out that when choosing products for the spas, it is quite vital to identify individual requirements of the spa and work out the benefits of the private label products against the established brands.

Spa Product Design

A larger number of products that are sold and utilized in spas “come under the trade marking classification of cosmetics”(Trade Mark Classification 2008, p.1). There are several similarities between the cosmetic products which are classified as either “retail or spa” (Schueller & Romanowski 2008).

The ones classified as ‘retail’ are mostly sold via department stores, while the distribution of those classified as ‘spa’ is carried out via spas, with not all of these products “sold to the end user but simply used by therapists in treatments” (Cohen & Bodeker 2008, p.222).

The common characteristics that exist between these two classes of products, with the selling of both of them currently being carried out in either marketplace, are now becoming more and more noticeable. But on the other hand, the major difference is found in the product’s efficiency as well as its compatibility when utilized in a treatment to facilitate delivery of gains to a customer (Spa Source the Essential Guide to Spa Development, 2007).

A spa is supposed to have various products in order to help in the carrying out of all the treatments that are put down in the menu. While the industry has realized growth, the range of body and facial treatments being offered has as well grown (Living with Your Sense of Smell 1992).

This implies that the products that are required can “range from a highly scientific acid-based facial peel, to botox, right through to a very simple salt and vegetable oil scrub” (Cohen & Bodeker 2008, p.222). The operators of spas undertake assessment on a continuous basis regarding which products they are supposed to be utilizing, and a large number of them have the fondness of considering production of a product line “under their own private label” (Cohen & Bodeker 2008, p.222).

The biggest advantage here is that the signature products provide a spa with the capacity to give out something that is unique and a large number of those who operate spas are very dedicated to offer products which cannot be found in any other place (Coyle Hospitality Group and WTS International. 2009). Looking at it from a marketing viewpoint, this can be considered to be an asset.

However, the drawback here is that a knowledgeable “savvy spa goer” may not have confidence in the capability of the spa to produce excellent, valuable products and may have preference for engaging in buying a brand that is recognized internationally (Field et al. 2005) Before deciding to engage in the production of the private label commodities, the main issue that needs to be dealt with is in regard with the “the number of units and volume of product that is going to be used” (Cohen & Bodeker 2008, p.223).

It is very vital to have clarification about how many treatments are being undertaken, and the overall volume of the required professional product, together with the planned retail items number that are supposed to be sold per year. An assessment can be carried out on whether there is a possibility of producing the product in retail as well as in professional packaging, considering a product’s shelf life.

In case budgets as well as volumes take into account only a single kind of packaging, this implies that a decision is supposed to be made on the basis of whether or not this will cause the treatment cost to increase greatly, because high quality packaging can turn out to be very costly when its production is carried out on a small scale.

There are general criteria that can be utilized in carrying out an assessment before making selection of spa products or designing these products. First of all, one must understand the market place. It is very important to identify the clients being targeted by a spa and having full knowledge about this. For the brands that are established, it is in the same way imperative to have knowledge about what kind of spas that they are actually targeting.

A powerful “brand marketing story” is supposed to be emphasized in the entire spa and the product selection will play a major role in “indicating to a potential client both the quality and type of treatment they can expect” (Cohen & Bodeker 2008, p.223). For instance, in case a spa philosophy puts emphasis on the environmental issues, then a reflection of this should be given by product packaging and ingredients.

The cultural differences should also be put into consideration. They can play an important role in the selection of products and it is also still essential to have knowledge about the end users. For instance, the Asian cultures are in favor of “skin whitening” products but on the other hand, that can hardly ever be seen in the Western cultures.

In the present day, the indigenous products are commonly found on the menus and therefore this will call for having special ingredients to be utilized in the products. Because there is very little likelihood that these will be utilized internationally, it is vital to put into consideration how pertinent “the retail products are to the budget” (Cohen & Bodeker 2008, p.223).

Organic and natural product development segment of cosmetics industry is growing at a very fast rate in retail as well as spa stores (European Cosmetic Toiletry and Perfumery Association 2003). There is a general acceptance that the growth rate of this sector currently stands at about twenty percent per annum internationally (Organic Monitor 2013).

