Consulting Services in the Spa Industry: An Ethical Dilemma


One of the biggest problems facing the spa industry today has to do with the quality of consulting services available in the market. There are several reasons for this. However, the recent explosion of consulting services provided by spa product and spa equipment suppliers is worsening the problem.

These services are not only providing the industry with poor spa management training but are also posing a conflict of interest towards clients to whom these services are being offered. This challenge provides the spa industry with an important dilemma: Is it really ethical for these providers to enter into unchartered territories just for the sake of selling their products?



The effects of the crisis

The current financial and economic crisis has undoubtedly affected the spa industry. On the positive side, the crisis has ‘cleansed out’ those competitors that perhaps were not providing the best quality of service or product. The downside, however, has been the removal from the industry of smaller struggling businesses with tight cash-flows, and hence it is a shame that these good companies have not been able to survive.

The crisis has also brought an additional negative effect on the spa industry. In order to survive, other companies have opted to diversify their portfolio incorporating into their offerings a range of consulting services for which most do not have any expertise. In doing so, many of these companies have ventured into spa management services without having the necessary know-how to cater for their clients’ needs.


The common trap

The industry’s common trap is what we call “fake” consulting. By fake consulting we mean incomplete consulting, which only provides specific training aimed at improving sales and marketing for specific items provided by spa product and spa equipment suppliers.

Very often, indeed, these providers offer consulting services at the operational level with the exclusive idea to sell their products and equipment. The problem with that is that these services are often presented under an aura of comprehensiveness that does not really take into consideration all the aspects involved in spa management leaving behind important elements such as business optimisation, customer service, and staff selection.


Raising the bar

Considering this scenario, stakeholders within the spa industry should understand that the spa industry is vast, and just like the medical and wellness sectors, it consists of many specialties and professionals whose work should be acknowledged and respected.

The idea, as the Global Spa Summit has mentioned, is sharing and collaborating.  The more we work together, the more we will help raise the bar of the industry and hence the professionalism of it. This approach will not only allow the industry as a whole to get stronger but also will improve the perception that other sectors have regarding the spa industry.

At Spa Balance we therefore urge stakeholders to focus on their core businesses and to avoid stepping into other areas of expertise where they lack competence.

By Sonal

Sonal Uberoi creates and delivers smarter spas around the world. Spas and hotel groups hire Sonal to help them design, set up and manage their wellness businesses. Her finance background and worldwide operations experience in the spa, wellness and hospitality sectors make Sonal the go-to expert for business optimisation solutions. Connect with Sonal on LinkedIn

3 thoughts on “Consulting Services in the Spa Industry: An Ethical Dilemma

  1. Hi Sonal,

    Thank you for this article. I cannot agree more with you. The negative reputation of the “consulting” area of our industry is almost entirely due to those who pretend being specialized in everything. As a spa designer, I have seen so many times spas that should be successful but are not because the so called consultant developped a floor plan for the spa that is actually limiting its ability to make money, because of bad traffic patterns and because of bad utilization rate of the global surface(mostly, less than 30% is dedicated to income generating areas).

    I am specialized in the conception and design of spas. This is my area of expertise and I am always ready to collaborate with other professionals to achieve together the best result for the spa owners.

    Sam Margulies
    Mobile: 1-514-886-6071
    SKYPE: atmospherespadesign

    • Hi Sam,

      Thank you for your comment. As you correctly mentioned, it is those who pretend to be specialised in everything that give spa consulting services a bad reputation. The spa industry has evolved tremendously during the last decade, along with consumers. Having a large pretty looking facility is no longer sufficient, operations need to be ‘operationally intelligent’ and at the same time cater for the needs of today’s clients, which are vast and varied. The spa industry is a large industry with various specialities and there is no consultant out there that can cover all these areas. I think it is our responsibility as consultants to educate our clients – spa owners, hoteliers, etc. – on the different types of expertise involved in building a spa and implementing a financially viable and coherent concept. And, instead of trying to do everything by themselves, work and collaborate with other specialists of relevant fields to create unique facilities and raise the bar of our industry.

      Best regards,
      Sonal Uberoi

  2. Pingback: Spas y el Diseño Conceptual: La Importancia de Una Distribución Espacial Coherente | Comunicación de Spatermal

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