Hot topics - 10/09/2010
EmotionSpa magazine: interview with Hervé Colly, creator of Nymphéa spa software solution
Hervé Colly, over the past ten years you've witnessed and contributed to the emergence of spas in France and overseas with the creation of Nymphéa spa software. In your opinion, what's needed to manage a spa properly?
Hervé Colly: The person carrying the project must make it their priority to conduct an in-depth market study and draw up a detailed business plan to optimise costs and get the most out of the space available and their staff's time. They should have a clear view of the costs related to each of the treatments and rituals in order to know the net cost, manage treatment room and boutique stock efficiently and have complete control of its profit margins. Then the spa manager must have precise control panels that give key indicators relating to spa attendance, customer behaviour and expectations... And develop its range of treatments, cosmetic products, equipment and staff training accordingly.
In short, effective management - and profitability in particular - requires a clear view of the business and its potential. Nymphéa, with its features, helps the manager in all areas of spa operations.
How do you assist spa managers in their role?
HC: Sequoiasoft, with experience of nearly 150 installations in all different types of spas (from 2 treatment rooms upwards), offers various tools and services to facilitate the running of a spa.
The first step involves helping to formalise the establishment's requirements and carrying out a preliminary analysis of the settings to be used in Nymphéa spa software, which will structure the resource planning, client management, billing, tracking of gift vouchers, loyalty point management, application of an e-mail or SMS marketing strategy... All in line with the establishment's practices. The aim is to make the spa profitable, and a suitable software tool makes a significant contribution towards achieving this. Nymphéa is capable of grouping together all useful information in one location, and it generates statistics, extractions and graphs to give an overview of the spa's activity and its development. The manager needs to know how the spa will progress in 6 months, 1 year, 3 years... And think about which directions to take.
The second step in our assistance is the installation service provided by our staff, who are familiar with the establishment's activity. They also provide training to software users (approved by training organisations) and operational support 365 days a year. As a software developer, Sequoiasoft is able to deal with additional development requests, which may be shared among several of our clients or specific to one client.
What recent new features have been added to Nymphéa to help make spas more profitable?
HC: Through observation of customer behaviour, in parallel with our hotel and tourist accommodation management activity, we've noticed the increasing appetite for online shopping.
Online booking of treatments and rituals has real potential and plenty of advantages: firstly, it generates extra sales, reaches out to a wider customer base, works 24/7, and, above all, reduces the time spent on direct sales in the spa. Recognising the advantages of this marketing vehicle, we created E-Nymphea, an online booking module that operates in real time. Online customers have access to the module from the spa's website, they choose their treatment or ritual, book according to availability and pay online. The services ordered are saved in Nymphéa and automatically allocated in the spa schedule in real time.
We've also added new modules to Nymphéa spa software, such as SMS management. This new feature lets you send, for example, an SMS confirmation to all clients with appointments in the next few hours. This "smart" SMS tells the recipient the date, time and type of treatment booked, as well as the therapist's name, and can also be illustrated with a special offer or news of the latest innovation. This option significantly reduces the number of forgotten appointments and delays, and shortens the time spent at reception, as the client already has all the information to hand... It's a real asset in customer service.
To the wealth of existing features, we've recently added a waiting list management process with notifications, a loyalty module with printout of membership cards and an access control solution.
Finally, Nymphéa has a gym/fitness activity management module that meets the specific booking needs related to group classes.
Finally, what changes do you see in how spas are managed?
HC: Spa managers are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of a management tool for their establishment. Many schools offer a spa management course. The benefit of such courses is to "professionalise" the occupation, and they include training in management systems dedicated to spas, such as Nymphéa. This means that students acquire a computer skill that's specific to their profession and they understand better the need for such a tool to help them with their future responsibilities. This teaching follows the trend of the market. We're witnessing a change in the management approach of spa managers. With the dynamism of the market and increased competition, spa managers need to define a precise strategy for their establishment, including treatment options, training of therapists, ambiance, design, range of cosmetics, packages, etc... Adapting to and meeting the expectations of the chosen customer segment. The important thing is to define a feasible concept combining fixed objectives with profitability. Nymphéa spa software has been designed with this in mind. Above all it's a tool that helps the manager to manage! Among other things, it helps optimise profit margins and resources, reduce time spent on administrative tasks, manage promotional actions and more...
By Isabelle Charrier