Spa Rewards, Done Right

Much more than feel-good fluff, spa rewards can be a strong part of your strategic rewards plan

Group spa-ing has been met with questionable enthusiasm over the years, with many corporate event planners citing hassle, time constraints and cost as downsides. But the pros say for the right group, the benefits of a spa reward are worth a look.

Corporate planners generally don’t think they have the time for spa services and meeting planners are also sometimes hesitant to book a spa because they don’t believe they will have the time to fit in services,” says Paul MacIntyre, general manager at Pillar & Post Inn, Spa & Conference Centre in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont. “But a spa break can energize and help a group escape for a short period and leave them more creative.”

Heather Greene, marketing director at The Spa Ritual in Calgary, says a group spa event or outing is an excellent corporate gift idea, a way to express gratitude to valued employees and clients. Greene says that depending on the nature of the event, guests may appreciate a reception prior to or between spa treatments.

“Customizable elements such as a welcoming reception or appreciation lunch can provide an opportunity for the host to express gratitude to the team directly,” she says. “Unique personal touches such as thank you notes and spa gifts are some of the ways a host can acknowledge each guest and extend the spa experience to the workplace. Thoughtful gestures such as the unexpected arrival of a spa smoothie or chocolate-dipped strawberries during a manicure can become a memorable component of a revitalizing spa day.”

Find the Right Spot. The needs of groups are quite different from individuals, so it’s necessary for corporate planners to drill down to a few must-haves. A group needs space to move around, as well as many treatment rooms. The Pillar and Post, for example, was recently renovated and is now very group-friendly with 13,000 square feet and 24 services available at one time. “We created a salon for manicure/pedicure with luxurious chairs that massage your back while you get your toes done,” says MacIntyre. “12 people can get pedicures at once and another 12 can be getting treatments in rooms.”

Look for a place that goes a bit over and above in the details department. “Spas that do well in the group environment add the extra memorable touches,” says MacIntyre. “Not just soaps and shampoos in your locker but a cappuccino or a glass of wine offered while you are having your pedicure, extra hand and foot massages during a facial or even a relaxation CD coaching you on how to relax during a massage makes a difference.”

Plan Ahead. Those finicky health profiles can be filled in ahead of time and lockers can be assigned, says MacIntyre, making the group process even more calm and spa-like. Greene says any health concerns should be talked about prior to the day so everyone is informed and a guest isn’t having to talk about diabetes or heart issues on the spa day. “Any acute health issues should be expressed at the time of booking to ensure the guest’s compatibility with the treatment,” she says. “They can then fully relax and reap the benefits.” 

For the scoop on Canada’s best spas for groups, check out Leading Spas of Canada

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