Taking 10 with...Leon Trayling

Taking 10 with...Leon Trayling

Sunday 15th July 2018

By Michelle Hammond

Q1 - How did your childhood influence your work ethic and attitude towards business?

I moved around a bit as a child and had to adapt to new environments and situations, although I may not have realised the most influential period was when I was about 10 we lived in Bhutan for a few years, this was a completely different culture and a real eye opener. While there we went on a variety of trips including trekking through the Himalayas, spending a 2 day train journey from Calcutta to Kanyakumari and visiting some very remote monasteries and festivals. 

It made me realise how big the world is, how different it is and how many opportunities there are if you put your mind to it. It also taught me to appreciate life and not get caught up or dwell on things.

Q2 - What do you believe the principles of a successful business are today?

A number of principles are important.

- Understand the market you operate in
- Keep it simple
- Have the ability to see opportunities and areas of improvement/development

Q3 - Looking back, what was your best business decision?

A number of years ago I had an opportunity to focus more on developing towards hotel management rather than the Spa Industry. I obviously decided to continue to focus on Spa & Wellness mainly due to the fact that although I like working in the broader hospitality industry my passion is in Spa & Wellness and the vast opportunities within it. To me I place a huge amount of importance in genuinely enjoying what you do, and I do.

Q4 - Who has influenced you the most through your career?

There are probably three: Firstly my Mum for dragging me out bed as a teenager to attend lifesaving classes, which got me my first job in the industry as a life guard with Stakis Hotels

Secondly a lecturer at university Matt Frew, he taught me to question things in a constructive manner and see opportunities, he also taught me to dream and I remember a quote in his office that went something like “Beware the dreamer as one day their dreams will be realised”

Last but not least a gentleman called Marcus Child that facilitated one of my first training courses with Marriott hotels. A large section of the course focused on positivity and your internal voice, in society today you have so many influences across technology/media etc that it is so important to believe in yourself and your ability.

Q5 - What was your most difficult / worst business decision?

This is a difficult question to answer as if I hadn’t have made the decisions - good or bad - in the past then I wouldn’t have the opportunities I have today. However I find the most difficult business decisions are when an individual is not performing either in a probation period or in their role and having to deal with that. On the flip side, if this is happening it is generally not the right role for the individual or they are not happy, in this case a change benefits everyone.

Q6 - What would you say was the single most advantageous character trait for success?

The ability to see opportunities and act on them.

Q7 - What happens when you’re stressed or overwhelmed?

Luckily it doesn’t happen very often, if it does happen I tend to not think very rationally. I deal with it by taking a step back, putting whatever it is into perspective and moving on pretty quickly.

Q8 - How do you invest in your own wellbeing. How do you look after yourself?

I enjoy keeping fit and go to the gym most days of the week and on weekends i have a swim. I am lucky enough to have a salt water outdoor pool near where I live. I like a wee challenge and this year i have entered a 100 mile cycle race. This year I also aim to experience more treatments and use more Spa’s from a customer perspective.

Q9 - If you could change one thing about the spa and wellness industry what would it be?

There is still a perception in some parts of hospitality world that Spa’s are not an attractive investment from a commercial standpoint and the overall benefit to the wider business proposition is undervalued. These perceptions are changing and I understand it is our jobs as Spa/Wellness professionals to make strong cases for development. 

and why?

The Spa/Wellness industry is continuing to grow and diversify, the more investment we have in it the more opportunity there will be.

Q10 - Finally, What’s your favourite quote or the best advice you’ve ever been given?

I have had lots of great advice but something that I use very regularly when making difficult decisions or most decisions is from a General Manager that I worked for, he gave us a card we would carry around and the quote would say “Are my actions and behaviours adhering to organisation norms and intended to move the business forward”. - This combined with having the best intentions and enjoyment for what i do makes the Spa & Wellness world a very exciting industry to work.


1. What’s your favourite book ?

Oh dear this question has made me realise I have not read a book for years – I did love the “The Kite Runner”

2. What’s your favourite film of all time?

The films that stick in my head is Star Wars or Superman these are my earliest memories of watching films and I hitchhiked with my dad from Scotland to London to watch Star wars in Leicester Square.  

3. If you could have dinner with anyone, past or present, who would it be and why?

Bit random but “Trevor MacDonald” the newsreader, he just comes across as a real genuine nice person

4. You get taken to your favourite place to be, where are you taken?

Just now it’s a sunny day eating ice cream in “Lyme Regis” with my family

5. Your perfect dinner is?

A nice Fillet Steak with sweet potato hand cut chips and mushrooms stuffed with blue cheese wrapped in parma ham (in the oven)

6. Your go to drink is?

A Rioja to go with my Steak!

7. Your favourite sweet treat is?

Bannoffe Pie

8. What’s your favourite essential oil / scent? –


9. You go for a treatment - what do you have and why?

I have to pick the Ishga mens massage with the head massage option.

10. What’s your favourite flower?


11.You want to sleep deeply, what do you do?

I generally get up at 5am in morning, that helps.

12.You want to energise fast, what do you do?

The gym

13.The theme tune to your life is?

“Oh what a beautiful morning oh what beautiful day I have the funniest feeling everything is going my way” – don’t know the name of the song

14.What makes you laugh to your belly?

My Kids

15.What’s your favourite season?


16. What’s your favourite colour?

Blue or Red

17. Your favourite time of day is?


18. If you could have been anyone or anything else, what/who would you be?

I have always wanted to fly - Superman

19. What's your current TV guilty secret?

I did watch a couple of episodes of Love Island recently

20. Magic dust - you can learn one new skill instantly, what is it?

To do a back flip!

Leon Trayling is an experienced  Director with a demonstrated history of working in the recreational facilities and services industry.

Leon is one of the most exceptional Spa & Wellness leaders, with a clear and genuine passion for people, teamed with a solid and highly evidenced track record in driving successful, sustainable and scaleable business results.

Leon was recognised and awarded Hotel Cateys 2017: Spa Professional for his dedication, leadership and commercial success.

Learn more about Principal Hotels

Learn more about ishga


Want to learn more about what’s possible, practical and beneficial in the treatment room for those with chronic health conditions?

Visit the tpot website

Spa Life UK

We’re proud to be the education partner to Spa Life International

Visit Spa Life Website