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WTS International Works With Metro Development Group to Create a Slice of Paradise in Pasco County

WTS International, the spa, fitness and lifestyle consultancy and management firm, has won a contract to manage the watersports and community lifestyle programming for the Epperson Community, on behalf of Metro Development Group at America’s first Metro Lagoons by Crystal Lagoons.

Located in Wesley Chapel, Pasco County, Florida, the seven-acre, purpose-built lagoon, with its crystal clear blue waters, forms part of the Epperson master-planned community, the first ‘smart gigabit’ community in the U.S.

Epperson is part of the Pasco County Connected City Corridor, which has been built from the ground up on a framework of the fastest internet and WiFi speeds available, for the very best 21st-century live-play-work model.

The Metro Lagoons by Crystal Lagoons offers residents the opportunity to live a coastal lifestyle inland, in a development which includes private cabanas, a swim-up bar, yoga lawn and family beach.

Commenting on their work together at Epperson, Eric Wahlbeck, MD of Metro Development Group, says: “I’m very excited to be working with a trusted firm like WTS International on Metro Development’s first Metro Lagoons by Crystal Lagoons, where we’re offering a slice of paradise to residents.

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We’re collaborating toward a common vision to create a dynamic lagoon lifestyle that will bring an elevated level of luxury experiences to our resident families of the Epperson community. With over 45 years of leisure experience we couldn’t think of a better partner with which to embark on this new endeavor.”

WTS first engaged with Metro Development Group in 2016 to provide design review and programming consultation services and, earlier this year, agreed to provide pre-opening and management services for Epperson’s Metro Lagoons by Crystal Lagoons.

Describing the collaboration, WTS’ Corporate Operations Director Amy Gallogly, says: “WTS is thrilled to have been selected to pre-open and manage Metro Development’s first Metro Lagoons by Crystal Lagoons’ community. The Epperson Lagoon is a unique place and we’re delighted to be a part of this ‘first’ in the U.S.”

The facility recently held its grand opening celebration to mark the completion of the Crystal Lagoon and with global ambassador and Olympian Michael Phelps in attendance, showcased its offering to thousands of residents and guests, including swimming, kayaking, stand-up paddle-boarding and small boat sailing.

Gallogly adds, “Our newly-established partnership with Metro Development and Metro Lagoons will allow us to showcase this world-class amenity to prospective home buyers in the South Florida market. In addition to running the day-to-day operations of this 7.5 acre lagoon, our highly-skilled lifestyle team will be implementing a wide variety of events and programs that will demonstrate all that the Epperson Lagoon community has to offer.”

For more information, or to request high resolution images for this piece, please contact us at [email protected].

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WTS International: Creating New Spa Experiences at Ocean Edge Resort

WTS International, the spa, fitness and lifestyle consultancy and management firm, is working in collaboration with Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club to create new spa experiences for members, guests and locals at its Beach House Spa.

Located in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, the Beach House Spa at Ocean Edge has been skillfully designed to capture New England charm and combine it with urban sophistication. The variety of treatments available make it a unique offering.

Commenting on the new agreement, Kim Matheson, WTS Senior Vice President, says: “WTS International is thrilled to be collaborating with Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club to deliver a world-class spa and retail experience. Our team of highly-trained specialists played a vital role in the pre-opening process, providing support in recruiting and training staff, creating a spa concept and philosophy, developing a treatment menu, offering marketing support, and financial forecasting and budgeting services. The Beach House Spa is a gorgeous space and we are honored to be part of the Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club team.”

Signature treatments are inspired by the ocean, circadian rhythms and the power of the tides and combine elements of the sea with oxygen, botanicals and innovative technology.

Matheson explains, “WTS has worked to elevate the spa experience and bridge the gap between the spa and hotel. Our objective is to continue to have a successful relationship with Ocean Edge, collaborating with their team to create an exceptional spa experience and hotel packages.”

The spa also offers a curated selection of products and services to cater to guests’ needs, including an aroma journey experience, massage therapy, hair, makeup, nails and a lifestyle boutique.

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In its role providing seamless management of the spa and closer collaboration with the hotel and membership teams, WTS is also confident it will be successful in attracting the best staff to the operation.

As Matheson says, “We’re confident we’ll be the preferred spa employer on Cape Cod, because we’ll be providing ongoing training, competitive compensation and our spa will be open year round, as opposed to the many that close in the slow season.”

Ocean Edge Resort’s General Manager, Robert J Newman, says, “WTS International brings a wealth of experience in the spa industry to our resort. WTS will be collaborating closely with Ocean Edge to ensure our guests, members and the local community receive the highest level of care and customer service.”

Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club offers two accommodation choices – The Mansion at Ocean Edge and The Villages at Ocean Edge.

