Whitbread breaks out with spa chain

Leisure group Whitbread has appointed Interbrand to create an identity for a chain of spas it boasts will ‘become the byword’ for the fast-expanding sector, Design Week can exclusively reveal.

Interbrand won the work following a competitive creative pitch against undisclosed groups.

The group will design the identity and generate names for the concept, which is likely to include fitness and beauty facilities and will not be marketed under the Whitbread brand.

According to a Whitbread spokesman, a lack of any real corporate force in the £1.3bn market, which grew by 50 per cent last year, is fuelling the company’s move.

‘The sector is fragmented and under-exploited,’ he asserts. ‘No one company out there is dominating the marketplace. With our ability in managing leisure brands we can change that.’

Interbrand has generated two possible names for the concept that are currently being ‘road tested’ by the hotels-to-pubs group, the spokesman adds.

The consultancy will also create an identity for the wellness venues, the first of which opens at an unspecified site off the M25 this time next year. Whitbread will pilot between three and six outlets throughout 2004, all based around the M25.

Longer term, the group will seek out sites in more ‘suburban’ locations nationwide, says the spokesman. ‘The focus will be on local marketplaces,’ he says. ‘This will not be a high street business.’

Eventual rollout figures will depend on the success of initial tests. Whitbread already operates spas in its Marriott hotels. Additionally, most of its David Lloyd health clubs include Saks health and beauty salons.

There are no plans to incorporate the David Lloyd brand into the new offering, the spokesman says.

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