Turn Key Spa: Is such a thing possible for your hotel?
By Melinda Minton Executive Director, SPAA | October 28, 2008
Like any franchise concept, a strong brand brings with it certain qualities. Brands are typically recognizeable. Hotel guests who are travelling can recognize the brand and assume that they are familiar with the product. In other words, they are safe with the product and have some notion of what to expect during the service. A brand allows for accountability of quality in an unknown environment. Finally a brand of any type draws the client in. Like a safety net the brand is a welcome sign over an unfamiliar establishment. Because it is human nature to be drawn to the familiar, a brand allows for the hotel guest to feel more at home and, consequently, much more prone to take part in enjoying the spa.
Brand are more likely to have tested and time proven signature products. Consquently no matter the location of the spa, hotel guests will be prone to purchase. staples, new items, travel sets and items prescribed by the spa staff during their visit whether travelling for business or pleasure. Because spas are so very dependent on retail sales to plump profit margins, this difference is significant. Moreover, retail sales are typically where hotel spas really fall short--painfully lacking in retail sales as well as generating a repeat clientele. Brands help to establish sturdy foundations for both generating both more robust retail sales and creating repeat business particularly among business travelers or those who enjoy relaxing at the same spot season after season.
Brands actually lend some security to the employment equation as well. Because spa technicians can be uncertain of their skill sets early on in their careers they are reassured by the stability, routine and procedural certainty of a franchise or licensed brand. Following a step by step instructional for each service offered is usually exactly what estheticians are looking for when considering the ideal working environment. Furthermore, the working environment within a facility known for a brand is much more secure ensuring the aura of continuing employment, a steady paycheck and even opportunities within the company as a whole whether that be within the hotel chain or the brand as a separate entity. The opportunities offered by a brand are perceived as being greater whether that perception is real or imagined.
Although it seems like implementing a brand within your hotel will solve the problems brought on by the inclusion of a spa facility, this is oftentimes not at all the case. Day to day operations and management issues that plague many spas are common at spa franchises as well. Because the brand concept is new, most licensing programs or franchises simply have not worked out the multiple problems that occur daily at spas. Many regional chains of spas have created solutions for common problems like having extra staff to cover for sick employees, managing the many issues brought about by poor skill sets, bad attitudes and faulty social skills among staff and high expectations on the part of clients. When a brand gets it right the assumption is that something will go wrong everyday and there will be an instant solution to the problem that has been tried and perfected within the system.