The range of amenities available make Ocean Edge perfectly suited for both leisure and business travellers, as well as a perfect destination. The resort offers a large variety of activities, including a Nicklaus-designed golf course, tennis, biking, kayaking and children’s programs, as well as world class dining options.

To see more images of The Beach House Spa, visit our gallery.

For more information, or to request high resolution images for this piece, please contact us at [email protected].

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WTS International Client Wins Prestigious Gold Award for Lifestyle Program

WTS International (WTS), the spa, fitness, lifestyle consultancy and management firm, is celebrating a longstanding client’s recent accolade.

Connerton Community, a master-planned community near Tampa, Florida, has won a prestigious national Gold Award at the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) National Sales and Marketing Awards gala for Best Lifestyle Program in a Community.

Known as ‘The Nationals,’ the awards honor the best in the building industry for their determination, integrity, creativity and endurance.

Extending over 4,800 acres, Connerton is Pasco County’s largest master-planned, mixed-use community, where WTS currently manages the community’s 10,000 square-foot clubhouse, Club Connerton, and its lifestyle programming.

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Commenting on the company’s involvement, WTS Corporate Operations Director Amy Gallogly said: “WTS has had a wonderful partnership with Connerton for the past 12 years. In 2007 we were engaged as design consultants and to deliver pre-opening services for Club Connerton. Once it opened in 2008 we began managing the amenity center and still operate it to this day.

“In 2017 we added management of the Welcome Center, exposing and educating prospective buyers and realtors about all that Connerton offers and the numerous benefits of this growing community.”

Connerton combines community living with life enrichment and social programs for all ages, together with the beauty of natural, protected spaces with parks and miles of nature trails and boardwalks for biking and hiking.

In addition, its clubhouse, with resort-style pool and fitness center, serves as the community’s social hub where families gather for a day of sun and splashes, or make use of the Fit & Flourish room with all the latest exercise equipment, and yoga, and other group fitness classes.

There’s also a Kidz Zone club for children and the Conner Town Café for snacks and beverages, as well as three tennis courts, a sand volleyball court and basketball court adjacent to the pool. An outdoor amphitheatre and stage for concerts, bands and watching fireworks completes the mix.

Under the guidance of WTS, Connerton offers more programs, events and activities than any other community in the area, enjoyed each day by more than 1,500 residents. As Gallogly explains: “The WTS team is comprised of a general manager, lifestyle director, welcome center manager and a large support team of camp and café attendants, group exercise instructors and personal trainers.

“We plan a variety of programs, camps and activities for all ages to enjoy. Our signature events have become yearly traditions and are enjoyed by generations of Connerton families.”

These include the ‘Noon’ Year’s Eve, a gala celebration for younger residents, Eggstravaganza, the annual Easter egg hunt and Nation Celebration, an Independence Day gathering open to the public. All these, in addition to Hometown Harvest and Winter Wonderland, are eagerly anticipated by residents year after year.

In addition, adults can enjoy weekly and monthly activities such as fitness classes, Parents Night Out, Men’s Brew & Poker Nights, Scotch and Cigar Nights, Ladies Design with Wine, Margarita Madness and Girls’ Night Out.

There are also family-specific events like the Polar Bear Plunge, Dive-in Movies, Star Party & Camp Out and Jingle Bell Rock.

At the resort-style waterpark with its big splash pool, kids can enjoy the Wiggles and Giggles fitness classes, music classes, arts and crafts events, poolside snow cones and cotton candy, Social Sandbox, Kids Fearful Factor and Lil Campers’ Summer Camp.

Connerton celebrated its hallmark event of 2017 with Operation Finally Home, a cooperative effort that awarded a deserving veteran and his family with a mortgage-free home in the community.

As Connerton resident Connie Maas attests: “One of the main reasons we moved here was because of the community lifestyle. There are monthly activities planned for residents and families and when our friends visit they are always awed by how beautiful Club Connerton is. Our grandchildren call it water world! It’s the best!”

The only leisure management team in place since Connerton’s inception, WTS provides the community with numerous opportunities to recreate, socialise and have fun. “We’ve grown smaller programs into signature events over the last 10 years with upwards of 600 resident families attending,” says Gallogly. “Our largest and most popular event is Connerton’s Nation Celebration, now in its fourth year with some 8,000 attendees last year. It works to expose the community to prospective buyers, allowing them to mingle with Connerton residents while enjoying a fireworks show, food truck rally, carnival games, DJ, mini golf, craft market, beer garden, bouncers and slides.”

Commenting on the enduring relationship between WTS and the Connerton community, Homeowners’ Association Board President of property developer The Gibbons Group, W. Stewart Gibbons, said: “Connerton contracted with WTS International over 12 years ago and our relationship has never been stronger. In our view WTS is the most professional and competent company in its field. From the bottom of the market collapse to record-setting sales in 2017, WTS has been a constant and loyal partner. Their team of professionals helps form the soul of Connerton and are beloved by our residents. We couldn’t do better.”.

