Tell us about Rayya Wellness and what makes it a unique proposition?
Rayya’s Vision was built on the idea to become the first hotel wellness brand in the region. The UAE has an oversupply of spa centres, but we still lack the wellness factor. After the pandemic, wellbeing and immunity have been a dominant factor in people’s lives, and Rayya’s concept indeed caters to precisely that.
For us, it is all about genuine client care, and we strive to have a lasting impact on our clients’ health and wellbeing. We recognise each guest, face, and body as unique and strive to customise every treatment to individual goals. With all the holistic spa therapies as well as state of the art treatments such as the immune-boosting Cryo and IV therapy, Rayya Wellness is covering every aspect of Wellbeing.
Tell us about spa trends in the region. What are some new treatments we’ll be seeing pick up?
We see a clear shift to a more experience-based spa approach. Envision a Bedouin picnic under the stars coupled with a desert and scrub in the empty quarter. Your therapist uses local dates that you handpicked to prepare your facial, including a camel milk mask. Now your dune bashing home instead of going to the relaxation area. Secondly, the trends are set to modern, practical, and time-efficient treatments no matter the cost. IV therapy and Cryo are up there.
Wellness has become a vital aspect of health since the pandemic. Please tell us your thoughts.
I would say that it was always there but, I believe that everyone ‘individually’ now realised what it means; deep down now, they have learned that wellness is more than just a spa treatment. That it sickens you to be deprived of such basic things like seeing your loved ones or your buddy in school. We are indeed regularly defining the word wellness at the annual Global Wellness Summit (GWS), and believe it or not, until very recently, no one even knew how to explain it. Wellness encompasses so many aspects, and as of last year, we decided that is also needs to contain people and the planet.
How is the spa industry recovering post-pandemic?
In short, “as expected”, there are three categories of people in my eyes. One, the scary cat, the ones that are wearing a mask over a mask, Two, the neutrals, they are cautious and need to be educated and want to feel safe, they need assurance and clear thumbs up signals from the spa of their choice, and three, the denier. They never cared, and they never will; they live on as if nothing happened
So technically, the industry needed to change their marketing towards two audiences, the first two. Everything else has pushed positively by the already addressed factors of well-being needs post-pandemic.
What were some of the challenges you faced in the past 18 months?
This is a question that I best answer in short as there obviously was a lot of anxiety. I think as a young entrepreneur, you are in a different position than an employee. My biggest challenge was the team and the daily stress of a glass marble approach of what would happen.
How can you be transparent and honest if you have an open book in front of you? I leaned myself very far out of the window and announced in March 2020 that no one would lose their job, and as a team, we managed to come out in 2021 more vital than ever with a full headcount.
We had many obstacles to overcome, but in the end, we made strategic business decisions that have proven to be correct.