Why it makes sense to hire a spa consultant: we can help you create and launch a successful spa brand from the ground up, or transform a struggling spa business into a flourishing one.

Chix Creative and Identity Hospitality have joined forces to form a powerful, game-changing spa consultancy collaboration. Together, we provide high-level, highly customized and concierge-style design, marketing and hospitality consulting services for the luxury spa and wellness sectors.

What does that mean for spa owners, operators or directors like yourself?

In a nutshell, we can help you create and launch a successful spa brand from the ground up, or transform struggling spa business into a flourishing one. We enable you to build and develop a successful spa business through detailed guidance, wherever you need the support.

Jim Croghan, our cohort and collaborator at Identity Hospitality, brings over 20 years of extensive hospitality experience in Spa and Wellness. Prior to his consulting career, Jim most recently served as ESPA International, Vice President of Operations and overseeing 80+ Hotels.

Jim also served as VP of Operations and Executive Director of Spa and Recreation for leading hotel brands including The Fairmont Grand Del Mar Resort, The Fashion Island Hotel, Pelican Hill Resort, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, The Balboa Bay Club and Resort, and Spa Nordstrom at South Coast Plaza. He led the impetus driving many properties to earning their Five-Star award and many other prestigious accolades.


Read our post on How to Ensure a Great Guest Experience from the Inside, co-written with Jim.


What is a spa consultant?

According to the Global Wellness Institute, spa consultants and spa management consultants are “paid professionals who specialize in helping companies to define and achieve their goals, whether financial or cultural.”

They also provide a wide array of services to real estate developers, hotel and resort owners and operators, and owners and operators of existing spas.  For spas in development, these services may include:

  • market analysis
  • financial feasibility and Pro Forma projections (a fancy way of saying “present your data in a standardized acceptable format and include all information required by proper accounting procedures”)
  • concept development and project planning
  • coordination with architects, designers, advertising firms, and in-house marketing, sales and development teams.

Top hospitality consulting firms also create or assist with the development of:

  • brand standards
  • spa marketing
  • standard operational procedures
  • staff recruitment
  • training and compensation
  • product and equipment selection and procurement for both new and existing spa, leisure and wellness businesses.
Spa & Wellness Consultants bring expertise to help with business planning, human resource practices and site development.

Image courtesy Global Spa & Wellness Consultants, Global Wellness Institute

It’s important to understand that spa management consultants have a huge variation in experience.  Consider hiring an experienced consultant from a reputable spa consulting firm that has first-hand hand operational experience and a detailed understanding of how to operate a successful business.

When a spa consultant thoroughly understands the specific needs of a project, it enables a good fit between a prospective consultant and a particular project. For example, a spa consultant with a therapy background may have a specialty in menu development and staff training, but may not be the ideal person to provide a feasibility study or a concept brief.

How do you know you need spa consulting services?

  1. People in your company lack the specific knowledge and skills required to make informed decisions and solve problems.
  2. Current and previous efforts to have not produced desired results or your definition of success.
  3. Your spa continues to face the same set of issues and/or challenges to growth and success, without gaining any ground.
  4. Your spa lacks the time or staff resources to dedicate to projects or challenges.
  5. An independent opinion is needed to either confirm a decision or to provide alternatives.

6 Major mistakes that spa owners and developers make before opening

  1. They don’t do adequate research and market feasibility to guide the development process and the financial commitment. What services are spa-goers excited to buy these days? What are the trends for the next 1-5 years? What are the biggest wastes of time and money when it comes to service and treatments? Spa and hospitality consultants will know all of this and give you the numbers to prove it.

  2. They assume that the architect or designer are fully capable and qualified to develop an operationally workable and market-appropriate spa design and business model. There are a lot of supremely talented architects and designers with impressive projects in their portfolios, but what have they done in spa and wellness?

