Looking for Spa Assistance in all the RIGHT Places

By Jane Segerberg Founder & President, Segerberg Spa Consulting, LLC | October 28, 2008

The current economic downturn makes us all look at our businesses differently and realize the importance of good planning and execution. Your property's commitment to a new spa build, expansion or renovation during the current economic climate not only is a strategically smart maneuver, but also one that requires a talented team. When this short-term downturn begins to level out and improve, your property will be poised with a compelling edge on the market.

In this article we will briefly examine the state of the spa industry and indications for spa development, then focus on the team of services and what each should bring to the project. The intention is for you, the reader, to have a clear understanding of "who does what", why each is important and what to expect from each area of expertise.

As Frank Blake, CEO of Home Depot recently observed, "It is easier to understand the need for change when things are tough". It is important to keep a sense of direction about where your property is heading. Frank Blake's number one tip for turning around in an economic downturn is: "Don't be afraid to invest in the business during a downturn. You'll be in a position of strength when the economy recovers."

With the above in mind, a quick re-cap of the current state of the Spa Industry is helpful to gain a sense of direction for the new spa, expansion or renovation of the spa. The Spa Industry is maturing and spa goers are extremely savvy about spa treatments with high expectation for the level of service delivery, spa ambiance and the effectiveness of the spa treatments. Spa-goer demographics are changing to reflect a broader age range that includes the late twenties and early thirties all the way through the mid sixties. The female/male ratio is no longer dominated by female spa-goers, especially in the hotel/resort spas with the rate nearing 50/50. The increase in international travelers and family/friend reunions and groups also affects the facility program and the spa treatment program.

Of all the types of spa properties in the Industry, the resort and hotel spa businesses tend to be the most luxurious, chic and high end. Therefore, there are high expectations amongst spa consumers for resorts and hotels to have a high level spa facility and program. Preparing for this discerning and shifting market cannot include fluff or gimmicks, only authentic life-enriching experiences. Good service is critical and it goes hand in hand with a high quality product and well-organized facility.

The smart players are moving to improve the level of service, design and programming of their spas. Well conceived new, expanded or renovated spa models include design flexibility in order to target the spa's market and the changing requirements of the market. In addition, with its need to meet higher service expectations, facilities should be designed to organize the service delivery efficiently. Employees are expensive and seemingly scarcer at the higher services levels, so facility design must organize and accommodate service that can be accomplished with minimal staff.

Coming up in January 2018...

Mobile Technology: Relentless Innovation

Technology has become a crucial component in attracting and retaining hotel guests, and the need to enhance a guest’s technology experience is driving a relentless pace of innovation. To meet and exceed guest expectations, 54% of hotels will spend more on technology in 2018, and mobile solutions in particular will top the list of capital investments. Many hotels are integrating mobile booking, mobile keys, mobile payments and mobile check-in into their operations. Other hotels are emphasizing the in-room experience, boosting bandwidth and upgrading flat screen TVs to more easily interface with guest mobile devices. And though not yet mainstream, there are many exciting technology developments on the near horizon. The Internet of Things (loT) is taking form in some places, and can be found in guest room control systems, voice activation systems, and in wearable sensors that can be used for access and payment options. Virtual reality headsets are available at some hotels so guests can enjoy virtual trips to exotic locations or if off-property, preview conference facilities and guest rooms. How long will it be before a hotel employs a fleet of robots for room service, or utilizes a hologram as a concierge, or installs gesture-controlled walls that feature interactive digital displays? Some hotels are already using augmented reality for translation services, or interactive wall maps, or even virtual décor. This pace of innovation is challenging property owners and brands to stay on top of the latest technology trends while still addressing current projects. The January Hotel Business Review will explore what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in the mobile technology space.