Ms. Jane Wang, Cluster Director – Spa & Fitness,
W Hong Kong / The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong,
shares her ideas on hotel spa management and operation
bliss® Spa is located on the 72th floor of W Hong Kong, extending over 14,500 square feet with 9 spa suites including 2 couple’s suites, providing panoramic views of Victoria Harbor and the skyline of West Kowloon, offering guests an unprecedentedly comfortable and exquisite spa experience. bliss® offers over 80 treatments covering body, face, nail and waxing, utilizing a wide range of advanced techniques, high quality ingredients and beauty equipment that suit both city locals and travelers.
The nail bar at bliss® Spa is a trendsetters’ go-to venue, equipped with an interesting design resembling a colorful rotating sushi bar. Our signature movie-while-you-mani station is not only trendsetters ‘go- to venue’ for nail treatments but also the very hot IG spot for beauty-lovers. Guests who join the Sparty will have extra free choices of delicious snacks and champagne as well.
Extensive heat and water facilities are also available, including a harbor view vitality pool, sauna, steam, experience showers and more to maximize the treatment results while taking away the stress from the hustle and bustle of city life. With the highest and breathtaking outdoor heated swimming pool and Jacuzzis in Hong Kong, bliss® creates the perfect heaven for self-indulgence and pampering. This hotel spa has not only won many awards and prizes, but also boasts excellent financial performance.
SpaChina interviews Ms. Jane Wang. Jane is currently the cluster director of Spa and Fitness, overseeing two Forbes-starred, award-winning flagship projects under Marriott with top financial performance –W Hong Kong and The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong. She is also a Spa advisory board member for Marriott International Asia Pacific, providing business and operational consulting services or pre-opening support to various projects under luxury brands such as The Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, W Hotels, etc. to help improve the overall financial performance and operational excellence of Spa, wellness and retail for Asia Pacific.
What do you think are the key factors for the success of a hotel spa?
Personally, I think there are three key factors:
Shift from the over-dependence on hotel guests’ business contribution to the proactive exploration of local guests. bliss® Spa has around 550-600 spa local members who contribute around 85% of the total revenue. Decent and steady volume of local guests provides a solid foundation for the overall Spa financial performance, as it helps minimize the negative influence if we have challenges in capturing in-house guests. Furthermore, by effectively managing our established Spa database from local guests or members, understanding their consumption behavior or patterns, analyzing their feedback and preference, we are able to develop more attractive programs and activities with the most effective approach.
Shift from the over-dependence on hotel brand influence to the active development of the spa personality by integrating hotel’s DNA into the overall spa and wellness experience. Hong Kong is one of the most competitive cities in the world with numerous luxury five-star hotels and countless new products, services and concepts introduced every single day. The powerful hotel brand with its historical reputation will bring us quality guests to try the Spa services at the beginning, it is however not a guarantee for their future return or loyalty. Our Spa needs “personality” and bringing hotel DNA into the traditional holistic experience has been my answer to bliss® spa W Hong Kong. W is known for its unique lifestyle experiences, with design, music, fashion and fuel as its passion points. bliss® Spa integrates these four core elements into its philosophy, and launches a wide range of spa/wellness parties including “What’s new/next”, “Fans Tribe”, “ Sound-Off Wellness”, “ DJ fuel up” etc, and award-winning treatments such as “W Signature Rhythm Massage”, “Pedi-Colada” and “Cocktail Slim” etc.
Integrating spa/wellness services into guest’s overall hotel experience and make wellness part of the hotel signature offerings. I always say, in the hotel, we offer “Whatever Spa/Wellness services whenever guests need”. In W Hong Kong, the rooms are equipped with the very trendy yoga mat with the most “in” design and material, together with Hollywood movie style wellness TV channels or magic mirror programs to give you the celebrity training experience. We have “shopper’s delight” spa exclusive packages for happy but exhausted guests after a trip at shopping paradise. We have a “Wellness Meeting” package that includes Spa-tea break, energy menu, and wellness accessories such as the oxygen bubble etc. It is the perfect solution for corporates looking for “business with pleasure” experience. Spa/wellness themed pool party is also the hot talk of the town.
What are the key strategies of bliss® spa to win so many local guests?
We have three main strategies: data analysis and management, experiential marketing, and value-added services.
Data analysis and management. We analyze and filter the data we receive from different channels through different cooperations, and gradually build up the active database specifically for Spa/Wellness active guests. At W Hong Kong, we call it “star programs”. We closely monitor and conduct regular detailed analysis about these star guests regarding their consumption frequency, habits, preferences and feedback, etc. to create solid and effective business strategies, design more popular services and programs, and maximize operation excellence. It is crucial that we make business and operation decisions based on database management instead of personal experience or preference to minimize the risk while maximizing the results.