For more information, or to request high resolution images for this piece, please contact us at [email protected].

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The Spa & Wellness Center Opens at The Blake at Taos Ski Valley

WTS International (WTS), the spa, fitness, lifestyle consultancy and management firm, is celebrating the opening of the Spa and Wellness Center at The Blake at Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico, for which it provided design consulting, pre-opening services and now daily management services.

Taos Ski Valley Resort was founded by German skiing pioneer, Ernie Blake, in 1955 and was influenced by Native American culture and Spanish Colonial history. Recognizing the importance of respecting these cultures, WTS collaborated with the hotel design team to incorporate elements of local Pueblo and Navajo tribes’ identities into the new spa’s design and layout.

The property showcases a collection of original art to give a true gallery feel, while original Pueblo pottery is on display in the relaxation lounge.

Mary Lynn Mellinger, Director of Planning and Design at WTS International, said: “There’s a real sense of place at the resort. We were tasked with making suggestions for ways of integrating the rich history of the region into the look and feel of the spa and wellness center. The spa menu’s services and treatments also draw on these traditional influences.”

The spa has four treatment rooms with one functioning as a couples’ room, and a relaxation space and mixed quiet room with a water feature.

An express treatment area offers chair massage sessions for guests who need immediate support after coming off the slopes.

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Innovative treatments developed for the spa include the Intentional Aromatherapy Massage, during which guests are invited to the aroma design bar where they work with an alchemista to create a custom blend of aromatherapy oils for use during the massage.

The choice comes from the finest organic- and therapeutic-grade essential oils from Body Bliss.

The spa also offers the Earth Elements massage during which hand-carved, organic salt stones, are warmed and incorporated into the massage experience to elevate it to another level.

The Earth Elements massage was developed in partnership with Saltability.

Steven Rose, Director of Hospitality at Taos Ski Valley said: “We’re delighted to have WTS International as a collaborative partner at The Blake at Taos Ski Valley, helping us develop our wellness programming, spa treatments, products and amenities.

“The design and feel of the spa is intended to honor and recognize the many cultures that make this region unique,” added Rose.

The fitness center provides equipment to suit guests who come to the region all year round. It also includes specific pieces of equipment designed for skiers’ needs.

Susan Shanmugham, Project Designer for fitness at WTS explained: “At this facility there will be a focus on recovery, to help skiers get back to optimal performance. For example, we’ve included Normatec Pulse Recovery Systems, which are dynamic compression devices to target the muscles which skiers use and to cater for guests who are looking for additional recovery after a day on the slopes.”

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Other key pieces of equipment in the fitness center include a SkiErg, an upright machine which mimics the motion of cross-country skiing and helps build strength and endurance by working the entire body in a rhythmic motion.

EAST-related spa treatments focus on cooling and rehydration, such as the Sole Renewal, while EAST fitness programs revolve around recovery clinics for the mountain sport enthusiast.

The SOUTH is associated with water and purification, with treatments such as Yoga and The Blake Signature Massage, while the WEST is connected to fire and is the most energetic of the directions, with spa treatments and fitness programs which build vitality and energy, such as the Peloton bike workout and the hot salt stone massage.

At the heart of all treatments is the Golden Center, which nourishes and supports the other directions and represents a state of optimum balance. Spa treatments and fitness programs focus on balancing the body’s energies and include small group circuit training and sports massage.

Andrea Dubois, Senior Project Designer for spa at WTS, concluded: “We want guests to sample a piece of Native American culture, even if it’s a ritual incorporated into a treatment. Local customs are very focused on the spiritual world and healing. We want guests who come to the spa and fitness center to experience that healing process.”

For more information, or to request high resolution images for this piece, please contact us at [email protected].

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WTS International Builds on Success of 2016 for an Exceptional 2017

WTS International (WTS), the spa, fitness and lifestyle consultancy and management firm, is reporting a strong forecast for 2017, following a record year in 2016.

Last year was an exceptionally busy one for WTS and saw the firm expand its position as a global leader in the industry, with the delivery of 80 design projects and 22 new spa, wellness, fitness and corporate fitness openings around the world.

With some 2,500 members of staff worldwide, a corporate team of 65 employees and an executive committee of 20 people, WTS operates in over 30 countries and currently manages over 100 sites worldwide. It’s currently overseeing design projects in locations as diverse as Dubai, Switzerland, America and India.

With every project, WTS spends time consulting with clients to fully evaluate their needs, ensuring plans are firmly based on the company’s principles of excellence in both service and performance standards. Innovation is a key priority as WTS approaches every project with the aim of being relevant and cutting edge.

