What’s your background in the tech industry?
It’s in the development of enterprise software for large corporations. I worked for Microsoft for 8 years and quit in 2000. I started a new company in Seattle with two former Microsoft colleagues, and over the next 9 years we built that company - Sumtotal Systems – into a leader in the field of enterprise software, with $100m annual revenue.
How did you move from there into the spa software marketplace?
I’d taken a break from the tech industry and returned to India. A few years earlier, I’d made an investment there in a chain of fitness centres, spas and salons, which was focused on the higher end of the market and was doing very well.
When the person who’d been running the company returned to the US, I happened to be free and thought I’d have a go at running the business. So for the next year and a half I had exposure to this industry, and really got to know about the operational challenges these types of businesses faced.
What was your goal in creating ManageMySpa?
Most of the spa management software around at the time was focused on single centres and had been built by people who had no expertise in creating systems for multi-site businesses with five outlets, let alone build software for a business with 50-100 outlets. I felt the larger chains were not being well served and wanted to create something tailored for them which would have a real impact on easing their business operations and growing revenue.
How did you expand the business?
We developed the software in India and focused our marketing efforts there first. We had a really strong uptake from the top tier wellness brands there because there was no other Cloud-based technology that could meet all their needs at that time. In fact, it didn’t exist anywhere.
Next we expanded into South East Asia (Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia) and the Middle East, in particular Dubai, where we work with leading spa, salon and medi-spa chains. In the past 6-12 months, we’ve expanded into Australia and the US.
What are the core features of your software?
There are the essential features that any system should have – online booking and the ability to accept payments over the phone or online, tracking those payments, an appointment book that helps the front desk meet booking goals, signing up new members, producing end of the day / month financial reports, managing loyalty programmes, etc.
Because we’re a Cloud-based software, an owner can be sitting in a cafe, open their phone or laptop and look at exactly what’s happening in their business.
Likewise, their employees don’t have to phone the front desk to find out their schedule. They can open an app, find out how many bookings they have, track their performance in terms of commissions, etc.
You’ll see mobile and digital as a consistent theme across the software. Everything from connecting a spa with their customers via their own branded app, to how we help spas market to their customers, enhance the client journey and ease operational tasks like inventory with a mobile solution for inventory counts.
We have a special set of features for medi-spas to enable them to manage the customer journey – their medical history, what treatments they’re having, their results, etc. This can be monitored by both the business and the customer themselves. It’s one of the reasons medi-spas now represent around 30 per cent of our business, because we met a need in this market that wasn’t there before.
How does ManageMySpa answer the particular needs of the multi-site operators?
When you approach 30 or 40 outlets, management of this kind of business gets very complicated, and you’ll need an extra set of features.
For example, if a customer buys a gift card at one of your centres, you want them to be able to easily redeem it at another centre. If a customer calls and can’t get an appointment, you need to be able to direct them to the closest outlet that has an opening in their schedule.
If you’re a business manager or in charge of procurement, you want to know what you have in stock at any outlet, at any point in time and seamlessly move inventory around the network.
If there are things going wrong in your network, like too few bookings at a particular outlet, you want to know and stay on top of those problems on a daily basis. All this is possible with ManageMySpa with automated mechanisms like our alert system.
What are your other strengths?
We’re particularly strong in two areas - data analytics, and the ability to translate this data into highly targeted marketing campaigns. Our analytics enable larger businesses to really understand their customer bases, spending patterns and behaviour across the whole network, not just business by business.
Even today, answering the simple question of how much money did we make this month often involves four employees sitting in an office gathering revenue reports from all the businesses. With ManageMySpa, you’ll be emailed a comprehensive revenue report every night, so you know exactly what your business is doing, and where.
From this data, ManageMySpa enables easy targeting of marketing campaigns to special segments. Instead of having to contact every outlet and get them to update their software, an owner can decide which campaigns he wants to run where and to whom, create it on our system, hit send and it’s done. It’s all automated.
What customer support do you offer?
As a Cloud business, we’re transparent about the daily and hourly performance of our servers in a way that no other company might dare to be. A third party company constantly monitors our servers, and anyone has free access to the data. It’s a bold move, but we believe the quality of our servers are unmatched among Cloud-based industries. We also have 24/7 in-app support integrated into the software, and of course there’s phone support too.
What about future spa trends?
I think the whole notion of having a front desk at a spa has to go away. It’s an unnecessary barrier, especially in the relaxed environment of a spa. Perhaps in the future there’ll be a hostess sitting at a coffee table waiting to greet the client.
Our Cloud technology enables spa customers to fill in forms and email them ahead of their arrival. As they arrive, the therapist could be alerted on their iPad and greet the customer by name, maybe let them relax in a massage chair for a short while and then show them round.
This type of personalised experience will be essential in the future, and with ManageMySpa it’s already possible.