Spa Retail Management: What does it mean?

By Nina Curtis Founder & President, The Nile Institute | October 28, 2008

Retailing is "serious" business in today's global economy. Spa goers are more savvy and knowledgeable, demanding better value and guest care, and progressive spa retailers are listening and addressing their guests' needs as fast as they can.

The Spa Retail Management process is comprised of key components that allow you to develop a foundation that will enhance your business strategy and positively effect your bottom-line.

The Retail Concept is one of the first things that need to be defined. This focuses on determining your target market's needs and how you will satisfy those needs more effectively and efficiently. Who do you currently serve and how well are you serving them? Take a look at your current spa offering to determine what you sell and who is buying it.

What do you sell? What is your retail mix? How have you integrated all that you do? These are just a few questions that need to be answered to define your retail concept. Who are your competitors and what do you do that is unique and that ads 'use value' to keep your guest coming back time and time again?

What products do you sell? These are tangible and intangible items that your guests purchase. Often focus is only given to the tangible things that are sold but even the "experience" is a product that might need to be a line item.

Your tangible products are your skin and body care items, your nail care, hair care and accessory items. Your intangible products are your facials, body treatments, body massage, nail care treatments and hair styling. Do you have these on an inventory spread sheet? Are your treatments directly connected to the tangible items you offer? Often not. When a guest comes in for a treatment do your spa associates know exactly what professional home care recommendations to make? And do they? This is where the "buck" usually stops. This is where I hear people say things like, "I'm not a sales person". This is where the communication breaks down.

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Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.