Of the many projects in the pipeline for 2017, Oceana Bal Harbour, Florida, a condominium paradise with unobstructed views of the South Florida beaches, is significant for being the first building in the area to be LEED certified. WTS will manage the on-site spa and fitness facility, ensuring a five-star service to residents and guests.

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The spa and fitness facility at the brand new MGM National Harbor luxury resort on the banks of the Potomac River in Maryland features a full-service spa and salon with men’s Barber Lounge and fitness centre. WTS designed the spa concept and handled all the pre-opening and ongoing management.

WTS will also provide ongoing consulting services for the destination and day spa within Trump International Hotel Washington, DC and the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Vancouver, where guests can benefit from signature treatments, as well as full lifestyle programmes. WTS has been involved in the development of the new spa concept for Trump Hotels, and has provided design consulting services throughout the development of both properties.

Other new openings for 2017 include VERDURE, a luxury wellness facility in Amarillo, Texas, for which WTS provided design review services, including operational feasibility, interior design review, equipment sourcing and layout, together with pre-opening services such as finance reviews, staffing, organisation and training, and program development, plus on-going management.

All aspects of the facility’s operations, from its luxurious amenities, exercise equipment and resort-style pools, to its personal training services and world-class spa treatments, are designed to encourage a healthy lifestyle and wellbeing with an uncompromising commitment to service.

The development is also intended to serve as a selling point for prospective residents and a value enhancement for current residents.

Building on over 40 years of spa, leisure and lifestyle consulting and management experience, WTS’s mission is to provide exceptional services to clients, and 2017 will be no exception.

For more information, or to request high resolution images for this piece, please contact Mary Simpkins at [email protected].

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WTS Educates: The Benefits of Hiring a Lifestyle Management Company in the Early Stages of Development

By: Amy Gallogly (WTS Corporate Operations Director) and Matthew Eberius, CPRP (Director of Parks and Recreation, Starkey Ranch.

In an ever-growing world of community development, builders have to find new ways to set themselves apart from the competition. Gone are the days where having an attractive amenity package, great location or custom builders will automatically propel you above the rest. Buyers simply want more.

For example, the millennials, who are primed and ready to purchase, are a very cautious and savvy group of individuals. They want more bang for their buck and do their homework before taking that plunge into home ownership. One cost effective way to swing momentum toward your community is by sweetening the amenity pot. There are endless possibilities when it comes to outfitting your clubhouse, so how do you know what will be attractive to buyers?

Hiring a consulting firm before you build your community clubhouse can save serious cash and headaches down the road. Lifestyle management companies bring years of knowledge about a range of topics from how to effectively lay out your fitness facility to equipping your clubhouse with state-of-the-art gadgets. They will provide a plan for programming that synchronizes perfectly with your facility and demographics.

Another attractive service that some firms provide is event and program implementation. A lifestyle management or consulting company will enable your community to be successful for years to come by engaging prospective buyers before they become residents. This is a cost saving technique that many developers are opting into these days. There is no need to hire a separate event company to plan your prospect and realtor events when these firms now specialize in these services. Many prospect events that are rolled out before actual residents move in, turn into long standing traditions in communities. They provide great stories for families to talk about for years to come and are used as a strong marketing tool.

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A perfect example that outlines the benefits to hiring a firm like WTS International is Starkey Ranch, a new master planned community in Odessa, Florida.

As the management company behind the leisure and onsite marketing of Starkey Ranch, a new master-planned community in Tampa Bay, Florida, WTS International’s success in operating a Welcome Center and various marketing events has translated into sales for the new community.

With decades of experience in marketing and real estate and lifestyle management, the WTS team at Starkey Ranch is responsible for welcoming prospective residents and business owners to the community, managing the realtor relations program and incentives, as well as hosting prospective resident marketing events that involve the entire region. As residents move in, the attention shifts slightly to community programming that is implemented in tandem with marketing events.

The Welcome Center regularly sees close to 100 traffic units (buying units) each week, with over 2,700 visits since its opening in late April 2015. WTS staff oversees community presentations and builds sales team relationships and networking with real estate offices. And it’s not just within the Welcome Center; the WTS team regularly travels around the Tampa Bay area to promote Starkey Ranch to the surrounding community, real estate offices and various networking and community organizations.

Organizing the community’s grand opening celebration, Fun For Fall, the WTS team planned a series of special events to highlight community amenities, the model homes, and the new central park in the first neighborhood. 2,000 families were hosted during the month of October. This increased the community’s visibility, as well as created sales for the builders after families fell in love with the atmosphere of Starkey Ranch.

To cap off an outstanding inaugural year, Starkey Ranch was one of six finalists in North America, earning a Silver Award for Master-Planned Community of the Year!

