20 May 2021|Crisis Management, Latest Posts, Launching a business
North Wales has a major wellbeing boost with the arrival of the recently opened Wave Garden Spa, a new £1.25m 650 square metre luxury destination spa.
Located within the grounds of the Adventure Parc Snowdonia in the Conwy Valley – an award-winning adventure resort which is home to the world’s first inland surf lagoon – the Wave Garden Spa has been carefully designed to make the most of its natural resources and the magnificent landscapes of Snowdonia. Complete with state-of-the-art facilities and an environment where its guests will be able to relax and unwind as they enjoy the sound of waves and views of the mountains and forests, the Wave Garden Spa is already very well received and said to be the wellbeing opening of 2021.
The last year, however, hasn’t come without its challenges, with the Covid-19 pandemic wreaking havoc with the travel and hospitality industry. That’s why we spoke with managing director Andy Ainscough and his director and sister Danni Hitchen on the challenges, tips and tricks when it comes to opening a spa during challenging times.
Our advice is to have a healthy contingency. The spa had a total investment of £1.25 million and we were careful to ensure that we invested in the very best suppliers and support possible. Going on recommendations and knowledge within the industry, we engaged highly regarded Curveline Design to help with the build, and Claire Caddick at Spaticulate to assist with spa consultancy. Where you know you lack insight or expertise yourself, make sure that you are asking someone who really knows their stuff and can guide you in the right direction. Investing in people is as important in investing in the bricks and mortar.
We always knew that we wanted to have a destination with wide appeal. Our phase one Surf Snowdonia and Adventure Parc Snowdonia, which launched in 2015, was all about adventure. Phase two was weighted towards relaxation. Common to both of these elements was the theme of wellbeing and getting close to nature. This is where the idea for our spa was born.
Our market research involved a lot of spa visits and looking into what was trending and selling in the market. One thing that became very clear early on was the emerging trend for wellbeing and forest bathing. There was a clear inclination towards being closer to nature, which was something that we knew we could achieve with our unique location. One of the taglines that we use for Adventure Parc Snowdonia is that we offer experiences that are ‘inspired by nature’, and we wanted our spa to reflect the same themes and values.
Everything in our design has followed on from that start point. From our natural backdrop of water with our surf lagoon and mountain location, to zero chlorine water and eco-friendly products and materials, the Wave Garden Spa reflects our values as well as what consumers are seeking out.
Another emerging trend that our market research illustrated to us was that the wellbeing market was growing amongst men. We know that we have a very compelling offer with our adventures like inland surfing, mountain biking, paddle boarding and freshwater swimming and our male audience is already strong. Therefore, we knew our spa had to appeal to both male and female guests.
Spending time on good quality market research has been imperative in our journey to creating the Wave Garden Spa. The results from our research have become important markers for the development of the spa.
Define Solid USP
Ensuring that we defined our USP early in the process was incredibly important. For us, location is everything and that was our main focus with the design of the spa. Therefore, when it came to designing our Himalayan Salt Sauna for example, we built height into the design. The seating in the sauna is spread over several levels, which look out through a larger picture window across the waves of the surf lagoon – the higher you go, the hotter it gets. We are the only spa where you can go for a surf in the mountains before booking in for a full body massage and finish with lagoon-side bubbly for your sundowner.
Our Top Tip
Always have a vision. Be true to yourself and think about how you can grow a sustainable brand. In the spa and hospitality industry, you are selling a story and a lifestyle, so pay attention to the detail that will help you tell that story credibly and consistently.
Covid has thrown a spanner in the works when it comes to first-year projections of all developments around the country. However, the Wave Garden Spa has the advantage of being part of an established business with an experienced team driving it. Although it is a worrying time for all of us who work in the hospitality industry, we are confident that we are well placed to emerge from the pandemic in an exciting and strong position.