  3. They rely on a person who has familiarity with only a handful of spa facilities or concepts, and lacks sufficient knowledge from which to develop a spa on their own, without actual operational or development experience. When a company decides to build a new spa, or to renovate or optimize operations in an existing one, it is important to utilize expert development resources to ensure the best result. It’s far easier and ultimately faster to engage a spa consultant with the necessary experience, tools, and ability than to follow a shoestring approach which ultimately may jeopardize the success of the entire project through serious errors made in critical planning areas.

  4. Poorly thought out and unrealistic financial projections. An important part of the business planning process is preparing financial statements to get a more accurate view for how successful your business can be, and projections can also be a guide to help your business grow without running out of cash. Creating financial projections isn’t an easy task but is a very important part of developing a sound strategy. The financials tell you what goals to keep and what to cut.

  5. Hiring a spa consultant after initial plans have been developed and submitted to planning authorities. Without a doubt, there are some absolutely gorgeous spas that have been built. Ambiance is stunning. Fabrics are sumptuous. Unfortunately, due to design mistakes, operations become a nightmare and revenue potential is stifled. From the beginning of the project, someone needs to be involved who understands both the function of spa operations and its relationship to revenue generating spaces.

    Spa after spa, year after year the same mistakes continue to be made. Top examples include: flooring material is not correctly chosen for oil, wax or product spills; the slope of the floors isn’t sufficient in showers and wet treatment areas, and line of sight issues that can lead to privacy concerns.

  6. Hiring a spa consultant that does not disclose kickbacks from recommended equipment or products. We play fair. This means passing along vendor discounts to you instead of pocketing it ourselves (a common consulting practice) and not increasing equipment prices and keeping the difference. Shocked? We were too when we found out how common this is.

Additional pitfalls

Developing or renovating a spa can be creative, exciting, stressful and exhausting.  If you’re interested in saving time, money and stress then it’s best to minimize mistakes from the start. Here are some additional spa development mistakes that you should watch out for:

  • Lack of a plan
  • Unrealistic timeline
  • Lack of a concept
  • Not hiring experts for their specific expertise
  • Design mistakes
  • Unrealistic or improper financials
  • Insufficient capital and overspending
  • Insufficient marketing
  • Poor communication
  • Poor time management

5 Big reasons to hire a spa consultant

  1. Spa Consultants reduce costly design and purchasing mistakes because they’ve already done all the right research, feasibility studies and financial projections that will prevent these costly mistakes from happening.

  2. A hospitality management consultancy can streamline spa/wellness development with operations and management to create operational efficiencies. A consultant who’s got first-hand spa development and operational experience can keep everything running smoothly and efficiently from development through to operations and management.

  3. Consultants maximize their time through faster yet meticulous completion of tasks. They are just better at these tasks and can get them done faster with a thorough eye for detail.

  4. You’ll benefit from years of vendor relationships — spa consultants know who to choose and avoid. This goes beyond finding you the best prices for furniture, fixtures and equipment, though that’s one major benefit for sure. Jim, for example, seems to know everyone in the spa and hospitality world, and has over 1000 connections on LinkedIn. He’s worked with a lot of people after 20+ years in the business, and with the intention of full transparency, will always tell you who will be the best fit for you, your project or your business.
  5. Spa Consultants reduce development costs through utilizing experts in their fields. This is related to reason #4 and major mistakes #2 and #3. Nobody plans to make mistakes, and the best way to avoid them is to understand where things can go wrong, confront the issues, make the proper adjustments, and then plan for thing to go right. The right experts in their respective fields will always know how to avoid costly time, energy and material mistakes that can jeopardize the success of an entire project.

ROI and benefits of a consulting engagement: spa & wellness consulting services save clients time and money.
Image courtesy Global Spa & Wellness Consultants, Global Wellness Institute

Highly qualified and professional spa consultants such as Identity Hospitality provide expert guidance and advice on successfully managing spa operations, maximizing profits, and planning new spa development.

The expense of engaging the services of a spa consultant can be justified many times over by the superior nature of the results obtained and costly mistakes that are avoided. Spa consultants often deliver bottom line value that is ten-fold its cost.

If any of these reasons or mistakes sound familiar, connect with us for a complimentary 15-minute consultation.

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