Experiential marketing. We offer more than 80 treatments in the spa menu covering face, body, nail, waxing, and advanced machine treatments for body shaping and anti-ageing. In FIT, we offer more than 15 training programs, such as TRX, boxing, HIIT private training and magic mirror sessions, etc. Our spa/wellness programs are developed based on the latest technology, ingredients and industry trends. We renew our spa/fitness menus regularly and customize seasonal menus, wedding menus, and different themed exclusive menus as well. Our famous Spa/Wellness party collections include bespoke “Spa-ctacular Party”, W signature “Detox, Retox, Repeat” and cross-industry cooperation series “Spa like a celebrity” and “sound off wellness”. The diversity and the what’s new/next experience separate us from our competitors.
Value-added services. We operate a points accumulation system. Guests can earn points for their consumption at the spa or fitness center of W Hong Kong. The points can be used to exchange for guest rooms, F&B service, Spa and Wellness services at Marriott International Hotels worldwide. Some of the points earned through certain treatments can even be exchanged for flight mileage. We are expanding the list for the value-added services to give our guest more privileges.
The Spa/Wellness party of bliss® Spa is widely known. Could you tell us more about it?
Most people are under the impression that Spa party is equal to group spa treatments plus certain food and beverage elements. High quality treatments and F&B elements are indeed the foundation of a successful party, however, the “soul” of the party is about creating “emotional connections” through simple sweet things with our creativity.
At bliss® W Hong Kong, with “Social Spa” and “Chic Wellness” as its positioning, we launch a wide range of spa/wellness party collections. For example, “Spa-ctacular Party” collections are for bespoke experiences, signature “Detox, Retox, Repeat” collections are for W lifestyle experiences, with design, music, fashion and fuel as its main elements. “What’s new/next” collections are for cross-industry cooperation experience.
There are some very interesting cases I would like to share.
We did a “Spa-ctacular Proposal” spa party before. During the pre-event communication, we learnt that the couple met each other for the first time in a forest hiking. We presented our Spa treatment rooms with ‘forest’ decorations and sounding system for all guests’ treatment experience and the couple’s proposal surprise, followed by “the very first sight” forest-themed celebration party in Spa lounge so as to awaken their memory of that first encounter and the romantic journey ever since.
On the week of international woman’s day, we organized several “Rookie Mom Rescuer” Spa parties exclusively for our excited but exhausted new mums. We not only delivered customized deep relaxing treatments to target their postnatal symptoms, arranged rookie mom social moments and held professional workshops in between on child care or postnatal body shaping, etc. to help new mums recover physically, and be equipped for their new role mentally, in a super relaxing environment.
My personal favorite goes to the cross-industry cooperation Spa party collections, as your creativity is unlimited during the planning process.
Last year, we worked with a well-known chocolate brand for a VIP Christmas Spa party. We not only tailor-made the exclusive body treatments for their VIP guests with brand’s high quality chocolate powder as main elements, but also prepared exclusive constellation chocolate drinks according to every VIP guest’s star sign. We finished the whole party with a chocolate themed beauty class session and delivered the brand message “silky” “personal” and “luxury” through a unique and joyful Spa chocolate journey.
In a recent cooperation with a famous earphone brand, we invited their fans to enjoy W signature music collection with brand’s newly launched noise-cancelling headset while enjoying our award-winning “W rhythm massage” following the same music rhythm. Guests experience the powerful function of the headset in the most unexpected and private environment with a relaxed body and mind.
W Hong Kong is highly spoken-of by its partners. How do you choose the right partner?
I am very happy to hear that. Thank you. It definitely takes a win-win partnership for the cooperation to work out eventually. I usually conduct a close review from below perspectives:
Brand Influence. The positioning, image, pricing and overall marketing strategy of the brand needs to be in line with the hotel brand. They are either established brand with loyal customers or new brand with signature or unique products or services. There is no conflict with our existing Spa/Wellness partnership from products range or pricing point of view. Brand is capable of providing consistent local support for marketing activities and training. Reference check with brand’s existing clients should be positive.
Products/Service Diversity and Risk Management. Complete product lines covering both face and body, with both retail and professional collections. New treatments, products or technologies are developed regularly reflecting the industry trend. Festival promotion support such as special packaging etc. is appealing and sales friendly. Risk management protocol in order in case any liability issue from the use of the technology or products.
Brand Overall Marketing Strategy. Either exclusive cooperation with us in Hong Kong market or at last not available for our direct competitors. Online /offline retail strategy and delivery policies should not have significant conflict with hotel retail, etc.