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English Language Discussions?
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Pita
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Geregistreerd op: 26-5-2008
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BerichtGeplaatst: Ma Jun 02, 2008 7:46 am    Onderwerp: English Language Discussions? Reageer met quote

I've been "lurking" here for a while and have noticed the lack of English language positngs in recent months. Is there anyone still out there who are sauna fans and who would like to discuss saunas and spas in English?
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David
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BerichtGeplaatst: Zo Jun 15, 2008 10:47 pm    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Hi Pita
Yes I would like to discuss spas in English. I would also be interested in discussing foreign perceptions towards spas.
David
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Pita
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BerichtGeplaatst: Di Jun 17, 2008 3:27 pm    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

David schreef:
Hi Pita
Yes I would like to discuss spas in English. I would also be interested in discussing foreign perceptions towards spas.
David


I've lived in the Netherlands for about 3 years now and have since discovered the pleasure of saunas. One of the best kept secrets of the Netherlands! I live in Zuid-Holland so have had a chance to visit some of the bigger and better complexes around Rotterdam and Den Haag. I also travel ofter through Europe so I have tried to make it a point of visiting a sauna or two on my travels in The Netherlands, Germany, Austria or Belgium. Rarely am I dissappointed.

I can't explain why the idea hasn't really spread beyond this part of Europe. I suppose left-over puritan attitudes have something to do with it, but if you read reports such as on Trip Advisor from non-Europeans who have visited the spas there is never a negative comment posted. Almost universally the comments are how great and relaxing the experience is.

I think the reason these great complexes haven't appeared across the Atlantic (or even across the English Channel) is because of the perceived risk of losing money in a business venture such as this. In the U.S. there's still a stigman associated with saunas that links them to the "San Francisco Bathhouse" image. Overcoming that initial negative image would require money and a good marketing campaign.

However, I doubt there's enough money in the world to change the attitudes of the locals in Dubai towards going to a spa...or at least not to the types of spas they have here!

Pita
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David
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BerichtGeplaatst: Do Jun 19, 2008 9:12 am    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Hi Pita
You're right about Dubai - in fact you have reminded me to change my profile details as I'm back in Europe now!

It's interesting what you say about the geographical spread of spas and I couldn't agree more. Like you say, the thing that is especially interesting is the fact that English-speaking tourists were so readily able to appreciate spa culture.
I happen to think a well-managed spa in the right location, with effective marketing (as is seen in the Netherlands) would succeed in the UK. From that point, awareness would grow and therefore so would the market potential for other spas as has been seen in the Netherlands and elsewhere. The question is who would build it and how?

By the way, did you notice that some spas in Belgium have become 'privť' spas (i.e. private hire only). This seems to be a step back in time and removes the whole relaxing and free atmosphere of a spa, as well as the convenience of just turning up.
David
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Pita
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Geregistreerd op: 26-5-2008
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BerichtGeplaatst: Vr Jun 20, 2008 9:00 am    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

I've spent some time in the Gulf area, too. I remember going to a gym in Bahrain and seeing signs posted in the locker room in English reminding the patrons to keep their "privates" covered at all times. Made it damn difficult to change clothes!

I have noticed the private spas in Belgium. There's a few here, too. I haven't been to any, but they seem smaller. I'm not sure about the business decision to make a spa private, or if they even make any money at all. I haven't been here long enough to know if it is a trend, or just a niche. If anything, the trend here in the Netherlands seems to be bigger is better. I know of at least two new spas opening in Holland in the coming months that look to be quite large.

The only spa I have been to in Belgium is Therme Grimbergen, and I wasn't overly impressed with it. I'd like to visit Thermen Dilbeek the next time I'm in Brussels, though.

I agree with you about marketing, management and location (and location, and location) for a spa to succeed in an Anglo country. I would think that it would have to be located near a major city so that the large population base would initially support the venture until awareness and acceptance grows. I'm from the U.S., and there are certain areas where a spa would be successful, and others where it would flop because if the prevailing attitudes of the region So, as with all things in business, location would be the key.

This being said, there are a couple of spas that have opened in the U.S. worth mentioning. One in NY which looks like a European-stlye complex, but which requires you to wear a bathing suit. And another in Palm Springs which is a clothing optional hotel and spa, but which is targeted more towards romantic weekend getaways. And is very expensive for a day visit.

