Are spa and massage treatments now a must for the best hotels?

Hotel careers can be extremely varied: from managers to chefs and bar staff, all types of jobs are available at hotels big and small.

But it could be that those looking for hospitality employment are starting to see a growing number of hotel vacancies targeted at those with expertise in the areas of spa treatments, massage and other health and beauty therapies.

It seems that more often than not hotels ranging from mid-market to luxury are now offering a whole range of spa and complementary therapies and many in the industry are now beginning to see this as a must for hotels wanting to stay competitive and keep up with consumer demand.

And as demand for such services continues to rise, hotel spas are becoming ever bigger and more luxurious.

For example, April this year saw the re-launch of the 269-bedroom Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa in Edinburgh following a multi-million pound refurbishment.

Among the new additions to the hotel is the One Spa facility, which is one of Europe's most advanced city spas

Spread across a six-storey space, the spa features 17 different treatment rooms and boasts state-of-the-art facilities including a shimmering rooftop hydropool and a thermal suite, along with an advanced gym and studio and a 19-metre swimming pool.

But it's not just large hotel groups that are starting to offer a wider range of spa services, boutique and smaller hotels can also get in on the act, even if it's just by hiring a massage therapist to treat guests.

Andrea Preston, massage expert and founder of The Treatment Room – a massage company based in Surrey, believes that growing demand for spa and massage services among hotel guests is a result of rising stress levels among the public and a growing realisation of the need to attend to matters of health and wellbeing.

"The rise in popularity in complementary therapies within western culture has grown significantly over the past decade," she says.

"It could be suggested that this is a result of people starting to listen to their bodies and also the shift towards the need to relax body and mind, through an increasingly stressful economy."

Meanwhile, a report released earlier this month by Hilton Hotels & Resorts found that the presence of a spa can offer a hotel a distinct competitive advantage in increasing bookings, driving revenue and attracting local customers beyond the overnight guest.

Based on a survey of 6,000 members of the public throughout the United States, Great Britain, Australia and China, the study revealed that nearly 50 per cent of people say the existence of a spa is an important factor in selecting a hotel.

"Spa is a key differentiator for us within both the leisure and business travel segments today," said Dave Horton, global head of Hilton Hotels & Resorts.

"This new research emphasises the importance of spas in the decision to book a hotel stay. Of particular note, we found that 69 percent of travellers said they were at least somewhat likely to visit the spa at their hotel."

The report also identified several characteristics about modern spa goers – including that they tend to be far more enlightened about the overall efficacy of spa treatments and related products than in the past and that men are making up an increasingly large proportion of the customer base.

For those who think they may want to seek hospitality work in the spa, massage and health and beauty sector there are several qualifications available that they might want to consider.

The Good Spa Guide advises that to gain employment in a general spa therapy position, you should expect to be asked for a recognised training certificate or diploma, with most spas requesting training at HND or NVQ level 3, or an equivalent, in spa therapy or related subject.

There are also some specific diplomas in beauty or spa therapy awarded by other examining bodies within the health and beauty industry which will also be accepted by spas.

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