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Exclusive or not?
Spa Manta explores the concepts of exclusive spas versus the ones open for all

While a majority of spas prefer to keep themselves open for all customers, as it increases footfalls and means more business, there are some that are only open to members or guests at the hotel. Does this exclusivity have its benefits too? Spa Mantra inspects both sides of the coin; “Is exclusivity among spas really beneficial? Or should they be open to everyone?”

Poonam Sharma, MD of Vedic Mantra Spa, Delhi, is of a view that luxury is something that everyone is entitled to. Membership will restrict non-members from availing the luxury of our spa treatments. She further states that, “Spa services are de-stressing and de-toxifying, which is everyone’s right and Vedic Mantra makes it available to all for well being and happiness. Our clients are happy and appreciate our mission to spread wellness through Vedic Mantra. Vedic Mantra Spa is a temple where we heal and focus on wellness through our luxurious therapies. We welcome all to experience luxury without boundaries.”

Tahaa Spa, Mumbai, is another spa that caters to all customers. Owner, Nari Mehta is clear about why he wanted it that way. He explains, “The concept of day spa memberships hasn’t really taken off in India to the extent it has internationally and in 5-star hotels. While we do have a large number of members, we have an equal amount of regular and first time clients who are not members and at Tahaa; we don’t like the idea of turning anybody away. We also have a significant NRI clientele and businessmen who drop by sporadically when they’re in the city but signing up for a membership doesn’t make sense to them. We can take in a greater number of customers, plus walk-ins, and businessmen who are on a visit to the city for a while. And the more new customers walk in and like what we have to offer, the more repeat and new business we generate.”

However, Mehta also admits that at times they have to give preference to members over other clients as he reveals, “Though we don’t like to, sometimes we have to tell non members we cannot accommodate them, especially when the spa is full up and/or we have to give preference to a member. We do have instances when it’s difficult to get an appointment for a while, and some patrons do get impatient but fortunately, most of our clients are very understanding. We focus on rejuvenation, relaxation and cleanliness. Those are the pillars of our service portfolio. We’ve tried to create a menu that has something for everyone – there’s a balanced mix of unique signature treatments and expected ones.”

Radha Shetty, Spa in-charge of The Resort Spa, Mumbai on the other hand believes that the exclusivity of their spa works in their favour. She says, “There are innumerable loyal guests who drive the distance to The Resort for its exclusivity and ambience. If we entertain the walk-in guests, our regular clients who are members may not find it comfortable and then this will affect our services and we would not be able to give our hundred percent to clients. At The Resort, customer satisfaction is of supreme concern. People come to the spa so that they can get relax and all their stress gets wiped out and in such a situation if we are entertaining other people our regular members and our in-house guests may find it exasperating, having to wait for their turn.”

“We have excellent relations with our existing and regular members and we can provide better services to them and can add value for their money, as our entire focus is only on hotel guests. The guests are happy as they are getting hundred percent attention and their expectations are met in a better manner. Our spa members drive to our hotel for spa treatment as they get peace, which is most essential. By our standard of services they get value for the money paid by them,” opines S. P. Kochhar, CMD, of the Madhuban Group of Hotels, who spoke particularly about the Bodyscape Spa at Madhuban Highlands, Mussoorie, which is open only to guests of the hotel.

However, Kochhar does admit that this exclusivity does affect revenue. “The only disadvantage is that we will have a small revenue impact and that’s acceptable as we don’t want to increase the sale at the cost of our services”, he adds.

Read the full version of this story on Issue 8 Page 68

Writer| Natasha Coutinho

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