Evaluating Your Spa Operation: The issues that determine if your spa is as profitable as it can be

By Gayle Bulls Dixon Owner/Founder, Breathe Spa Management Company | October 28, 2008

My how times have changed! Today, spas are the reason that many guests select specific resorts... in fact, consumers seek out the trendiest treatments and programs. And, just what are considered some of today's "in" treatments?

The juxtaposition of new and ancient treatments is resulting in very targeted and effective therapies. Hydrotherapy has become a catch phrase for trendy treatments that combine water therapy (like a warm bath, sauna or steam) with traditional herbs, exfoliating scrubs, mud and essential oils. For instance, Breathe Spa's Signature Herbal Bath is derived from Native American healing customs, an aromatic bath that includes the scents of sage, sea fennel and other herbs known for their cleansing and purifying properties.

Ancient healing philosophies are offering spa-goers new options, as well. Spa-goers can't get enough of ancient treatments like Champissage, which is a traditional Indian head massage, effective for people who carry stress in their shoulders and neck. It is more than just a head rub because it includes a more subtle form of massage that targets the chakras and brings healing, energy and balance to the body.

Philosophies like Ayurveda, the traditional Indian Science of Life, are ancient lifestyle and holistic philosophies that spas are pursuing to offer treatments that achieve the ideal balance of body, mind and spirit are also extremely popular and sought-after.

So, while yesterday's spa was a wonderful property amenity, although not necessarily a moneymaker, today's spa should be viewed as a profit center just like other hotel divisions such as rooms and food & beverage, and it should be operated under many of the same guiding principles and philosophies. The correct mix of revenue per treatment room, created by well-defined staffing levels, number of treatments per technician and cost of products to support the service are all important. Additionally, there should be a strong retail objective that supports the over-all revenue potential per customer. The over-all revenue per customer should be a good balance between retail sales through the technician's up selling as a part of their overall service mixed with "stand-alone" sales at the main desk/lobby area.

Here are some additional pertinent questions and issues you should consider to significantly contribute to your spa's profitability and also keep it up-to-date with the latest trends so you can grow the level of visitors, maintain the current client base and offer the right mix of products and services to your guests. Discuss these issues with your executive committee or spa operator to make sure you are maintaining the highest level of service and cutting-edge techniques while staying profitable.

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Coming up in June 2019...

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.