Ribby Hall Spa partner interview

Near the end of last month we introduced you to Gemma Postlethwaite, the Spa Manager at Ribby Hall Village in Lancashire. As Ribby is one of Ellison’s Spa Partner’s we decided it was the perfect opportunity to gain an insight into the relationship we had built and how it had all began.


Gemma Postlethwaite – Assistant Spa Manager

Charlotte Gili-Ross – Brand & Communications Manager

How long has Ribby Hall Village been established?

Ribby Hall Village was established in 1994. We are approaching our 25th birthday in 2019, giving us plenty to celebrate! The SPA Hotel however opened in August 2011 and underwent a refit in 2013.

What do you believe sets Ribby Hall Village apart from the rest?

We truly believe that it’s our people that set Ribby Hall apart from the rest. Whenever we visit TripAdvisor or speak to any guests they always mention our staff and the service they have received. Often naming individual members of the team that have stood out and made their experience. We are proud of this.

We also believe this is not just the case for The SPA Hotel but throughout The Village. Guests can stay in The SPA Hotel itself, in our 5 star holiday cottages and pine lodges, or guests can even purchase their own holiday home. We also have 10 different eateries, a health club and a conference and wedding venue.

How did you find out about the Ellisons Spa Partner team?

Gemma – We have used Ellisons since we opened the SPA Hotel. We’ve always had great communication with them and they always keep us informed of everything that is happening within the industry and with suppliers. Gemma Sumner, our representative, is very helpful and asks our opinion on services and treatments which goes the extra mile for us. Ellisons have the best offering as a spa partner compared to their suppliers and this has been consistent.

Everything that we feel we receive from Ellisons, is exactly what we want for our own customers so it’s an effortless relationship. We all strive for the same standards and experiences for our customers which is why Ellisons make a great Spa Partner for Ribby Hall.

Did you feel you received enough support during the refit? Was communication good?

The support during the refit was constant and always available. If one member of the Ellisons team wasn’t available then we would always have a dedicated team member to help us and usually a response and solution within a couple of hours. Even the drivers have been fantastic. At every point of the process, we have had great communication.

What do you enjoy most about being an Ellisons Spa Partner?

Definitely the professionalism and friendly approach. Ellisons as a brand, really identify with us as a luxury spa. Nothing is too small and nothing is too much trouble. They take the time to support and discuss. It’s a collaborative approach.

Did we help you meet your original vision for your spa?

Before the original refurbishment in February 2013, we knew we wanted to reinvest back into the business. We discussed this with Ellisons and so they visited in the early stages to help us look at redesigning the treatment areas together and to see that vision through. Swatches, samples and more were made available by Ellisons to make sure everything was exactly what we wanted. We had plenty of time to source and try things out, including items sourced from LA, bespoke for us. We sometimes adapted along the way and they were there for us at every step. Without their help we perhaps wouldn’t have been able to see the vision through so successfully.

Which is your favourite area of the spa following the refit and why?

Gemma – The Manicure and Pedicure suite is an area we are very proud of. Ellisons were a big part of helping us redesign this area and see the additional revenue stream we could gain from this. Because of the success of this, we have then implemented this strategy in other areas and suites, which has really helped the business.

Charlotte adds – Across The Village we have many different offerings enjoyed by shared audiences. At the outset we could never have anticipated how well received our day spa offering would be, especially for our local audience.  Our new mani/pedi suite is testament to this success.

What do your customers compliment you on the most about the spa?

We are often complimented on our service level. We are pleased to have won many awards for this, including recently, the Best Customer Service Award in the Good Spa Guide. This is entirely voted for by the public, so we are immensely proud of that. Time and time again we get recognised for our high levels of service.

What treatments do you currently offer to your clients?

We offer over 120 different treatments in The SPA Hotel with our main treatments being body massage and facials (both hands-on and technology facials using BIO TECH).
The BIO TECH facials are more for our local customers who want a course of treatments. The hands-on facial is more of a relaxing treatment for our clients who are visiting. We have body wraps and event treatments, plus our signature treatments for the seasons.

Our Finishing Touches room has been dedicated to the Ellisons treatments and brands such as My Beautiful Eyes and PhD Safewax™. When we launched the Finishing Touches room, the treatment menu was built in collaboration with Gemma Sumner from Ellisons. In November, we will work closely with Gemma again, to launch our seasonal signature treatments. The training that Ellisons provide is brilliant and again the support and availability around our schedule is so convenient for us

We have recently increased our treatment offering within the Wellness Suite, with sports massage consultancy and holistic treatments becoming more popular. This side of the business has grown to offer Reiki, Reflexology and Indian head massage.

We review our treatment menu twice a year in line with guest expectations and customer engagement. We always aim to cater or amend the menu accordingly for them. The guest feedback go right up to the top (Director) and so the business as a whole is aware.

When we looked at our last customer review and had feedback from our team, we found that a lot of our therapists weren’t as confident in performing treatments on customers who may have had therapy for cancer or surgery. Across the industry we are aware that these guests may get turned away because of this, when they may well need these treatments even more so. At Ribby Hall, we have worked closely with Wellness for Cancer to help educate our therapists in order for them to provide treatments in a safe and comforting environment. We want it to feel like home from home. Understanding each individual guest and adapting the treatment to their needs is very important. We offer a dedicated area of the spa for this.

What are your top tips for the perfect spa break?

Gemma – We go on the road quite a bit to mystery shop and do our research. Networking events are also very important and our team are highly skilled to spot what is out there within the industry. A lot of spas have hidden gems which aren’t always on the website. It’s important to do your research on any website for the spa to find out what they offer. I tend list exactly what I want and expect from my personal spa experience – identify your needs, pin point what you are receiving and the quality. This helps you to rate the overall experience and know what to look for. I also look for the brands that the spa provide too. My favourite treatment is an Indian head massage or full body hot stones.

Charlotte adds – I agree with everything that GP has said and I also love a good Indian head massage!

What do you feel is important to the spa when looking for brand partners?

When sourcing our lead brand (Elemis), it was their vision as industry leaders and their proven results. Guests want to know exactly what they are going to get so when we are identifying other brands for our house we are looking for honesty and providence for our customers. This really goes across everything that we provide at The SPA Hotel, from the beauty treatments, the furniture and equipment that Ellisons supply and even the food in our restaurants. We get great support from all of our reps from every product house, including 1 on 1 visits. This is really key for us so that the information doesn’t get diluted down.

We have feedback from all sides in order to get the best out of it. Product knowledge training and samples are really important, to also support the retail side of things. We have kept with most of the brands from the start, mainly due to the service and recently added further brands to our supplier offering, such as My Beautiful Eyes, from Ellisons.

With regards to the refit, furniture and equipment we understand that spas can typically be quite dark places so it’s important from an architectural point of view to bring the light in and this works really well for us here at Ribby. Even when it snows we have this wonderful atmosphere which still makes you feel warm and adds another dimension to the 365 days a year. We are constantly looking at ways to build on this and increase our spa experience. Again, we recently took on the Alexander Rose furniture, choosing to work with Ellisons, as we always know that they provide the best service and understand our vision.

How important is it to you to ensure you are reducing your environmental footprint?

At Ribby we do our best to do business in the most sustainable way possible. We recognise and understand the importance of being responsible, sustainable and ethical in order to meet the needs of the present and leave a better environment for future generations. We are committed to providing a five star guest experience that makes a positive impact on the environment, society and economy. Overall we believe we have all the procedures in place to ensure Ribby is doing things the green way.

Find out how you can get involved and become an Ellisons Spa Partner here.

Discover more on https://www.ribbyhall.co.uk/spa-hotel

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