European HEALTH & SPA AWARD 2022

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Certification “Bronze” / "Silver" / "Gold"

EHSQ – A new quality certificate for the spa and wellness industry

Many people wonder what benefits can be taken from the quality management EHSQ (European Health & Spa Quality). Scientific research in economics and management shows that quality work is not always beneficial for a company, but it can be beneficial if it is done in a right way. We would therefore like to give you a few reasons under which circumstances a quality management certificate makes sense. We derive this knowledge from ten years quality management and certification based on the experience taken from the “European Health & Spa Awards”.

Quality management – advantages and disadvantages

Opportunities and difficulties in quality work are close together. First, some examples of benefits:

1.       One of the key advantages is, without doubt, that the company gets a systematic guide how to improve all aspects that are connected with quality management.

2.       Another advantage is that a quality management certificate can help to differentiate from competitors.

3.       If new employees have forgotten what steps a treatment for example consists of, they can read in the process description and remember what the correct succession of steps is.

4.       The criteria of a quality management system can raise awareness and motivation throughout the company of what is important to do an excellent job.

However, there are numerous negative prejudices attached to quality management:

1.       There is a widespread prejudice that the documentation effort wastes too much workforce.

2.       Companies often do not know what kind of quality they need. Is it the treatment room, is it the treatment itself, the food offered in the restaurant, the location of the hotel in general, the process management, the workflow of the reception? Many certifiable quality management systems have priorities (such as ISO9001:2015 with its focus on processes or the emphasis of EFQM on the continuous learning process), but how does a company know what it really needs? This is where EHSQ comes into play because it helps to find out what is all about.

3.       Some quality management systems tend to set simple or even incorrect standards ("The breakfast buffet must offer three different types of salami"), while others are very demanding and may exceed the company's management capabilities.

4.       Certifiable quality management systems pretend to be objective and therefore they measure things that are measurable such as the number of sinks in the bathroom or the size of guest rooms. But is this important? EHSQ has developed a system to evaluate emotional aspects (pleasant lifestyle, beautiful spaces, familiarity, “it is wonderful here”) in a well-founded way.

The approach of EHSQ

The creators of the EHSQ quality management system are aware of the possibilities and weaknesses of quality management and have developed a certifiable standard that is not only tailored to the spa, wellness, and healthcare industry, but is also flexible regarding the needs of the companies. The advantages in detail:

1.       EHSQ distinguishes between three different standards: "Bronze" is the entry-level certificate that helps companies that are just beginning to deal with systematic quality work to gain access to the topic. "Silver" and "Gold / Excellence" are further stages for those companies that are advanced in quality management. Any company can start working where it thinks it gets the most benefit from.

2.       EHSQ is aware of the matter that the quality in the spa and wellness industry is also highly driven by emotional factors and has therefore developed a system that incorporates such aspects into the evaluation.

3.       Apart from the quality criteria to be met the company can also create its own quality criteria in those areas where it believes it is particularly advanced and innovative. This performance will also be evaluated and rewarded.

4.       EHSQ is much more than just an assessment of your performance. Rather, we see ourselves as a driving force to help you achieving an advancedquality level. The criteria to be assessed in this context should be understood as a suggestion to systematically follow the path of quality work.

5.       EHSQ wants to receive just one additional document from you. In this way, we want to reduce the workload for this certificate as much as possible. The document required is a standardized questionnaire giving you the opportunity to respond to all quality recommendations.

However, you should have in mind that EHQS is a quite demanding quality management system that aims at comprehensively implementing best quality standards in your company.

The quality rating system
The fulfilment of quality criteria can be assessed with aid of what we call talents. For example, if "knowledge-based” is added to a quality recommendation it should be clear that reliable (maybe scientific) knowledge has been used. This can play a role, for example, when it comes to the quality of sleep in guestrooms and the quality of the mattress that is going to be assessed. Knowledge should be used that helps to verify the quality of the mattress convincingly.

All quality recommendation groups are going to be evaluated according to the following scheme:

Suppose the recommendation group "Personal & Resources" is rated at 8 pointsyou are a national leader regarding this topic.

A company that wants to be certified according to the EHSQ standard must participate in the European Health & Spa Award and can take the points obtained there adding to the points it gets during the EHSQ-assessment.

What the customer gets

The customer of EHSQ receives numerous benefits as support forimplementing a systematic quality management.

1.       The customer will receive a manual showing what the quality recommendations mean and how they can be implied to achieve better quality.

2.       The customer will receive a database of high-quality articles for further reading on selected and relevant topics of quality work.

3.       The customer will receive free training via skype to answer questions about EHSQ.

4.       The customer is being offered comprehensive training courses that provide a deeper understanding of EHSQ.

5.       The company gains further public visibility through the Award and even more through the participation in the EHSQ assessment.

Quality criteria

WELLNESS WORLD Business 4/2018 presented the new EHSQ quality standard discussing its basic features. The article in the current issue focusses on the "recommendations" that can be used to carry out an assessment of your company. The term "recommendation" indicates that the company is not only required to meet quality criteria as other quality management systems expect, but to take recommendations as starting point to create own excellent solutions.

The recommendations of the EHSQ standard can be subdivided into four groups as can be seen in the following figure:

To 1: "Prerequisites" identify those criteria that are considered requirements for excellent management in general.

To 2: The secret of spa and wellness establishments is that atmospheric and emotional components are crucial requirements for guest satisfaction. Relaxation and well-being are only partly the result of technically measurable features, but rather the result of complex interplay of multisensually influencing factors. There is no other quality management system being capable of assessing this aspect of hidden quality.

To 3: The technical and professional approach plays a role, too, and must be taken seriously. This is about the size and equipment of guest rooms or spa, but also about the professional skills employees have.

To 4: Results are measured in two ways. On the one hand it's about the benefit guests have after the stay such as lowering their stress level, decreasing their weight or increasing the appreciation oftheir body. On the other hand, positive results of this kind help to influence corporate key figures in a positive way such as the occupation rate, annual revenue, and cost reduction.

Traditional standards focus on things that are easy to evaluate because they are countable (number of sinks, size of guest room in square feet). The EHSQ standard has developed a system in which subjective or emotional facts can also be assessed in a well-founded manner. This is about a methodical combination of documented evidence (opinions of guests from guest surveys), conversations with employees, and observations of the auditors, who bring decades of experience and industry-specific knowledge.

Each of the four recommendation groups is divided into two or three subgroups (nine in total):

The entire system of recommendations is interwoven by two circular flows that represent the continuous process of improvement. The EHSQ quality management system helps you to establish a system of development, assessment, and improvement in all relevant areas for the sake of sustainable success.

In addition to these nine groups, each company is asked to present other points in which it pretends to be a role model, i.e. a national or even an international leader in a specific segment of business. This is going to be evaluated separately and is to strengthen the initiative of each company to develop its own areas of excellence.

Prices and requirements

Applying for a certificate requires that the company has successfully participated in the award competition. The company is simultaneously applying for the award and certificate because the company's valuation takes place almost at the same time to keep the process lean and inexpensive. However, there is also a further more detailed evaluation after the award!

The costs for the certificates:

Basic prize

€ 2500



+ € 0,00


+ € 300


+ € 500

0-50 FTE

+ € 0,00

51-100 FTE

+ € 200

Over 100 FTE

+ € 400

2 nights

+ € 0,00

2 nights

+ € 0,00

3 nights

+ € 300

FTE - full-time equivalent of employees


For further information contact us!

Author: Prof. Dr. Kai Illing