Spa businesses quick expanding in India

July 21st, 2008 - 2:34 pm ICT by Bupha Ravirot  

Moving from unaffordable places, in exotic locales, spa now becoming more common and accessible in India with no more shocking prices.

The idea came as urban professionals think of ways to beat soaring anxiety levels, stress-relieving treatments at wellness spas are no more a luxury.

“The objective (of locating them in the heart of a city) is to make more number of people visit these spas, which is not always possible if they are far,” said Sanjay Jain chairman of Floriana Group.

Floriana Group, a New Delhi-based company with an annual turnover of Rs2,300 crore that is planning to launch 300 spas by 2010, with an investment of nearly Rs500 crore from its internal accruals.

A decade ago Spa industry in India started to expand and steadily grown, now has diversified into a range of categories: resort spas, typically within a resort and mostly catering to resident guests; destination spas that offer lifestyle changes; day spas where one can get a quick treatment in a couple of hours; and medical spas that offer specific treatments.

The Floriana group’s Lambency Chandan Sparsh chain is primarily looking at a franchise model for growth along with a few company-owned outlets, major cities and tier II and III towns and the targeted. The company first spa located in Ahmedabad and on 18 July launched Bangalore. It s planing to penetrate cities such as Lucknow, Indore, Jammu, Surat and Jalan-dhar. Each spa is about 3,500 sq. ft in area and will see investment of around Rs2crore.

“I am hoping to break even in 90 days after the opening of each spa, though the revenues would differ from city to city,” Jain said. He plans to make spas affordable for most of the people and replicate the mass retail models of brands such as Subhiksha and Pantaloons. Lambency Chandan Sparsh chain is expected to be biggest spa chain in India.

“Success of spas will be determined by pricing and quality of services” Jain said.

Clearly indian spa industries only concentrated on cities of business and travel such as New Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai and prices appeared to be very high for people to afford.

“Appropriate pricing of such treatments is crucial in day spas, where you are basically encouraging people for a walk-in experience. Increasing real estate prices, extensive training of therapists and use of quality products pose a combined challenge to make such spa treatments at a competitive price,” said Jesper Hougaard, managing director of the Mangalore-based Serena Spa, and a director on the board of the US-based International Spa Association (ISA).

Spa pricing ranged from approximately Rs. 500 to 2,500. For example, a facial at your neighbourhood salon would be around Rs600. At spas such as Serena, they are priced at a minimum of Rs2,300, but day spas such as Lambency have taken the middle path, pricing a basic facial at Rs1,200.

Due to the growing demand for health and wellness spas number of international spa management companies such as Angsana Resorts and Spa, Thai Privilege Spa Co. Ltd and Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts have come into the country.

Bangalore-based real estate developer Brigade Group, which is coming up with a Rs100 crore spa resort in Chikmaglur, has tied up with Singapore-based Angsana Spa and Banyan Tree to run it.

“They have the expertise to manage and run such chains and so it is wise to rope them in for such ventures.”said Vineet Verma, chief executive officer of Brigade Hospitality Services.

“The ISA is planning to educate the spa community in India including spa owners and therapists more aware of the norms and making the parameters of running a spa more stringent,” says Houggard. “A beauty parlour offering some massages is not a spa.”

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