Interview with Citylife Chiang Mai
Why did you decide to create SPAromdee?
Why did you decide to create SPAromdee?
Hello and welcome to SPAromdee. My name is Nick and I am from England. I visited Thailand for the first time only 3yrs ago but one brief trip to Chiang Mai during a whistle stop tour around Thailand, opened my eyes to the real Thailand and not just a blinkered view of the beaches, the girls and the beer bars that I saw in Phuket and Bangkok.
It wasn’t long before I decided I wanted to move here and soon started the process of trying to live my dream.
I decided to look for a business based, if not directly, then loosely around my experience in construction and design . My search had me looking at guest houses, hotels, restaurants, bars, but following many differing advices from expats these were not the businesses to exploit the floundering tourism trade.
To my surprise I came across this building which had been converted already to a certain degree into a massage shop, but still left enough opportunity to utilise my building and design experience to develop and further improve the premises.
But what do I know about Spas, and massage and beauty treatments?, well ..nothing….at the time I first saw the building I thought a body scrub was another name for a loofah and a body wrap was a dance….and I cant tell you what I thought hot herbal balls were…. but that was then………….
So the building and design work was easy for me, but I was clearly out of my depth when it came to designing a massage menu, choosing essential oils, studying body scrubs and having to choose outfits for the therapists. My business partner Wasu, already an experienced high end hotel guest service Supervisor was helping me with this part of the set up and I soon realised she was the catalyst to move the business forward and I am now so pleased she has joined the team as our reception supervisor,..
Now we are open for business, and with a wide selection of certified therapist available to us, we can now pride ourselves on providing a very high standard of service and products, and at very reasonable and competitive rates.
But It is not for us to tell you how different we are, you must see for yourself and experience the difference; then you can be the judge.”
“How can customers contact you?”
“And what time do you open?”
“We open 11am -9pm every day generally but if a customers comes in at 9pm for a 3hr package treatment then of course we will welcome them but we always recommend to book in advance only an hour as this can avoid disappointment for the customer and it helps us to prepare for your visit in advance.”
“Do you run Special promotions/offers?”
“Since we opened only 6 months ago, we have maintained our ‘ 2 promotions a month’ policy and we are always thinking of new offers that maybe other spas/massage salons don’t do. Currently we are running an offer where you can have 30 minutes free if you take 90 mins . This really does make a 2 hour thai/oil/scrub the best value you can find anywhere at this level. We also offer a combi thai and aroma oil massage, 2hrs for 750bt, saving you 25% off our regular prices.
We also now offer ‘multibuy’ coupons, so if you like thai massage or oil massageor a scrub you can pay for 5 random treatments up front saving you upto 40%; doubling the benefits in your wallet and for your body at the same time.
In april we hope to repeat again the huge success of our unique package offers on a local social website. This greatly raised our profile, and brought us many customers from Chiang Rai; Bangkok, Phuket and even Malaysia. Please check our facebook pages for updates.”
“Why are you different to other spas?”
“In the strictest sense we are not a spa because we do not offer the usual range of spa and beauty treatments, and sadly we don’t have 2 rai of lush gardens., but our previous guests can probably answer this question better. But our guests and therapists tell us we are very special and different to the rest, in service, attention to detail, cleanliness and professionalism. We don’t cut any corners for anyone or anything.
Many of our guests are coming to us via word of mouth, customers send friends, work colleagues, parents, and we are proud to say our reputation is growing rapidly and happily at the expense of having to advertise as much as we thought.”
“What special treatments do you do/ special products you use?”
“As we are a fledgling business, still finding our feet in such a highly competitive field. our previous experience was a combination of customer service and construction and architecture, so presently our massage menu is quite standard, consisting of foot/thai/head back and shoulder/hot herbal ball/aroma oil massage; we have 3 body scrubs and a thai mud body wrap, four main packages and three 90min mini packages. Our products though are not standard, they are high quality and this is why we offer such great value for money.
However we have plans to introduce other treatments for next season such as facials, hand and foot spa as we realise these treatments are very popular. “
“What is the environment/ atmosphere of your spa?”
