Kellie Carriker spent nearly a decade in group sales before jumping over to her true passion: the spa. Now spa director at the Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort & Spa, Carriker oversees a brand-new, 24,000-square-foot facility. She's already implemented some new ideas with groups in mind.

CMI: Are groups using spas to their full potential?

Kellie Carriker: When I was a group sales manager, I noticed that the spa [environment] was not present throughout the resort. So I put together a group spa menu, everything from the ‘mini-mani’ to chair massages to spa meeting breaks. These spa options can enhance any group activity.

CMI: In other words, you're taking the spa to the attendee.

KC: Yes. For example, the mini-mani is a five-minute hand and arm massage followed by treatment with a body butter. We can create these body butters with any scent you choose. You might do it at a welcome reception and match the scents with cocktails such as a cranberry cosmo, champagne, or a caramel apple martini. For a dessert function, we've done crème brulee, key lime pie, cherries jubilee, you name it.

CMI: Are the men at corporate events lining up to get a mini-mani?

KC: Absolutely! We've also added two massages targeted to men: a sports massage and a golf massage.

CMI: How can meeting planners ensure that their spa appointments go smoothly?

KC: Block the appointments — or at least the time — far in advance. The last thing you want to do is promote the spa and then have attendees not get the treatment that they want.

CMI: How does your experience with the corporate incentive market help you to work with planners as spa director?

KC: Among the more challenging aspects of the meeting planner's job are outperforming previous meetings and creating the wow factor. Adding the mini-manis or booking a private yoga class on the beach can help to create lasting memories.

CMI: Are spa breaks catching on?

KC: We've had several groups looking for more healthful coffee breaks, hence the creation of the spa break. Add a chair massage, and you'll find a renewed, rejuvenated attendee walking into the next business session.

CMI: What are some spa break options?

KC: We have two: The Slim and Trim Spa Break, where we serve fruit smoothies made with low-fat yogurt; and the Jump Start Spa Break, where we serve protein smoothies and protein bars. Planners also can book a fitness instructor to lead attendees in a 15-minute de-stress and re-energize break.

CMI: Any budget-cutting tips to share with our readers?

KC: If you can push your business to our slower days (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday), you'll have a bit more leverage. We also do “one per 35”: You get one complimentary treatment for every 35 booked. You can also book shorter treatments. You can do 25-minute back, neck, and shoulder massages instead of a 50-minute full massage, for example. Or you can create a customized menu of 50-minute treatments, all at a flat rate, for your attendees.

All Things Spa

Venues in the News

Mountain Edge Resort & Spa

Mount Sunapee, N.H.

News: The Spa at Mountain Edge has completed an expansion that brings its total space to 8,000 square feet.

Specs: The resort has 47 guest rooms and a meeting room with 2,600 square feet of space.

Time Frame: Spa expansion completed in July 2007

Extra: The spa has a doctor on staff for noninvasive procedures such as photofacials, mesotherapy injections, and Botox and treatments.

Scrub Island

Scrub Island, British Virgin Islands

News: The Scrub Island resort, set on the 230-acre island of the same name, is the first resort development in the British Virgin Islands in more than 15 years.

Specs: In addition to a world-class spa, Scrub Island will have 26 two-bedroom suites, 12 villas, and 21 residences. The resort will also have the largest meeting space in the BVI, at 2,500 square feet, including a 2,145-square-foot ballroom. Wireless Internet is available throughout the island.

Time Frame: Scheduled to open in 2008

Extra: The resort will offer a 60-slip marina, four restaurants and bars, an amphitheater, and an astronomy observatory.

Marriott Bay Point Resort

Panama City, Fla.

The News: A new Serenity Spa opened at the resort in May 2007.

Specs: 11,000-square-foot, full-service spa, salon, and fitness center. Marriott Bay Point Resort offers 320 guest rooms, 40,000 square feet of meeting space, and two championship golf courses.

Extra: Serenity Spa features massage therapy, body treatments, wet treatment room with a Vichy shower, facials, and more.

The Inn on Fifth

Naples, Fla.

The News: The Spa on Fifth

Specs: The Spa is approximately 3,000 square feet and offers four treatment rooms with feng shui elements.

Extra: Spa treatment menu includes Swedish Zen Massage, Fire and Earth deep-tissue massage. The hotel has 87 rooms and 7,879 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space.

Time Frame: Opened 2005

Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa

Koloa, Hawaii

The News: The Anara Spa is expanding with the addition of five thatched-roof huts, to be used as treatment rooms.

Specs: The spa has 20,000 square feet of space. The Grand Hyatt features 602 guest rooms and 62,000 square feet of function space.

Time Frame: Spa huts to open this fall.

Adler Thermae Spa Resort

Orcia Valley, Tuscany, Italy

The News: Historic thermal spa combines traditional thermal spa and modern fitness resort.

Specs: Adler Thermae Spa Resort, 15 minutes from Pienza and Montelpuciano, offers a full range of thermal treatments and health and wellness packages, including Finnish sauna, herbal steam sauna, and a saline steam sauna. The hotel has 90 guest rooms and suites.

Extra: Seed oils, sheep's milk, and honey from the region are basic ingredients in the resort's Tuscan treatments.

The Abbey Resort, Marina, Conference Center & Spa

Fontana, Wis.

The News: The Fontana Spa was upgraded as part of a two-year, $40 million propertywide redevelopment completed in April. The resort has changed ownership and is now managed by Hostmark Hospitality Group.

Specs: The 35,000-square-foot spa offers more than 40 treatments. Abbey Resort has 334 guest rooms and is set on 90 acres. There is 40,000 square feet of meeting space in 32 rooms.

Time Frame: April 2007

News Makers:

  • Todd Bertka was hired as associate director of sales at the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau. Formerly, he held a similar post at the Hawaii Convention Center, working in the Chicago office.

  • The New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau has hired six new sales managers: Kelly Buchler, Yves Rougelot Clark, Jennifer Franz, Jennifer McDonald, Michelle Minyard, and Martha Martinez.

  • Elaine Williams was named senior national accounts manager at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. Most recently, she was interim general manager at facilities management company Aramark, located in the Morial Convention Center.

  • Benchmark Hospitality International has appointed Scott Mumma director of national sales. Mumma is based in Benchmark's northeast offices, located at The Heldrich in New Brunswick, N.J.

  • Linda Norman was named general manager of the Hilton Baltimore, which is scheduled to open in August 2008. Formerly, Norman was general manager at the Hilton Los Angeles North in Glendale, Calif.