A large number of products are seen as being natural; but on the other hand classifying ‘natural’ is quite hard. Basing on the requirements put forward by the “Germany Federal Ministry of Health”, in Germany the manufacturing of natural cosmetics may only be undertaken from the natural ingredients, “with the exception of nature identical preservatives and emulsifiers based on natural substances” (Webber, 2007, p.11).

But on the other hand, it has been found out that there is no international recognition about what makes up either an organic or natural cosmetic (Cohen & Bodeker 2008). A large number of categorizations are emanating from the agricultural as well as food industries, which have more highly developed definitions of the terms ‘natural’ as well as ‘organic’.

The standards that are turning out to gain wider recognition in Europe, have been established by the private certifying organizations like Ecocert in France (Ecocert 2013), in the United Kingdom we have the ‘Soil Association’ (Soil Association 2013), in Italy we have AIAB (AIAB 2013) and in Germany there is BDHI (BDHI 2013). At the present, these organizations are operating jointly to facilitate creation of homogeneous criteria to offer certification for the organic as well as natural products.

Considering the case in the United States of America, certification is given by the USDA (USDA 2013) and in Australia; this comes from the “Australian Certified Organic” (ACO 2013). Every individual certifying organization has some variations in regard to what makes up natural ingredients, “what processes are allowed for ingredients to be termed ‘based on natural substances’ and when the product can be labelled as ‘organic’” (Cohen & Bodeker 2008, p.230).

The consumers are making demands to have more standardised form of labelling for the natural products. But on the other hand, the cosmetic companies which regard themselves are being natural or being organic have done this basing on the criteria of their own. Brands are supposed to have an understanding of their marketing perspectives and they should also know the regulatory guidelines.

Packaging is also an important issue to be considered. The “primary packaging is any+ receptacle that holds the product and secondary packaging is the other wrapping or cartons” (Cohen & Bodeker 2008, p.233). Packaging aesthetics serve a great purpose in the retail products’ success. However, packaging functionality can serve a great purpose in the convenience of utilization for the therapists in the course of treatments.

Within the “personal care market”, there is greater competition and it is needless for the consumers to encounter inconveniences in regard to poor packaging. Therefore, making a choice for the suitable packaging is a very significant move in the process of product development.

For the professional utilization, being in a position to undertake calculations regarding the amount of the product that is utilized per treatment is very vital. The pumps which provide metered doses are found to be the best means of carrying out regulation of product utilization. There can be use of spoons, though this needs to be followed by sterilization (Cohen & Bodeker 2008).

Moreover, it is also turning out to be more and more imperative to consider the environmental issues during the time packaging is being selected. Packaging may be biodegradable, recyclable or reusable. It is as well better to make selection of the packaging materials that are obtained from a source which is sustainable; for instance, the board which is used “for cartons which can be obtained from sustainable managed forests approved by the “Forest Stewardship Commission” (FSC 2013).

Obtaining the materials locally helps in limiting transportation. Moreover, buying via ethical companies that engage in endorsing environmental practices within the place of work makes “the process of finding eco-friendly packaging easier” (Cohen & Bodeker 2008, p.233).

Conclusion and Recommendations

In summary, when undertaking the selection of products for the spas, it is quite vital to identify individual requirements of the spa and carry out calculations of the benefits of the private label products against the established brands. Products that are to be produced are supposed to completely give a reflection of the brands philosophy and should be appropriate to end users.

All creators of products have the obligation of making sure that there is creation of safe products by abiding by the international and local industry guidelines. It is also imperative to point out that the products that are in a position to withstand the “test of time” in whichever market, are the products that offer benefits to the end user. The trends, especially in packaging, keep on changing; but on the other hand, excellent and effective products are in demand at all times.


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Schueller , R. & Romanowski , P. 2008, Beginning Cosmetic Chemistry. An Overview for Chemists, Formulators, Suppliers and other Interested in the Cosmetic Industry , 2nd Edition , Allured Publishing , Carol Stream.

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Webber , W 2007, “Is It Natural Or What?” , COSSMA , Vol.10 no.1, p.18.

Yablonski , J.I. & Mancuso , S.E. 2007, Preservative efficacy testing accelerating the process , Cosmetics and Toiletries Magazine, Vol. 122, no.10, pp. 51 – 62.

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