This week we had the pleasant experience of talking with César Tejedor, bestseller author in books about Spa, traditional medicines and massage, and who has served as director of Massage Around the World, a consulting and training company in the field of wellness, dedicated to disseminating the importance of traditional massage and healing techniques being accessible to all types of users in the world. In addition, he is ambassador of the Global Wellness Day initiative and the Global Mentorship Program.
Given his extensive experience as a consultant, we wanted to deepen with him about the importance of being in continuous training process for all therapists. In addition we talked about the spa and the costs that this represents for every investor. So, if your desire is to have a successful career in the wellness sector, this interview can be quite interesting.
What should I invest in when I invest in a Spa?
While any investment is always directly proportional to the possibilities that the entrepreneur has (according to economy, training, experience or location factors, among others), we must develop criteria and a clear spa concept that has to be interesting enough and always trying not to lose sight of which elements have greater importance, will generate brand strength and bring economic growth benefits.
In this way, all the costs that we contract are related since the ideal is that the basic measure for investing is always the quality of the service, which in the long run "represents the greatest cost, because without quality services the customer experience can be terrible and make a spa, with a large investment in design and product, fail. And failure represents a huge cost to the business."
In this scenario, there is another factor that is usually difficult to perceive. Differentiate and diversify the investment also involves incurring expenses in elements that are generally intangible, since "they are linked to aspects such as the training of employees, the philosophy of the brand and the corporate spirit". Precisely, elements that will give strength to our spa brand and bring the recognition of the sector, and above all, of the client. Our interviewee goes deep, telling us that many spas "spend millions on facilities, appliances and products, and yet they skimp on the process of concept design, philosophy and training, thus losing the most important and influential power in the spa experience".
Therefore, we can see that this is a problem that can even affect large companies if it is not clear where we should aim all our efforts and economic resources. That is why our north must always be the customer's satisfaction, who is finally the one who consumes our products and services and who takes the experience of our work home.
In a spa training is everything.
Taking into account all of the above, the best way we have to develop this quality criteria is training. Not only as a mean that provides knowledge and technical updating, but also which contributes to obtain a comprehensive vision of what is needed to achieve greater and better profitability.
The interviewee states that "in a spa training is everything" because his experience has led him to see "very humble spas placed among the best in the world, for the simple fact of offering a rewarding service and memorable experience for the user", that has been achieved through a constant process of training in massage techniques, protocols, services and client management. On the contrary, he has also witnessed "spectacular spas sink through a lack of direction, protocolization, vision and philosophy" because they have left aside the fact that a spa team must be always trained and motivated.
The challenge is the client.
Is it possible to offer a transcendental experience, in a superficial world?
In a sector like wellness, which evolves rapidly and whose consumers are hardly impressionable, since information technology allows them to be up to date and aware of their own needs - be it food, relaxation, entertainment or any other field - the entrepreneur or a spa manager should always be at the forefront or unfortunately the competition and bad management decisions will be relentless.
On this, César says: "we are used to seeing impressive designs in buildings, offices, museums, homes, spas… To see great luxury cosmetics in shopping centers, airports, supermarkets, beauty centers... This has made that almost nothing impresses us anymore. Every day we consume and expose ourselves to thousands of products, seen on TV, on the phone, in a shop window, in the image of an athlete... We are so exposed to the continuous bombardment of products that, for something to catch our attention, it must be really amazing or striking..." But not all of this is necessarily negative, here there is a huge business opportunity that is waiting to be taken: to generate really satisfying experiences in such a vitiated and stressful environment.
César asks us "How many experiences do we consume per day? Very few, and some days, none". Therefore, it is important to recognize that the client is desiring a moment in which all that chaos that surrounds him is extinguished and can be given a respite, a different experience. In our opinion, the space that can offer this - and much more - is the Spa.
Therefore, we return to the formative subject. Our interviewee highlights the importance of a good training in a spa and a strong and clear concept, which have the possibility of "making the client immersed in a life experience, which goes beyond designs or products... one that will transform a pair of bamboo canes and a cosmetic made in front of the client, with papaya and coconut, into the best designs and cosmetics in the world".
Our mission as trainers, consultants and specialists in the sector must be to shore up all our efforts towards raising awareness about this type of wrong decisions, as they deteriorate the ability of our employees to generate meaningful experiences. In fact, in a world that increasingly points to the virtual and technology, what can we offer if not greater human growth for our professionals in the sector?
Know your spa before training the therapists.
Taking into account his years as director of Massage Around the World, we take the opportunity to ask our interviewee what kind of techniques and courses can be offered to spa workers to achieve the objectives outlined above and that can also arouse their professional interest.
César argues that there are several parameters to take into account when choosing a training or specialization. "The first is geographic location. The training that my clients ask for in Hong Kong, in the Middle East, in South America, Spain or the USA, is totally different. Not only in the content matter, but also in the forms, for a strictly cultural theme. On the other hand, the training also responds to the trends of the sector. There are clients whose objectives are to refresh and polish the great classics of the spa, such as the Swedish Massage, the Balinese, the Traditional Thai or the Ayurvedic Abhyanga... And others who ask for innovation, and every year want to introduce new techniques" Therefore the training process cannot be taken lightly, because previously we have to determine our location and then what industry trends are within our possibilities.
Furthermore, after 20 years in the sector, the interviewee states that the formula of success consists of three essential processes. The first one is to analyze what resources we have available to offer, that is, be aware of our product, its limitations and its potential. The second is to define what is missing, which are our needs, a stage that must be seen with total sincerity and openness to change. Being the third the resolution of problems based on resources and needs, where it recommends investing in staff training, something that will result in the short and medium term in a remarkable improvement of the service.
Some training trends in the sector
If you are interested in training, or in the training of your employees on the field of massage technique, we can say that during the last three years the tendency has been to learn Oriental techniques. For César, the most demanded courses have been "Kunye Tibetan Massage", "Tibetan Bowl Massage" and the traditional "Traditional Thai Massage". Important to keep in mind if you want to venture into the sector or polish those aspects that you have in lack.
On the most managerial field, he tells us that "recently we have included a new 5-day course on 'Integrative Diagnosis and Massage', which for the moment is becoming one of our most successful courses" because it points directly to this prevailing need to offer a better service.