The one in NY is owned by Koreans and also has Hot Bath in it. I lived in Japan for a time and really enjoyed the Ofuru (hot bath) in our house. I went to the Japanese public baths a few times and really enjoyed it. It's interesting that the Japanese-style baths haven't really caught on at spas here.

Pita
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kevin8
Master of Sauna


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BerichtGeplaatst: Vr Jun 20, 2008 12:09 pm    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

I'm wondering why there aren't any British entrepeneurs now investing in saunabads/spas regarding to the popularity/success of the WNBR (World Naked Bike Ride) held last weekend in London, Manchester and Wales and the week before in Brighton and Southampton.
Those WNBR rides proof that there is a growing mass of people who do not have problem with functional public nudity. And do also not forget the hughe success of the Spencer Tunick installations, i.e. last week in Ireland.
I suppose those people would, may be, also visit a mixed spa.
May be it will be an interesting investment project for one of the Dutch sauna/spa entrepeneurs?
Wink
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Pita
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BerichtGeplaatst: Zo Jun 22, 2008 10:21 am    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Hi Kevin8-

I don't think there are any good answers to your questions. It's puzzling to me that this idea hasn't been exported long ago to the UK or America. I suppose it's the aversion to risk that keeps most investors from trying it. A spa can be a big investment, and making that investment in an unproven market can be dangerous.

Americans - and I suspect the Brits, too - have strange attitudes towards public nudity. On one hand America is the largest exporter of porn in the world, and on the other you can get arrested for being nude - or even topless - on most beaches.

Also, I think it has to do with visibility. As I said in a previous post, I have been here for three years now and really only started visiting spas recently. I tried to learn as much as I could about Holland before our move here, but I knew nothing about the spas until a friend suggested I go to one to help heal a sports injury after I had been here for a year or so. Spas are not something a typical ex-pat is exposed to (so to speak) in Holland. The marketing for the saunas is generally geared towards the locals and the web sites are usually in Dutch. I think Elysium is one of the few that has English pages. Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining that they are in Dutch. Simply that for a buitenlander who does not know much Dutch it is not easy to learn they exist because most of us do not have anything like them in our home countries. And once you learn about them it can still be somewhat intimidating to the first-time visitor who is doesn't speak the language and might be unfamiliar with sauna etiquette (using a footbath, placing a towel under your body, showering between sessions, etc.) Especially when you're doing it for the first time in the nude with a group of strangers!

Add to this intimidation the fact that not all saunas are alike. Some have nude and non-nude areas, others have days when bathing suits are required, and some have ladies' days. So it you don't speak fluent Dutch sometimes it can be confusing. I always have the fear of showing nude at the sauna in the middle of a ladies only, swim suit day! It would be like a bad dream!

Of course, almost every sauna I've visited the staff and guests have been very helpful when I had questions. And it's nice that this web site has this area for discussion, too.

As I said in a previous post, mixed saunas are one of the best kept secrets here. I know this is not intentional, but I believe that is one of the reasons they are not well-know outside of here. And I think that lack of visibility is one of the hurdles to spreading spas beyond this area. Not that it can' be done, just that you would also have to work to educate your consumers about mixed saunas, as well as change peoples pre-conceived ideas of what it means to visit one.

Pita
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Pita
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BerichtGeplaatst: Wo Jul 23, 2008 10:51 am    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

kevin8 schreef:
I'm wondering why there aren't any British entrepeneurs now investing in saunabads/spas regarding to the popularity/success of the WNBR (World Naked Bike Ride) held last weekend in London, Manchester and Wales and the week before in Brighton and Southampton.
Those WNBR rides proof that there is a growing mass of people who do not have problem with functional public nudity. And do also not forget the hughe success of the Spencer Tunick installations, i.e. last week in Ireland.
I suppose those people would, may be, also visit a mixed spa.
May be it will be an interesting investment project for one of the Dutch sauna/spa entrepeneurs?
Wink


Hi-

Kevin8's comment sparked something that I had been wondering about...Do guests of saunas also consider themselves to be naturists or nudists? I'm not much into placing titles on people, but I am courious about prevailing attitudes towards visiting the spa.

Personally, I love to visit the spa, and have no problem with being nude around others, but I do not think I would consider myself a naturist. For example, I don't believe I would spend a week at a naturist resort, nor would I volunteer for a Spencer Tunick photo shoot.

