Why Every High-End Hotel Needs a Spa Butler

By Steven Ferry Chairman, International Institute of Modern Butlers | February 18, 2009

The spa industry is the fourth largest leisure industry in the United States, generating $11.2 billion in annual revenues through 136 million visits at over 12,000 locations. Massage comprises 84% of all services delivered. Day spas earned the most business, being responsible for more customer visits than resort/hotel spas. Why is this?

Is it because day spas are more sumptuous or the treatments are better? The answer seems to be, "No." The difference between day spas and hotel spas lies in the service. Generally, guests tend to feel more comfortable in smaller venues where they consider they are receiving personalized service. They want to feel known and have their needs understood. They return to the favorite therapists who know their likes and dislikes. As spas become an increasing part of a hotel's revenue base, service needs to match expectations; and that improvement comes from both within the spa as well as the hotel side.

Currently, this kind of personalized service is less common in larger hotels where patrons tend to feel like one of many. The Spa Butler can help bridge this gap.

The services of the Spa Butler are not for all guests. The Spa Butler is reserved for the most discerning guests, those staying in the most expensive suites and villas. These discerning guests often return to the hotel repeatedly and expect customized and personalized service. The addition of the Spa Butler to the hotel staff can be a cogent selling point for high-end clients as the Spa Butler not only provides personalized service but can also add a level of privacy that is often sought by celebrities and other high-profile guests. The Spa Butler is trained to recognize different guests that emerge across the luxury consumer category.

In fact, Prince and Associates, a leading consulting firm to the highest end of clientele, revealed in Elite Traveler that these wealthy clients spend an average of $107,000 each on spas and spa treatments in 2005. They paid an average of $224,000 each for functions held at a hotel, resort or spa. Property "takeovers" for a day or more have become increasingly popular among these people.

Additionally, hotel guests leave feedback surveys behind them that the Spa Butler can use to connect the hotel's services with those of the spa. This is currently not happening in most high-end hotels where spa and hotel services remain separate and isolated entities: the bigger the hotel and spa, the less connection and interaction there tends to be between them. Connecting the two can provide substantial increased income for the hotels and spas. At the same time, the Spa Butler, by connecting the hotel with the spa in a personalized manner, can provide service that surpasses those offered in competing and currently more financially successful day spas.

Coming up in March 2018...

Human Resources: Value Creation

Businesses must evolve to stay competitive and this is also true of employment positions within those organizations. In the hotel industry, for example, the role that HR professionals perform continues to broaden and expand. Today, they are generally responsible for five key areas - government compliance; payroll and benefits; employee acquisition and retention; training and development; and organizational structure and culture. In this enlarged capacity, HR professionals are no longer seen as part of an administrative cost center, but rather as a member of the leadership team that creates strategic value within their organization. HR professionals help to define company policies and plans; enact and enforce systems of accountability; and utilize definable metrics to measure and justify outcomes. Of course, there are always new issues for HR professionals to address. Though seemingly safe for the moment, will the Affordable Care Act ultimately be repealed and replaced and, if so, what will the ramifications be? There are issues pertaining to Millennials in the workforce and women in leadership roles, as well as determining the appropriate use of social media within the organization. There are new onboarding processes and e-learning training platforms to evaluate, in addition to keeping abreast of political issues like the minimum wage hike movement, or the re-evaluation of overtime rules. Finally, there are genuine immigration and deportation issues that affect HR professionals, especially if they are located in Dreamer Cities, or employ a workforce that could be adversely impacted by federal government policies. The March Hotel Business Review will take a look at some of the issues, strategies and techniques that HR professionals are employing to create and sustain value in their organization.