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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Social Media: Getting Personal

There Social media platforms have revolutionized the hotel industry. Popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Tumblr now account for 2.3 billion active users, and this phenomenon has forever transformed how businesses interact with consumers. Given that social media allows for two-way communication between businesses and consumers, the emphasis of any marketing strategy must be to positively and personally engage the customer, and there are innumerable ways to accomplish that goal. One popular strategy is to encourage hotel guests to create their own personal content - typically videos and photos -which can be shared via their personal social media networks, reaching a sizeable audience. In addition, geo-locational tags and brand hashtags can be embedded in such posts which allow them to be found via metadata searches, substantially enlarging their scope. Influencer marketing is another prevalent social media strategy. Some hotels are paying popular social media stars and bloggers to endorse their brand on social media platforms. These kinds of endorsements generally elicit a strong response because the influencers are perceived as being trustworthy by their followers, and because an influencer's followers are likely to share similar psychographic and demographic traits. Travel review sites have also become vitally important in reputation management. Travelers consistently use social media to express pleasure or frustration about their guest experiences, so it is essential that every review be attended to personally. Assuming the responsibility to address and correct customer service concerns quickly is a way to mitigate complaints and to build brand loyalty. Plus, whether reviews are favorable or unfavorable, they are a vital source of information to managers about a hotel's operational performance.  The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to effectively incorporate social media strategies into their businesses.