Hotel Cateys 2022: Spa Professional of the Year – Finlay Anderson, IHG Hotels and Resorts

09 December 2022
Hotel Cateys 2022: Spa Professional of the Year – Finlay Anderson, IHG Hotels and Resorts

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Judges struggled to choose from the extremely high standards from this year's Spa Professional of the Year nominations. The eventual winner is not only a great manager, but judges said they had a true understanding of the spa and wellness industry, as well as fresh, forward-thinking ideas to integrate new trends into the hotel's offering.

Finlay Anderson looks after seven leisure clubs and spas within the IHG managed estate, including Kimpton Blythswood Square, Kimpton Charlotte Square and voco St David's Cardiff, which contribute £2m profit to the group annually. Across his portfolio, the spas are operating at a 40% profit margin, 2% ahead of the market average and 5% ahead of when he took over, demonstrating Anderson's sound commercial awareness. His business acumen led him to personally set up the IHG Spa and Leisure central reservations team in 2022 after carrying out an analysis of ways to improve guest booking experience and team productivity.

Over the last two years Anderson has also introduced new revenue streams by launching cutting-edge treatments such as developing CBD, sound therapy and biophilia, with the latter being non-therapist led treatments thus allowing increased revenue generation despite the challenging recruitment issues felt throughout the industry. Anderson is also incredibly passionate about the carbon footprint of the spas and leisure centres and spends time personally selecting sustainable and responsible products.

Judges greatly admired how down-to-earth this year's winner was, from making sure he spends time with his family and two-year-old collie Mac, to being hands-on with his management of the spas. He is also passionate about music and when the main restaurant at Blythswood needed a change of direction Finlay played a key part by helping re-imagine the music concept and has gone on to select the music style and hand-pick the DJs who perform each week. He even often plays himself on a Saturday afternoon to help set the tone and entertain weekend guests.

Training and development is incredibly important to him. His drive for continuous improvement and succession planning has resulted in more than 20 of the current management and supervisory team members being promoted internally into their current roles thanks to the training and personal development plans that he conducted with them. He devotes time each day to spending with team members for on job training sessions or coaching role-playing scenarios. Colleagues praise his amazing drive and unphased approach which has created a wonderful culture of fun, professionalism and trust both with direct reports but also with product partners to provide training as and when required.

His passion for the field cannot be denied, and combined with his creativity, management skills and hands-on approach, he is a well-deserving winner of this year's award.

What the judges said

"Finlay stood out in this category as a manager who understands spa and wellness and is reshaping seven leisure clubs and spas to deliver a truly meaningful wellness experience. He is sharing his vision at industry events but is still happy to do the hands on stuff. He is ahead of the game."

Cathy Ball

The shortlist

Finlay Anderson, IHG Hotels and Resorts

Julia Butt, Hand Picked Hotels

Dee England, the Headland Hotel

Robbie Leung, Pan Pacific London

David Taylor, Leonardo Royal London City

Past winners

2021 Amanda Hardy, Serenity Spa

2019 Sally Pedder, the Dorchester

2018 Lesley Bacon, Hand Picked Hotels

2017 Leon Trayling, Principal Hotels

2016 Cathy Ball, the Calcot Collection

2015 Lucy Mingo, Headland Hotel and Spa

2014 Kerry Hudson, Chewton Glen Hotel & Spa

2013 Anna Williams, Stoke Park Country Club, Spa and Hotel,

2012 Gemma Hulme, Cottons Hotel and Spa

2011 Liz Holmes, Rockliffe Hall

2010 Hannah Henley, Donnington Valley Hotel & Spa

2009 Kerry Hole, SPA SPC

2008 Nicola Williams, Birmingham Malmaison / Birmigham HDV

2007 Nicki Kurran, Marriott Hanbury Manor

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