Industry leaders from around the country will share insights, discuss strategies and make valuable contacts at Southwest EduSpa Summit hosted by the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management. 
PRLog (Press Release) – May 20, 2009 – The Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management at the University of Houston will host the First Annual Southwest EduSpa Summitt on June 1, welcoming spa industry leaders from around the country to share their insights, discuss strategy and make valuable contacts in this dynamic industry.

Along with the Hilton College, the summit was organized by the University of California-Irvine and Houston Community College (HCC). Carl A. Boger Jr., associate dean of Academics and the Clinton L. Rappole Endowed Chair at the Hilton College, has invited luminaries from the industry including Shel Pink of Spa Ritual, Spa Magazine-publisher Michelle Gamble and Francie Willis of Francie Willis Enterprises.

The summit will include presentations and panels on subjects ranging from green branding to cosmetics, from revenue management to body sugaring, and everything in between. It will also include a networking lunch, a wine and cheese closing reception and a pair of “healthy networking breaks” that will be more than just a chance to relax and chat – students from the HCC Massage Therapy program will provide chair massages during the breaks.

Boger said the summit, which he hopes will draw executives from the Houston area and throughout Texas, will lay the foundation for the Houston Spa Association. He invited over 900 spa executives throughout Texas and New Orleans to attend.  Currently, the fifth largest spa city has no current spa association.  Building a Houston Spa Association will assist in ensuring success in these tough economic times.

“This has been a very difficult time for the spa industry,” Boger said. “The industry is restructuring and getting back to the basics. The good news is that we will emerge from this with more efficient operations, better core principles, better branding and a renewed focus on retail sales.”

Angela Jeantet, director of Education Programs at the UC-Irvine Extension, said she is excited about showcasing the benefits of education to spa professionals. Jeantet pioneered an online spa management program that is taught throughout the world.

“Right now the spa industry has no targeted Bachelor’s or Master’s degree,” Jeantet said. “Because of that, the group that Dr. Boger has amassed gives the profession an opportunity to find a focus-targeted option. Whether it’s at a university or community college, that education solidifies the profession. Spa professionals haven’t been seen as a profession and that needs to change.”

Another organizer of the event, Simone Doudna of the Skyline Spa at the Hilton Americas Houston, who is also an adjunct faculty member at the Hilton College, is thrilled to bring spas to the spotlight in the Houston area.

“As the second largest state in the United States, Texas has explosive potential for developing hospitality and spa resources that are still untapped,” Doudna said. “This summit serves as an innovative welcome message and a reflection of the progressive steps that are being taken in the region. With travel budgets being slashed, the Southwest EduSpa Summit is an excellent tool to promote networking and educational sessions at the highest level in Houston.”

The summit will take place on June 1 from 8 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. at the Hilton University of Houston Hotel and Conference Center, located on the campus of the University of Houston, 4800 Calhoun Road.