Spa News Dubai

Ernst & Young introduces the region's first monthly spa benchmark report

Spa treatments booked in Dubai increase by 7% from January to March 2009

Share of day spa visitors increasing as compared to visits by hotel guests

Innovative measure RevPATH (Revenue Per Available Treatment Hour) unveiled

Dubai, 04 May, 2009: On the eve of the Arabian Travel Market, Ernst & Young announced the introduction of the region's first monthly benchmarking initiative for spa operations. The Spa Benchmark Survey Report tracks and compiles the performance of Dubai's 5-star hotel spas on a monthly and year-to-date basis. The monthly reports, which are free-of-cost to data contributors, will begin with January through March 2009 data.

It appears that the popularity of visiting spas has not diminished as consumers are increasingly looking for ways to manage stress. This is validated by survey results, which indicate an increase in the number of spa treatments booked by 7 per cent from January to March 2009. However, consumers are becoming more price-sensitive as treatment revenue increased only by 4 per cent over the same period.

The business mix of spa guests appears to be shifting towards day spa visitors. Within beach hotels, the year-to-date percentage split of spa treatments booked by hotel guests versus non-hotel guests is 56 and 44 per cent. In city hotels, the year-to-date percentage split of spa treatments booked by hotel guests versus non-hotel guest is 47 and 53 per cent. These percentages of spa treatments booked by hotel guests in both types of hotels are down from 60% and above, as estimated by spa operators last year. This trend could be a result of a decline in hotel occupancies along with hotel guests tightening their belts due to lower travel budgets. It also indicates a greater interest for spa visits among Dubai's resident population in response to special packages offered by spas that target residents.

Paul Arnold, Director, Transaction Advisory Services, Real Estate, Hospitality & Leisure of Ernst & Young Middle East underlined the need for establishing benchmarks within the spa sector. He said: There has been an absence of consistent metrics to measure performance within the spa industry. To fill this void, we have undertaken this new benchmark initiative. The data collected aims to give spa operators and hotels a chance to review their operations objectively. It enables operators to benchmark them against existing standards in Dubai. They will also be able to better communicate their performance to industry stakeholders."

Nikita Sarkar, spa specialist with the Ernst & Young Middle East Hospitality and Leisure team states: An innovative, and as yet relatively unused metric covered in the Spa Benchmark Report is the RevPATH or Revenue Per Available Treatment Hour. This is conceptually similar to the RevPAR (Revenue per available room) metric currently used by hotels. The measure allows for true comparison of operational performance over different types of spas by presenting revenue generated over a time period of 60 minutes."

The Ernst & Young Spa Benchmark Survey Report tracks ten key metrics, designed to standardize operational performance and reporting within the spa sector. Some of these metrics are in use internally at spas, while some others are recommended due to their commonality across different types of spas so as to allow benchmarking.

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