While many developers are focused on units and the process behind the build, hiring a lifestyle management or consulting company provides assurance that all lifestyle related aspects of the community will be taken care of. A management or consulting company can further assist the sales team in enticing new home buyers and showing off the developer’s work in a way that translates to not just a house, but a home.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:
• Appropriately sized clubhouse programming
• Supporting equipment package
• Prospect event management
• Increased Welcome Center foot traffic
• Realtor networking

WTS Launches Corporate Charity Initiative, WELLness Begins with Water

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WTS International has launched its 2016 corporate initiative, WELLness Begins with Water. The initiative will include a number of charitable components in support of charity: water and also in partnership with the Green Spa Network and Global Wellness Day.

The initiative’s mission: to deliver clean, safe drinking water to developing nations. It costs the organization approximately US$10k to install a community well and WTS is aiming to raise this amount in partnership with its managed facilities, as well as corporately and through partnerships with selected preferred vendors.

Gary Henkin, president and CEO of WTS said: “We take our plentiful supplies of clean water for granted and our spa industry is founded on it, yet many people in the developing world do not even have access to clean drinking water.

We believe this is a basic human right and here at WTS we’re committed to working with charity: water and also our partners and clients, to raise funds to improve the lives of people who are without safe water, by empowering them to take charge of their own water supply.”

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In a related initiative, WTS will also work with the Green Spa Network on the development of protocols and recommendations aimed at significantly reducing the number of plastic water bottles and cups used at WTS-managed spa, fitness and lifestyle facilities.

The Green Spa Network will track and compare usage in WTS-managed facilities to show the improvements made, while an implementation guide will be created by WTS and distributed among both its own managed properties and those associated within the Green Spa Network.

The guide will provide solutions for reducing the carbon footprint created by plastic, as well as providing affiliated spas with suggestions on how to run their Global Wellness Day fundraising events. WTS has also made a policy decision to select vendors who can show they’ve reduced water consumption during the production process.

Global Wellness Day has been successfully incorporated into all WTS facility marketing plans, and an implementation kit and accompanying flyers have been developed to make the launch straightforward. All proceeds raised from attendances at GWD events will be donated to charity: water in the name of WTS International.

“I highly commend WTS for raising money for this worthwhile cause,” said Paul Schmidt, Green Spa Network executive director. “The Green Spa Network is proud to partner with progressive companies like WTS and collaborate to cause positive change.”

To learn more about the WTS corporate charity initiative, please email: [email protected].

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For more information, or to request high resolution images for this piece, please contact Mary Pilch Simpkins at [email protected].

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WTS Educates: Be Gift Card Savvy in the New Year

By: Catherine Warren, WTS Spa Director, Eau Spa

With the heavy gift card sales season having come and gone, we are all now faced with the great challenge of turning gift card sales into redemptions. It is also a time for reflecting on the meaning of a liability account. We harken our gift card recipients to return and redeem so that our efforts are not in vain. Gift certificates work the same as gift cards, but I will refer to them as cards from here on out. Without further ado, here is a little gift card Q&A to help you maximize your efforts made throughout the most wonderful time of the year:

Q: Why do I not see gift card sales revenue on my P&L?
A: When a gift card is purchased, the money goes into a purgatory called a liability account. Since revenue cannot be counted when the gift card is purchased, and then counted again when it is redeemed (as this would double what was actually received in the form of a payment from the guest and deceivingly inflate revenues), sales will not be recognized as top line revenue until the card purchased is redeemed as a service or retail item.

Q: How do gift card sales benefit the business if they are not going to count as a profit on top line until an undetermined time of redemption?
A: For one thing, it puts cash in the bank, and this helps the spa or fitness facility to not have to borrow money from the host property when times are lean. Padding the piggy bank is always a good thing. This cash may also grow in interest if invested properly. It also captures guests by holding a credit for them only available through redemption with your spa or fitness facility alone.

Guests are also given the freedom to buy whatever they choose from the service menu or retail area, and so the chances of them being satisfied with their gift is higher than, say, if they received a pair of unattractive, brown bell bottoms, and feel indebted to wear them whenever the gift giver is around. In other words, there is more likely of a guarantee of guest satisfaction with a customizable gift such as a gift card.

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Q: What if the gift cards are never redeemed?

A: Then one day it will be credited as breakage. Breakage is a good thing, because the money will go to the spa or fitness facility without having to pay any costs of sale.

Q: What is my cost of sale?
A: When someone has a service in the spa, receives a personal training session or attends a class, a commission is paid to the therapist, personal trainer or instructor. Additionally, labor for those attending to the guest in the front of house, the linens that need to be laundered after their service or session, their consumable food, beverage and locker room amenities, the cost of product and many, many, many other tertiary costs are included.

Q: So why not just let all of it go to breakage so that more revenue flows through to the bottom line?
A: Depending on the state that you are in, the laws will vary. In Florida, for example, a purchased gift card may legally never expire, and so breakage may not be received that same year or possibly ever. Also, the point of a gift card is to draw guests in so that the revenue is redeemed immediately, a new guest is gained, and retail products potentially sold. Ideally, the guest will adore everything about the business and return regularly. Even better, the guest will buy gift cards for more new guests, and the business will continue to build with the ease of a pyramid scheme.

