Spa Marketing: 10 Effective Methods in Creating Buzz

By Elaine Fenard Partner & Chief Operating Officer, Europe and U.S., Spatality | October 28, 2008

Historically, the spa industry hasn't been known as a bastion of marketing prowess, but to be fair, much of that has to do with the fact that most full-service spas (day spas notwithstanding) are embedded into better known and marketed hotels, leaving them as a value-add for various packages and specials. However, some spas are doing wonderful things on their own to build the spa's brand and drive traffic. These efforts help to drive hotel rate and occupancy from both traveling and local audiences, and when expectations are met, a great spa experience can do much for building brand loyalty for the property, helping to keep your customers tied to you on both an emotional and practical level.

To build brand loyalty and traffic for your hotel spa, take a look at what works. The following is our list of top-ten "buzz builders" for marketing spa.

1. Build a spa brand as a forethought, not an afterthought

Most spa guests are interested in some form of healthy living, and the increase in spa use during the past several years bears this out. As such, hoteliers need to realize that building spa brand loyalty helps to build brand loyalty to the asset itself. Build a spa brand that calls-out to consumers, and you can actually attract guests that you wouldn't normally attract. There are many spa options in the world, yet the best ones are built on a solid market positioning focused on a specific key benefit for its audiences. Take great care in determining what your spa brand will be and what it promises your guests. Be sure to fulfill that key benefit via treatments offered, service standards, design and marketing. In short, be the brand, reinforce it, and you will be rewarded.

2. What's in a name?

Sometimes naming is everything. Certain brand names carry with them powerful customer feelings and perceptions that can go well beyond brand-identifiers. Just ask any consumer what the name Starbucks or Apple conjures, and you'll find the answers to be quite a bit more than "coffee" or "computers." That's because these brands have done a good job of creating brand affinity, loyalty, even patriotic-like allegiance. True, their success isn't only due to the name, but it does beg the question: would Starbucks or Apple have been quite as effective in their branding strategies if they didn't have names that were engaging, memorable and unique? Perhaps, but probably not. The same goes for spas. When developing a name for a newly-created spa, don't short-change the process just to get something on paper so that you can quickly develop a logo. Consider your audience and determine the brand vocabulary from which to develop a name. Make sure the name is something that is truly unique within the spa space. Don't be afraid of what might seem strange or unpredictable at first glance, and steer clear of what's expected. Your name should reflect your brand's values, and you'll also want it to be something that can stand alone, representing your brand in a way that you can be proud of and that your customers will remember.

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Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

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