Hotel Spas: The Guest Host Program
By Peggy Borgman President, Preston Wynne, Inc. | October 28, 2008
These changes were driven by higher expectations on the part of customers. Spas, promising experiences of bliss, nirvana, heaven and sanctuary, had to make sure that this happy hallucination wasn't rudely interrupted by poor service at the front desk.
Today's spa guest is even more demanding. And today's spa competition is much more fierce. It is no longer possible to differentiate your spa's customer service with efficient, friendly support staff. Fielding a capable team is simply the price of entry into the increasingly high-stakes spa game. Many spas have already specialized their teams, separating the reservations function from the front desk. Spas have also separated checkout from checkin desks, permitting a less harried feeling when customers are departing.
Continuous improvements in effectiveness, product knowledge, and technical skills also help. But to really differentiate, you need to turn your customer service into a "treatment."
Support teams in spas are typically designed around the spa's work flow needs. Checking a guest in and out, scheduling appointments, and other activities drive the design of most teams. But an ideal customer experience would actually include none of these activities! These pieces of the spa visit are where the "real world" collides with the fantasy.
The most important element of these interactions is the opportunity for a client to feel valued and to experience a sense of belonging or connection with your spa. That sense of belonging can blossom into loyalty. This is our most important goal: customer loyalty is a key driver of profitability in a service business. Excellent service indirectly helps foster these warm and fuzzy feelings. But we took it a step further.
The Guest Host program premiered in our spa about a year ago. The Host is a dedicated position, a specialty. A Host's job is to ensure, as much as possible, that a bond of loyalty is formed between our new guests and our spa. The Host shepherds the guest through their first three appointments at the spa, or until the guest has made those important connections and forged a loyalty with us.