Q: How do I draw people in to redeem their gift cards?
A: First and foremost, the staff must be trained and then held accountable for gathering all of the contact information for the person purchasing the gift card, and, more importantly, the person receiving the gift card. Then designate someone on the team to go through all outstanding gift cards and personally call to invite guests with credit to the spa or fitness facility. This is actually the simplest AND most effective way to go about ensuring redemptions.

Bounce back offers may also work, but beware of double-discounts! Many times the credit available on the gift card already includes some sort of credit; an upgrade or added value given at the time of purchase, employee commission that was paid off the total amount purchased, provider commission that is deducted when the gross value is redeemed, etc. If not careful, the potential revenue may slowly whittle down to next to nothing, and worst case scenario, go upside down. Always track sales and offers at time of purchase so that revenue is maintained after the compound discounts.

Q: What do you mean by a compound discount?
A: A compound discount is an additional discount on something that has already been discounted, and if the commission to your therapist or personal trainer or instructor is based on the original or gross cost, then it’s possible they are being paid on a higher cash amount than what was actually received. This can quickly increase payroll.

Q: What if the gift card recipient does not want the treatment, sessions or classes purchased?
A: First, provide a thorough list of all of the treatments, services or classes that are available, as it’s possible the guest is not aware of everything they can potentially redeem their gift card for. Ensure they understand the gift card has a dollar credit value, and not necessarily a particular service value. For example, at a SPA, most people just think massage or facial, and must be reminded of all of their options to include body treatments, manicures and pedicures, or hair services. At a FITNESS facility, they may consider personal training as their only option, unaware of any specialty classes offered or special challenges coming up.

If they are not interested in any form of therapeutic work or fitness classes, then encourage them to purchase retail with it for themselves or a loved one.

If they hate all health, beauty and fashion items, then suggest that they re-gift it to their most clean, attractive and relaxed loved one, neighbor, boss or a favorite politician. Just remember that gift cards are not redeemable for cash.

Looking toward the future… Remember that the year is full of gift card selling opportunities; Administrative Assistant’s Week, Mother’s Day, Graduations, Father’s Day etc. So, what can you do to maximize your sales and take gift cards full circle?

Q: How do you convince your team to sell them?
A: The reality is that staff like to be incentivized. Hold a contest offering a prize for the highest sales person. This will automatically instill a minimum to the sales efforts. Since not everyone is a good sales person, the substandard salespeople will possibly not try, because they assume that they’ll never win. Therefore, incentivize the most improved salesperson, possibly one top seller from each department, and maybe even offer a commission.

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Q: How do you pay a commission on something that may not ever be redeemed? Will that not make my payroll high?
A: Good question! This is tricky, because it can’t be denied that it’s a gamble that the guest will never redeem their gift card, and therefore the revenue never hit the top line. Recipients must be drawn to the spa or fitness facility to redeem their gift cards, and then payroll will certainly level out over the course of the year, even if it is a little high during the months such incentive programs are implemented.

Q: How do I make the public aware of my gift cards?
A: Advertising is your friend. Social media advertising is your best friend, because it is either free or fairly inexpensive for boosting posts. If the advertising is inexpensive, then it will not cut into this elusive liability revenue, and there will be a better return on sales.

Q: How do I get people to buy our gift cards instead of one of our competitors?
A: It is now time to consider the spa or fitness facility’s competitive edge, and to think about what could be offered as an incentive that no other facility has to offer. Receiving a great value is usually just as important to guests as cost or discounts. Do you offer complimentary valet? Do you have a childcare facility? Do you have pool or beach access? Do you boast anything innovative by way of technology? Is your facility superior to the competitions? Are complimentary beverages offered? Add up the value of all the amenities of this nature that the facility has to offer. This value should always be mentioned in the advertising campaign built around gift card sales.

Q: What if I answered no to all of the above?
A: Even if the facility offers nothing but a single treatment room, a massage table and an orchid, or no specialty fitness classes or high end training spaces, an incentive can still be provided to the gift card purchaser. For example, increase the value by $25 if they purchase $100. Simply charge the “value add” to the marketing/advertising line within your budget. However, keep in mind this will likely need to be advertised as a limited offer, as budgets must be closely monitored and expenses never exceeded. When developing a campaign, it must always be developed considering the ROI (return on investment).

Q: Is there anything else that I could do to incentivize guests to purchase gift cards?
A: Absolutely! Additional incentives may include registering all purchasers’ into a drawing for something fancy by way of a spa day, personal training sessions, or retail products. This is a slick move, because sometimes product incentives can be received complimentary from vendors. It is always recommended a facility speak with their vendors for assistance on this type of incentive.

