The newly refurbished spa at the Meath property is providing a welcome boost to profits
A well-managed hotel spa offering an extensive range of treatments and services will help increase both your customer offering and your revenue. That’s what Spa Manager Dara Mulhooly and the rest of the team at the newly refurbished spa at Johnstown Estate have found since opening ‘The Spa’. During lockdown, €3.5 million was spent on the new amenity, which features Elemis products and equipment from spa specialist Gharieni. Stand-out features include a rooftop thermal suite, a Rasul mud chamber, a Quartz sand bath and a spa café.
With the refurb, the aim was to position The Spa as one of the top destination spa hotels in Ireland and that’s what we’ve achieved, says Dara. “Weekends are pretty much fully booked all the time and mid-week business is strong and improving all the time. After the past couple of years we’ve had, people just want to get out and experience the luxury of a spa again. The whole concept of wellness has become such a huge industry. We’re finding that people are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of self-care,” said Dara.
The Spa at Johnstown Estate is considered a fundamental business segment of the property, says Dara. “When we reopened, the majority of people booking a trip here were coming to use the spa. We work very closely with the sales department and between us, have developed a variety of packages for guests. The aim is to give the guest as much choice as possible.”
It takes 43 full-time and part-time members of staff to keep the spa operating like clockwork. “We’re really fortunate in that we have 24 talented therapists, which is amazing considering how difficult it is to get staff at the moment. We put a lot of effort into staff retention and team training. Providing staff with benefits and opportunities to advance their careers has worked for us when it comes to retaining our staff. Some of our therapists have been with us for over 12 years.” The Spa at Johnstown Estate is also home to Elemis’ Irish training hub. “Trainers are frequently over from the UK, so that provides our therapists with lots of opportunities to upskill. One of our own therapists has actually trained to be an Elemis trainer, so she’s able to train the team on site. In addition, over the past year we’ve worked closely with Dunboyne College and our local Education and Training Board to facilitate our staff to complete courses, not necessarily in beauty or treatments but perhaps in management. Education is key and it’s something we take very seriously here at Johnstown Estate.” Keeping staff engaged and interested reduces the risk of them leaving the business, says Dara. “If you’re coming into work and doing the same thing day in day out, if nobody is investing in your future and education, you’re likely to become demotivated. It’s so important to give people opportunities. We’ve found that some staff members aren’t interested in additional training and that’s fine, but for the staff that are, we’re providing those opportunities.”
Huge effort has gone into the ‘journey’ that guests take when they enter the spa. A new dining area, complete with a chef on site, provides guests with Afternoon Tea or a light bite. All treatment rooms feature beds and equipment from Gharieni, while three specialist Gharieni beds offer guests an additional experience. “The high standard of customer service that we offer our guests is so important. When a guest comes into us for a spa experience, there are so many different elements to that experience but the overall goal is that they leave relaxed and refreshed, having benefitted from their experience.”