Anyone have any thoughts on this? Could you conveniently lump all spa-goers together as naturists, or do they see being naked as a necessary part of the overall spa experience and would otherwise remain clothed?

Pita
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oeroek
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BerichtGeplaatst: Wo Jul 23, 2008 5:01 pm    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

I am absolutely not a nudist or a naturist and think that it has nothing to do with visiting a spa. Although the nudity does not disturb me it is not a goal in itself. For a nudist or naturist being nude can be a goal.

Since most people are nude in a spa you should be neutral towards nudity at the minimum before visiting a spa.

In the group of people that do not mind walking around nude there will probably be lots of of nudists and naturists. Moreover, a spa is the perfect place to go if you are a nudist or naturist.
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Pita
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BerichtGeplaatst: Do Jul 24, 2008 8:09 am    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

I agree with your comments. I also asked the question because I was wondering if there was an effort here to direct the marketing of spas towards those who are obviously more comfortable being nude, such as naturists.

Another question...Is there a target marked in Holland for saunas. I've seen people of all ages there, but is there a market segment that are more active sauna visitors than others, such as 18-35, 36-50, married, single, etc.?
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Pingu
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BerichtGeplaatst: Wo Aug 20, 2008 3:43 pm    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Pita schreef:
I agree with your comments. I also asked the question because I was wondering if there was an effort here to direct the marketing of spas towards those who are obviously more comfortable being nude, such as naturists.

Another question...Is there a target marked in Holland for saunas. I've seen people of all ages there, but is there a market segment that are more active sauna visitors than others, such as 18-35, 36-50, married, single, etc.?


Hi Pita,

I think totally depends on whether or not you feel at home in a sauna. Some people think that sauna's are places of Sodom and Gomorra, the same are probably not at ease with their own body. So you don't necessarily have to be a nudist, it helps. Therefore I think only the "shameless" regardless of age go to the sauna. By the way I have been to a Spencer Tunick installation and you get ordered to strip here and now (and turn left and turn right and shut up), but it was a great experience and would love to do it again. Wink
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balneamaster
Los entree


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BerichtGeplaatst: Za Sep 13, 2008 6:24 pm    Onderwerp: Spa worldwide Reageer met quote

Hi All,

I am not a frequent visitor of this site, but I red the comment about UK entrepeneurs
failing to invest into the UK market.
I have seen quite a few nice projects the last few years in this area and know that a few more are coming up shortly.
And as you all know, the whole market is booming, worldwide.
I work as a professional in this branch and can give you good references on projects worldwide.
Just drop me a line on what you need!
Smile
Edwin
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consultancy, planning,
sauna's in Slovenie en Kroatie,
technische vragen ?
laat het mij weten !
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BerichtGeplaatst: Ma Mrt 01, 2010 12:45 pm    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Pita schreef:

Another question...Is there a target marked in Holland for saunas. I've seen people of all ages there, but is there a market segment that are more active sauna visitors than others, such as 18-35, 36-50, married, single, etc.?


I see this is an old post, but very interesting anyway. Wink

I think that you will see a large mix of age groups. The main target group however is women in age of 30-50 I would guess, because they spend the most on additional treatments (beauty, massage). Typically you would see more groups of women, couples (m/f), and single men. Women tend not to come alone, and you see relatively few men in groups.

Also, you see relatively few non-western immigrants, I think this has to do with the fact they come from prude countries.
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Pita
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BerichtGeplaatst: Do Mrt 04, 2010 10:21 am    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Your observations are in line with mine, too. I think to focus on bringing in the middle-aged women is beneficial because it helps to emphasize the message the spa is a safe environment for all patrons.
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Pita
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BerichtGeplaatst: Do Mrt 04, 2010 10:28 am    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Actually, I'm surprised there aren't more Japanese or Koreans visiting the spas here. I lived in the far east for a few years and learned to love their baths. I know the oriental bath culture is diferent from the European sauna culture, but I would have thought Asians would appreciate the spas nonetheless considering how large of an expat population there is in the Netehrlands.

Most Japanese or Korean baths I have been to are segrated by seks, so this may be an issue as to why there are not mor oreintal visitors. Or the language barrier may be a problem (but I speak very little Nederlands and it hasn't stopped me fro going).

Pita
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