Q: How do I train my team to sell gift cards?
A: Staff should be required to ask every guest making an appointment, checking in or checking out if they would like to purchase a gift card. A nice sales spiel would be, “Mr. Smith, we have an excellent gift card program (state the program specifics and why they are so stellar). I would highly recommend that you take advantage of it, and if you need holiday gifts for your office, have an anniversary coming up, need a birthday present or just want to surprise someone special, then now is the time to do it. We will even package it beautifully and mail it to the lucky recipient. How many would you like, and whom should I say it is for? Would you like a card to fill out or shall I fill it out for you? I would be happy to have them delivered to your room for your convenience.”

There should always be gift card signage placed around the spa or fitness facility. This can make it simple for staff to reference, and encourage guests to inquire. Most importantly, include a deadline on all marketing pieces to encourage a sense of urgency so that guests take action on the offer available.

Q: How does gratuity work on a gift card?
A: Remember that most people purchasing a gift card do not want the recipient to have to pay for gratuity, and so gratuity should be included in the gift card as often as possible. It should be clarified with the purchaser to be certain.

Q: What if I have not thought about how to package my gift cards?
A: It is always best to go with neutral packaging that reflects the branding of the facility and is void of any gender or religious affiliation. For example:
• If the facility is a luxury spa, consider a fancy box tied with ribbon, placed in a tissue-filled, branded bag.
• If the facility is environmentally conscious, create a biodegradable or plantable envelope for the gift card.
• If the facility is strapped because of a lean margin, consider ordering simple, folded cards that can hold a gift certificate.

If possible, it is recommended a business card sized promotional piece be included to offer recipients suggestions on how to redeem their gift card, and can also be a great way to advertise any upcoming services, classes, challenges or new membership pricing.

Q: Should I offer shipping?
A: It is recommended shipping is charged for and only offered complimentary when a minimum purchase is reached. This will encourage guests to spend more. Keep in mind that forms will need to be created to capture all of the recipients’ shipping and contact information. Adding on a signature line may be necessary when a guest is paying for the shipping out of their own pocket. Always be careful with the shipping costs as they can quickly eat up revenue if certain priority shipping options are used.

Hopefully this guide will assist you in capturing your guests from this past year’s heavy gift card sales season while ensuring revenues are maximized. Additionally, I hope that this provides you with an outline that proves useful when planning for all the gift card seasons to come throughout this year.

Happy selling, and remember that when you come to a crossroads in your operations and feel that some advice or guidance is needed, contact WTS International as we strive to ensure all clients are kept informed and successful in their ventures.

WTS International Supports Global Wellness Day

WTS International, the global spa consultancy and management firm, is thrilled to announce its support of Global Wellness Day on June 13th.

Global Wellness Day is a campaign which aims to promote healthy lifestyles. Events are held on the second Saturday in June each year to give members of the public a taste of what spas and wellness centers have to offer and to encourage them to make healthier lifestyle choices.

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WTS Participates in Global Wellness Day

WTS has developed a special program of events for clients in conjunction with Global Wellness Day’s International Coordinator, Jean-Guy de Gabriac. These include special fitness classes, healthy meals and drinks, meditation, workshops and free mini spa services in over 20 WTS-managed properties.

WTS is also running a wellness-related event for its corporate employees, their families and friends on Global Wellness Day, with a 5km walk or run and a celebratory meal in Washington DC.

de Gabriac said: “I’m delighted the WTS team is going to take part in Global Wellness Day in such a wholehearted way, as it’s totally aligned with the WTS philosophy of “Building better Lifestyles” – not just on June 13, but 365 days a year. I’m thrilled so many top-notch properties managed by WTS International are on board,” he continued.

WTS Spas taking part in Global Wellness Day are listed below.

“Global Wellness Day will start at sunrise with beach yoga in Fiji and when the day finishes at sunset in Hawaii, celebrations will have been held in 70 countries and covered all time zones.”

Susie Hammer WTS International’s Vice President of Spa commented: “As a leader in both the spa and fitness industries, everything that we do revolves around wellness. As an international firm, we believe it’s important to embrace Global Wellness Day and set an example for our employees, members, clients and the guests who visit our facilities around the world.”

WTS President and Founder, Gary Henkin, said, “We strive to provide our guests, clients and members not only with a wellness experience but also with knowledge to take home with them so they can incorporate wellness into their daily lives. Global Wellness Day reflects that very philosophy. We’ve invited clients and on-site managers to spread the word and say “YES” to Global Wellness Day and assist them in strategically coordinating their events and offers to ensure we promote the importance of a healthy lifestyle.”

Hammer said: “We want to spread the word about wellness. Although it means different things to different people, on Global Wellness Day, we want everyone to think about two things: how they can personally become more well and how they can help those around them achieve greater levels of wellness.”

