World Class |

2 mins

World Class

International spa directors, managers and hoteliers came together to share ideas and explore innovation at the World Spa & Wellness Convention 2024

Networking, knowledge-sharing and innovating were the order of the day as the World Spa & Wellness Convention returned to ExCeL London on March 2–4. This year, the event ran across three days with intimate workshops and a private dinner for guests on Saturday, followed by a packed two-day programme on Sunday and Monday. Standout sessions included a panel on unlocking the secrets to talent retention, and effective hiring strategies, with Michael Newcombe, global vice president – wellness at Four Seasons, and Teresa O’Farrell, global head of wellness and spa at The Dorchester Collection.

Newcombe shared how Four Seasons founder Isadore Sharp still hosts and speaks and does the first dance at the general managers’ conference. “Be the tone. Be the leader, be the emotional connect to your business, is my advice,” he said. “Your values have to come through the employees’ behaviour. Ours happens to be a golden rule: treat others as you wish to be treated yourself.”

O’Farrell shared details of The Dorchester Collection’s Employee Emotional Needs course, designed to drive engagement, “because we know if a team member is engaged, they’re going to be more motivated to work.”

“We looked at our engagement scores, exit interviews, feedback, personal development plans. We held targeted workshops and consulted with psychologists and CIPD experts.” Out of this research, nine emotional needs were identified, summarised by the key words significance, pride, driven, connection, impact, confidence, variety, care and empowered.

During another lively panel on how to ignite your success with new avenues for profitability and relevance, speakers included Amy McDonald of consultancy Under a Tree, and Amanda Al-Masri, global vice president of wellness at Hilton, who shared, “The piece that feels obvious but often gets forgotten is not to lose track of what you already do. Build on those strengths, find ways to leverage them in the next thing you do.”

Joining together

Delegates praised the convention for the fresh ideas it gave them, as well as the relationships. John Nielsen, general manager, hotels and hospitality, at Five Elements Retreat in Bali, said, “It’s important for us to make it to the event because it’s about connecting with people. People come to you and seek trusted advice and vice versa.”

Jessica Grant Sloyan, spa and wellness director at Lucknham Park in the UK, added, “This is the biggest convention in the spa and wellness industry. There are people and brands from all over the world.”

Todd Shaw, senior vice president business development at Fountain Life, and chair of ISPA said, “We all face the same challenges. We have the same types of passions, understanding and heartfelt emotions, so it’s easy to make great connections at this event.”

This article appears in April 2024

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April 2024
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