How to open a spa: Part 2 – Spatial distribution and client flow


This week, we are featuring additional content from our series of posts on how to open a new spa from beginning to end. Once you have put your idea on paper, done your homework and researched into the numbers to see whether your idea makes business sense, the next step is to start defining the different areas your spa will have and how your clients will go from one stage to the next of their spa experience.


The importance of the floor plan

We already saw how important is to define and measure the concept and feasibility of your spa. Answering key questions about it, elaborating a solid business plan, understanding your environment and getting a good sense of your numbers will provide your spa with solid foundations.

However, these foundations need to be supported by a smart physical structure capable of incorporating the purpose of the spa, the vision that you have for your future business, and the projected client experience you would like to offer. If your floor plan can’t make a connection with these elements, you are setting your spa up for failure.

The implementation of the spa floor is, in fact, the element that will have the strongest impact on the performance of your spa. After all, your floor plan is the tangible expression of the defining concept behind your business. Furthermore, you will be investing most of your money in the construction of the spa and because of this you can’t allow any mistakes in the design of your floor plan. This is also why you should work alongside a professional spa architectural designer during this phase of the process.


Client flow and experience

Once you are clear about the purpose, the vision and the expected client experience, it is time to conceive and develop your floor plan according to the client flow. The most effective way of doing this consists on using the visit pattern (how the client moves from the moment he/she arrives to your spa until the moment he/she leaves your facility) as the main pillar to elaborate your floor design.

There are several things you need to keep in mind. First of all, you need to create a good balance between your Income Generator (IG) areas (e.g. treatment rooms, retail area) and your Non Income Generator (NIG) spots (e.g. reception, lockers, relaxation rooms). Such a balance, which goes beyond the mere comfort of your structure, plays a critical role in the management of your appointments. If your floor plan allows you to manage your bookings in an effective manner, you will have a good chance to transform your spa into a profitable business.

While thinking about the visit pattern and how your clients will move throughout your structure, it is also very important that you understand the energy levels of the different areas of your spa. For instance, if you put a high energy level area like the salon next to the reception, you will be welcoming your clients with an energy level that does not correspond to the idea of relax you want to offer.

If your spa does not have a proper balance of energy levels, you are putting at risk the perceived experience of the client. Similarly, if your floor plan has small treatment rooms, a crowded store or reception or narrow corridors, you will be providing your customer with a negative perceived experience. As a result, you will be losing clients and spending lots of money trying to attract new customers to your business.

During the conception of your floor plan, you also need to think carefully about the technical requirements of your spa. In terms of technical requirements, everything related to lighting, power and top-notch equipment should be considered top priority.


Utilisation rate

In the end, the future of your spa will depend on how you optimise the ‘utilisation rate’ of your structure within an intelligent client flow. It is essential that the spatial distribution of your spa has a good balance between IG and NIG areas, which means a structure capable of providing comfort and an effective management of your treatment bookings.

Likewise, the design of your floor plan needs to reflect the purpose of your spa, your vision of the business, the projected client experience and the client flow – where will the client enter and how do you want them to feel in each space  (reception, relaxation lounge, changing rooms, treatment rooms, hydrothermal experience, wellness, etc.). Remember that how we allocate each space of the spa journey our client takes through our spa is key for the success of our business.

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

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