About Global Wellness Day

Global Wellness Day was created by Belgin Aksoy three years ago. Aksoy is creative director of Turkish hotel management company, Richmond International, which owns the Richmond Nua Spa. Now, thousands of spa and wellness operators across 55 countries are running activities to promote the initiative.

As a not-for-profit initiative, Global Wellness Day aims to inspire people to adopt a change in their life for one day, with the intention of creating long-term healthy habits.

Suggested changes include:
– Drink more water
– Walk for an hour
– Shop locally and eat organically
– Stop using plastic bottles
– Do a good deed
– Eat a family dinner
– Go to bed at 10pm

WTS International Participation in Global Wellness Day 2015 includes the following properties:

Aura Spa & Salon at the Hilton Richmond Hotel & Spa
Events: A gentle stretch and mindfulness yoga session, followed by a wellness breakfast of fruit, yogurt, grains and fresh juice and infused water. Free mini spa services including Turkish Hand Renewal, Age-Defying Acupressure Facial and Immune Boosting Chair Massage.

Spa Evangeline at the Epicurean Hotel
Event: Five and ten-minute chair massages in the hotel lobby.

The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club
Events: Yoga, pranayama meditation, workshops on making your own sugar and salt scrubs with essential oil, and mini massage sessions.

The Spa at Trump SoHo
Event: Meditation class.

Tideline Ocean Resort and Spa
Events: A group beach walk, yoga class, healthy beverages and 20 per cent off any service booked that day.

Spa Oceana at Loews Don CeSar Hotel
Event: Beach Yoga, Pint Size Picasso’s – children can create a painting with a global wellness theme, Nutrition 101, Kidding Around Yoga for children aged four-years-old to 12, Guided Meditation, Sunset Yoga, Spa tours with a goody bag, Skin Analysis machine use.

Blue Harmony Spa at the Shelborne Wyndham Grand South Beach
Event: Yoga class for guests and hotel employees.

The Spa at Trump Las Vegas
Event: Free chair massage, free exercise class. Employee stretching and talk about the benefits of exercise

Spa Aquazul at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront
Event: Food vendors Quest Bars and Protein Ice Cream to provide healthy samples in the hotel. Green drinks in the fitness center. Employee healthy meals.

The Alluvian Spa
Event: Free yoga and free Barre class with complimentary cosmetic coaching

Blue Harmony Spa at Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek
Event: Chair massage for guests in the hotel lobby and for the employees of the hotel, they will be posting wellness and meditation tips in the staff break room

MiraBay Club
Event: Free healthy smoothies

Southern Highlands Golf Club
Event: Complimentary personal training, pilates and fascial stretch therapy for members.

mySpa Miami and the InterContinental Miami
Event: Complimentary yoga class

The Spa at Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa
Event: Complimentary fitness classes

The Spa at Trump Waikiki Beach Walk
Event: Fascial stretch therapy demonstrations, NuFace treatment upgrades, Pure Inventions Infused water beverages and healthy snacks on offer

Boar’s Head Inn
Event: Seated chair massage by the lake, guided nature walk on the Boar’s Head Heritage Trail, outdoor yoga sessions and Lumi juice samples to be enjoyed throughout the day

For more information, please contact Mary Pilch at [email protected].

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WTS Partners with Hair Experts Paul Labrecque

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WTS International is thrilled to announce a partnership with luxury hair care brand Paul Labrecque to provide our spas in five-star destinations with expert hair treatments.

The Paul Labrecque brand has been selected to serve as WTS’ salon experts due to its worldwide appeal and reputation. The relationship grew from the success of the recently launched Rittenhouse Spa and Club in Philadelphia, US, where the two companies collaborated on a 3,000sq ft (279sq m) Paul Labrecque Salon (read more here).

“We partnered with PLB at The Rittenhouse Spa and Club at the suggestion of the hotel’s brand’s consultant,” said Susie Hammer, WTS Vice President, Spa Division. “After working with them to open that facility, we were impressed with their quality of service and operating model so we decided it would be mutually beneficial for us to partner on additional spa/salon opportunities.”

WTS and Paul Labrecque have developed three options for clients, each of which utilizes a specific set of services developed by the hair care brand.

“My goal for this company is to expand the reach of the brand and to partner with facilities that feel the same way about five-star customer service as we do,” said Brian Cantor, founder and CEO of Paul Labrecque. “It’s not about a mass roll-out for us,” he continued. “Our commitment to WTS is about getting our products into the right hands. WTS can achieve this on an international scale at the luxury end of the hospitality sector. During the Rittenhouse Hotel development I was impressed with how thorough WTS was and with the attention to detail paid by the WTS team. This level of perfectionism gave me the confidence to move forward with this initiative.”