Spa Services In the Headlines – But In An Unexpected Way
Washington Post, “AIG Spa Trip Fuels Fury on Hill”
MSNBC, “White House calls AIG Spa Trip “Despicable”
Normally I would be applauding anyone going to a spa. But in this case, I am as outraged as everyone else!
By now most people have probably heard that 70 corporate executives of AIG, American International Group, Inc. went on a retreat to the St. Regis Resort in Monarch Beach, California just a week after the $85 billion government (that would be us taxpayers) bailout. AIG spent $440,000 in total. $23,380 of that was for spa services.
I did a little research and a bit of math. It looks like each executive was responsible for spending about $6285 and $330 of that was for spa services. At Spa Gaucin, which is the name of the spa at Monarch Beach, you can get a 60 minute Therapeutic Massage for $185 or a 90 minute one for $275. You can get a Coastal Stone Massage for 60 minutes at $190 or for 90 minutes at $285. Manicures are anywhere between $35 – $70 and pedicures are from $60 – $90.
It appears then that each executive got a 60 minute massage and a manicure and pedicure or a 90 minute massage with a manicure or pedicure. If not all the executives went to the spa, a few executives might have gotten a couple of massages.
Now what can the spa industry learn from all of this? If I were to try and find anything positive to see in this, it would be that most executive retreats these days are including spa services. It appears as if group bookings are now incorporating the spa just as our industry trends have predicted these past years.
Less encouraging is the fact that people are still associating spa with pampering rather than wellness. In this AIG fiasco, the spa was seen as totally indulgent. We as an industry have more work to do for spa to be seen as a “need” rather than a “want.”
Here is a write up I would have rather seen reported in the newspapers:
“AIG executives have been humbled by the embarrassing need to be bailed out by the government. As a company they are embarking on a plan to repay every dollar as well as give the taxpayers a good return on their money. They will work extra hours to strengthen their company, they will forgo raises and bonuses, and make sure this never happens again. In order to be in good physical and mental shape to carry this out, the company has encouraged all executives to enroll in stress reduction classes and to take part regularly in massage therapy which has been proven to help reduce stress. Executives are paying for spa services out of their own pockets.”
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