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Interview with Rob Cass: 2012 Spa Trends and Opportunities


Robert Cass is the co-founder of Spaformation, a leading spa consulting and training advisor to the spa industry that offers over 40 years of combined experience. H
e will be a speaker at the Esthetique SPA International Conference in Las Vegas April 15 & 16, 2012.

Q: How did you get your start in the spa industry?

Starting at a very young age I was in the personal service industry. After spending 20 successful years in the hotel and resort business I was in a position to develop my first spa. More than 10,000 square feet and almost three years of development came together and I realized a new passion. Since then I have spent my time working with organizations and entrepreneurs helping them grow profitable spa businesses.

Q:What will the spa industries greatest challenges be in 2012?

The greatest challenges spas face in 2012 will be the pursuit of differentiation and profitability. After the past couple of years of a difficult economy we have seen some spas disappear and others barely hanging on. First, in order to survive and then thrive, it will be up to owners and managers to separate themselves from the competition. Creating a clear and definable difference that will attract new and loyal customers. Spa goers have too much choice so they do not have to settle for average or ordinary experiences. Secondly, delivering these services in a profitable way will be critical to establishing a long term success. This means focusing on the business of the business.

Q: Can you provide any advice to remedy these challenges?

In order to separate yourself from the rest you need to know what the competition is doing, decide what you do (or can do) best and then move forward. If you are looking to introduce something new try tests. Make sure your markets really want it, then go after it in a big way. I talk to owners every day about profitability and the biggest need is learning what that means. Understanding where you are profitable and what keeps you from being profitable. The biggest area of need is how to compensate staff where it is a win win environment. Where they rewarded for positive contributions to the bottom line and those who do not receive less. It sounds simple but owners must be intimate with their business numbers and then act upon the information.

Q: What are the most relevant trends you see impacting the spa industry in 2012? (intra-industry, socio-economic, cultural, etc.)

The trending I see in the spa industry comes focuses on three main areas. The X & Y generations are finding their place in the spa industry and it will be up to the industry on how to best engage them on their terms. This will mean creating marketing channels and delivery channels that meet their needs. I see specialization continuing to work it’s way throughout the industry as well as the concept of overall wellness becoming more prevalent. We are seeing everything, from nail, feet and facial specialists opening while other spas are introducing anything from medical procedures to spiritual and metaphysical services. This means spagoers can go to a focused specialist or go to more of a overall wellness services providers.

North America has still not completely embraced the concept of spas as a right not a privilege, as they do in Europe, but I do believe we are slowly inching forward.

Robert Cass

Spaformation, created and managed by principals Robert and Julie Cass, is a leading spa consulting and training advisor to the spa industry. By choosing Spaformation to address their needs, clients benefit from more than 40 years of successful hospitality management and development experience as well as an endless commitment and passion towards excellence.

Rob Cass has led award winning properties including multiple recipients of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Private Companies award. He was a founder, director and Vice President of Premier Spas of Ontario. As part of his ongoing dedication to wellness Rob has become a certified facilitator, yoga instructor as well as reiki and Thai yoga massage practitioner.

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