“We are on the busy Sirmangklajarn road, but we have tried to create a soothing and tranquil environment from the moment you cross our bridge. Outside there is a small garden/decking area in which to sit and listen to the music, watch the fish, or our miniature ‘nam tok’.
You can leave the stress behind you and take a further step inside and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere with background music and tasteful Lanna décor consistant with an air of relaxation. We invite you to sample our essential oils, the exotic herbs and thai massage techniques that will refresh and uplift you for sure. At SPAromdee we want you to let our therapists indulge you with beauty and health treatments that for sure will relax and rejuvenate you.
We think it will be an experience you will surely want to return to, again and again”
“And what about the skills and experience of your staff?”
“We have about 35 female and 15 male therapists available to us, with backgrounds in top end, and mid range spas and massage salons, and many working in the hospitals in a professional massage/physio capacity. Each has had many years training and experience, fully certified; but although this is very important, it is the opinion of our customers that dictates, and each customer is asked afterwards for their opinion on the therapist and other aspects of our salon.
We are now finding returning customers asking for a particular therapist but also we are now able to ‘tailor’ the therapist to the customer depending on their sex, build, preference, condition etc”
“How do you treat customers?”
“We treat each customer as our most important one that day, not a number, offering personalised but non intrusive customer service with attention to the smallest of details, whether it be the volume of the music, allowing a guest to borrow an umbrella, finding a taxi or a good restaurant when they finish. We treat our guests as our friends, and when they return, we have remembered their names, their preferences, their previous therapist, and even the oil they chose before
In this business, we appreciate that discretion, respect and full confidentiality is of prime importance. We want a customer to feel like they can return here again and again
Every customer will receive a loyalty card, and unlike other spas, when you visit us only 3 times we give you a 1hr free massage, so we are able target the tourist who is only here for a few days and give them reason to relax after their busy days. Longer stay guests are tending to save up their ‘free hours’ and together with another treatment are organisng themselves with a really cheap package”
“What type of people are you trying to attract?”
“Of course we are able to service the needs of everyone from all walks of life but being based in the Nimmen/Sirimangklajarn area, by our very location we are naturally targetting those people who like to stay in this semi cosmopolitan area and like the nice restaurants, boutique shops and hotels, our prices reflect this to a certain extent., but the level of service we provide here is more akin to the Japanese, Koreans, middle class Thais and a few retired farang expats. These are the people that are at ease with massage treatments, its in their culture and tend to place a higher priority on taking care of their bodies. We are already seeing the ‘new generation’ of younger Thai people. becoming more affluent; being influenced, by the West, the media, now prepared to invest in their health, dentals, cosmetics and this is great for the city, showing its doesn’t have to depend on tourism for survival.
However as we say above, we welcome everyone and exclude no one, our brochures are displayed in every tourist stand and many hotels and guesthouses in the city and every effort would be made to secure transport for tourists in these areas..”
“Why should people visit your spa?”
“‘The best Value for money’ tripadvisor”
“We want everyone out there to realise that high quality service and products does not have to come at a price. We are probably a third of the price of the big name spas and the hotel spas and our products are of identical quality. They are all from reputable sources, eco friendly and absolutely no added chemicals, and the quality is very quickly apparent.
Since we opened in September we have been working with the Ministry of Public Health and we are now proud to announce our accreditation in achieving the Thai massage standards for products and service quality, management and health and safety…but as we say, even though our standard is high we want SPAromdee to be affordable to everyone.
So if you have time in your busy schedules please come and visit us.
Remember; getting a massage can do you a world of good; and getting a massage frequently can do even more. This is the beauty of body treatments. Taking part in this form of regular self care can play a huge part in how healthy you will be and how youthful you will remain with each passing year.
Budgeting time and money for your body at regular intervals is truly an investment in your health,…….So please come along and give your body the treatment it deserves.
”and what about the future”?
“As I said earlier, neither of us had any experience with spas 6 months ago; we realise we are just the latest of a long list of reputable and well established spas here. If we can make our mark and continue making a good reputation, then we will have much more control in who customers choose. We take each day as it comes, thinking of new ideas, how to improve but as with any new business I was advised to give it two years before deciding whether it has been a success or not; so we still have a long way to go. Then maybe SPAromdee 2 or SPAromdee Phuket, will be on my drawing board.