Trevose, PA (Nov. 6, 2023) – Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa, the nation's leading luxury massage and facial spa franchise, hosted its annual conference in the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., this October. The spa brand’s corporate teams, franchise owners and managers were able to network with each other and spa vendors, learn what’s in the pipeline for the year ahead and engage with the brand on a deeper level.
Over a year ago, Hand & Stone’s chief marketing officer and head of conference planning, Jack Bachinsky, had the idea of “Coming Together” in Washington D.C. after listening to the very popular 1969 Beatles song. This would eventually be the theme of the 2023 International Conference. Over the course of 12 months, the conference team, made up of Megan Rominiecki, Eric Haberacker, Natalie Dowd, Arleen Curran, and Samantha Tacca developed a comprehensive agenda of engaging activities for the Hand & Stone community to look forward to. Each week, the team met with hotel coordinators, museum contacts, caterers and vendor partners to ensure a seamless and memorable event.
The 2023 Hand & Stone International Conference kicked off with a Scavenger Hunt benefiting the American Cancer Society. With the help of the scavenger hunt participants, the Hand & Stone team was able to commit to donating nearly $20K to the organization. Following the scavenger hunt, guests were invited to attendee a welcome cocktail reception to officially kick off the conference. You could feel the excitement in the room as community members from all over the continent reunited after a year apart.
On the first official day of conference, a recording-breaking 800+ attendees met in the mainstage conference room to listen to Hand & Stone’s executive team’s presentations, which were focused on evolution, growth and innovation. With the multimodalities and new technologies offered at their spas, Hand & Stone illustrated to its franchisees how the brand is staying on the cutting edge of wellness trends to increase brand awareness and become a consistent part of consumer and business conversations. Hand & Stone shared examples of influencer work that helped to achieve greater brand awareness and even announced a plan to partner with a branding agency to better articulate the brand’s overall message as it continues to grow and add additional modalities.
In terms of franchise growth, the executive team shared that they are hard at work engineering an even more valuable investment model. Currently, the sales to investment ratio is 2:1, which is truly a testament to the franchise business model Hand & Stone currently employs. They are on a mission to improve this even further and have invested in engaging experts to value engineer the model to yield additional savings. At conference, Hand & Stone reiterated their dedication to their franchise owners by defining a strategy to fine tune their current processes and offer even more financial benefits. From a content perspective, this was the most franchisee-focused conference since its inception over 10 years ago.
Additionally, Hand & Stone acknowledged its network of franchise owners that have gone above and beyond in the last year with award recognitions, including:
Member Achievement Award (best member conversion in a mature spa): Jeff and Ken Silbert from Livingston, NJ
Marketing Rainmaker (marketing innovator of the year): Don Williams, multi-unit owner and regional developer
Growth Momentum award (best comp growth improvement year-over-year for spas four years and older): Greg and Janell Billy from East Liberty, PA
Community Service Award (acknowledges the franchisee who has volunteered their time and dollars to support their local community and charity): Lynn and Jorge Rosende from Wake Forest, NC
Fast Track Award (highlights the top-performing new spa that is open for less than 1 year): Rosie Dunkle from Visalia, CA
Smooth Operator Award (acknowledges the Most Efficient Operating Spa who has shown the ability to maximize revenue per room): Andrew Mellen & Kirk Sorenson from Orlando/Dr. Phillips, FL
Front Runner of the Year Award (recognizes the spa who has enjoyed the most new membership sales for the year): Rob and Alicia Beers from Kissimmee, FL
Rookie of the Year Award (highest achieving new spa): LeeAnn and Robin Prideaux by Clovis, CA
Customer Service Excellence Award (celebrates the leading customer service spa that has consistently gone above and beyond to provide exceptional experiences): Mark King from St. Petersburg, FL
Brand Ambassador Award (recognizes an early adopter of new programs, products, and services): Kelli and William Marazzi, multi-unit owners in FL
Face Forward Award (honors the leading Facial Service Spa by total facial revenue): Nick Marco and Tara Bogota from Toms River, NJ
Stoney Award (leader in Hot Stone massages performed): Paul and Sunitee Singh of South Florida
Cryoskin Achievement Award (recognizes the franchisee who has embraced and paved the way for the brand in the development of our third service modality): Mike and Kathy Hendershott of Illinois and Florida
Founders Award (presented to an individual with extraordinary passion for excellence): Sumit Bansal of Michigan
Chairmen’s Award (recognition for a lifetime of support, love and dedication to the brand): Erik Bostrom of Colorado and Minnesota
2023 Spa of the Year Award (highest sales spa for the year): Nick Marco, Tara Bogota and Mike Masco from Toms River, NJ
At the conclusion of the first day, attendees were invited to a gala at the Smithsonian American Art Museum where they danced the night away and celebrated all of their achievements from the year. There was also an art auction on-site where guests could bid on pieces created by their colleagues. All proceeds were part of the donation made to the ACS. Paulina Laskosky, a multi-unit Illinois franchisee, explained, “The event at the Smithsonian was elegant, fun, and a great way to catch up with old friends and make new ones. The DJ was especially a hit!”
The final day was filled with interactive sessions, moderated debates between franchise owners regarding systemwide hot topics, and networking opportunities. There were two guest speakers, Nicole Malachoswki and Terry O’Reilly, who spoke to the topics of elite team and personal performance and the power of marketing, respectively. A retired U.S. Air Force Colonel, Malachowski took the stage to share how her professional journey taught her to rethink everyday challenges, master being a trustworthy team player and embrace vulnerability, both professionally and personally. Her thought-provoking expertise was an inspirational moment for the franchise owners and their managers as they learned new ways to communicate with and manage teams. O’Reilly, an advertising professional with more than 30 years of experience, emphasized that customer service is a key marketing tactic. He reminded franchisees that happy customers – not merely satisfied ones – create intense loyalty and fuel referrals, ultimately propelling forward business.
Each franchise owner and manager was reinvigorated by the energy of working with such an incredible brand. They were reminded that they are creating a local destination for relaxation for their local communities by offering top-tier, high-quality professional massage services, including Swedish, Himalayan Salt, Sports, Deep Tissue, Oncology and Prenatal massages. The brand is actively seeking qualified candidates to help grow its family of franchisees. For more information on franchising opportunities, please visit www.handandstonefranchise.com.