Wear Park Spa at Exeter Golf and Country Club has started life in the best possible way…a busy appointment diary, regular clients and tonnes of fabulous feedback. What more could you ask for? Well, in addition to some great local coverage by EX Magazine, Exeter Living and the Express and Echo, Wear Park Spa is now the featured spa in leading trade magazine Modern Spa Magazine.
Here’s the interview with Jenni Davies, Marketing and PR Manager of Wear Park Spa and Exeter Golf and Country Club
I like the fact that you’ve enhanced the existing architecture of the house – tell us more about the design ethos…
Who was the creative force behind the space? Myself, Chris Jones our General Manager, Sam Bennett our Membership Manager and Steve Firmstone our Estates Manager.
Who designed the spa area? We did! We wanted to keep as many of the Georgian features as possible as we feel that sets us apart from many spas who are based either in basement rooms or featureless rooms. We are very proud of our heritage and wanted to make the most of it along with the views over the golf course. We visited lots of spas in the area and consulted with experienced spa therapists over the layout of the treatment rooms themselves to ensure they worked for the therapists as well as the guests.
What was the design brief?
We wanted to create a unique destination spa that feels luxurious yet welcoming for people on spa days as well as those visiting for basic treatments such as waxing and eyebrows! Modern elegance within a beautifully classic Georgian framework!
Tell me about the ‘unique selling points’ of the spa?
We are the only actual ‘spa destination’ in the Exeter area offering the world-renowned ESPA skincare and treatments. Our spa is located at Exeter Golf and Country Club which has a unique location in that it is just minutes from Exeter city centre and the M5 motorway, yet feels like you are in the countryside once there. Wear Park Spa is on the second floor of our stunning Georgian mansion house with views of the golf course and a fabulous restaurant just downstairs, perfect for lunch, dinner or a decadent afternoon tea.
What do you do that differs from your competition?
There are many lovely salons in Exeter and a couple of spas, however none of them offer ESPA, which we consider to be the best product, and none of them offer a country environment in the city, with plentiful on-site (free!) parking…and that is a great benefit to avoid the dash through town with a makeup free post-facial face!
Why did you choose ESPA?
ESPA felt like the right product for us from the word go. We investigated many brands however none of them came close. We love ESPA because it is so natural, it is British and their standards of excellence are the highest we could find. Their training both for the spa therapists and reception team are thorough and motivational. I don’t know anyone who has used ESPA products or experienced an ESPA treatment and not absolutely loved it.
Are you introducing any new treatments, therapies, product ranges, visiting experts?
We will be expanding our treatment menu in April, offering many more ESPA treatments including pre-natal, ESPA deep tissue massages and a wider range of facials.
Do you do anything different because of location / proximity to the golf course? Maybe something dedicated to golfing?
We are looking at introducing sport specific treatments for our golfers, tennis and squash players, gym users and swimmers. We have been really pleased with the response from our club members who have truly embraced our new spa, enjoying treatments, ESPA products and gifts.
Have you treated any famous golfers?
We haven’t! However we would like to!
What is proving to be the most popular? Are you seeing a trend in bookings?
Christmas was very busy for us. We sold a huge number of gift vouchers and completely sold out of our Christmas Gift Sets which was fantastic. From a treatment point of view, massage is proving very popular, as are manicures and facials. However more than all of that, spa retreats seem to be our top seller.
Tell us the advantages and disadvantages of having the swimming pool and steam rooms in a different area?
Wear Park Spa is located within a member’s leisure club, however the spa is obviously open to non-members as well. Our swimming pools, steam room and saunas are available for our members to use and can be used by spa visitors when booked in advance. However, to us the most important part of a spa visit is the treatment itself and not a dip in the pool. We may run seasonal offers later in the year when our gorgeous outdoor pool is open so spa guests can enjoy relaxing on a sun lounger within the Victorian walled garden surrounding the outdoor pool! It’s a like a holiday in a day!
The changing rooms on the bottom floor are in need of a little revamp – is this in the future plans? Any other future projects / plans for the spa?
Indeed!! The changing rooms are on a list of many developments we have planned for the spa and Exeter Golf and Country Club as a whole. We cannot wait to get started in the New Year. We are going to refurbish the restaurant as well so it is as fabulous as the food under our new Head Chef.
You have some really great staff – Did it take long to find your existing team? Do you have any advice for Spa Managers when sourcing staff?
We have been very lucky with our spa team. We were very selective when it came to the team. Personality and passion is top of the list when it comes to recruitment across the club as a whole. With our wealth of experience in the hospitality industry we know that people make the difference, which is why people are at the heart of everything we do. Yes their skills and experience are important, but without personality those important relationships do not develop. A successful spa is built upon relationships – especially when attached to a member’s club like here. We want our spa guests to come back, and importantly recommend us to their friends.
What marketing initiatives have you been employing?
We have incorporated our spa marketing into the marketing for the club as a whole, as well as individual promotions. Facebook plays a huge part in our marketing success and has really helped spread the word. We have over 2300 people following our Facebook page and enjoy some great engagement with our members and non-members via the page. Billboards, bus rears and traditional magazine advertising have also helped.
In the run up to announcing the spa back in October we ran a week long campaign with a teaser released once a day. It prompted some real interest and excitement when we finally announced we were developing an ESPA spa here in Exeter.
We had a fantastic launch event with over 100 guests, and had some great direct mailing to the local houses surrounding the golf course positioning the spa as their local spa.
How do you keep your staff inspired and motivated?
The spa team have seen the treatment rooms develop from the meeting rooms they once were. They understand our plans to develop the spa more with the possibility of extending along the entire first floor so we can offer 8 or 9 treatment rooms. This combined with the fantastic ESPA and Jessica training seems to have inspired the team to succeed. It is about ownership and helping them realise their potential and how their efforts directly link to the success of the spa.
Are there any eco-friendly practises in place?
The fact that we have ‘recycled’ rooms is a great start. Rather than build a new spa from scratch we wanted to make the most of what we have. From an eco-friendly point of view the spa fits into the practises of the rest of the club for example reducing energy usage and water.
What is your mantra?
Consistency, commitment and a constant view to the future.
Your management philosophies?
Your perfect day, every day is Exeter Golf and Country Club’s promise. We are lucky to be located at such a unique, beautiful and convenient location and we are planning, developing and working hard to ensure all areas of the club are of the highest possible standard. We feel very proud of the spa as we feel we have achieved that in the treatment rooms and relaxation room. We have a supportive and enthusiastic team who share our management vision to offer the best spa, leisure and restaurant destination in the region. We appreciate the efforts of our team and colleagues and by doing that to continue to drive forward with this shared goal.
Thank you for your time…
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