Ever Wonder What Really Goes On Inside a Spa?

By Casey Olsen Owner, Spa Sources | October 28, 2008

Prior to starting my health spa consulting firm, I was the spa director for glamorous celebrity filled world renowned spas. Being a director of a spa encompasses a myriad of responsibilities, most important of which may be the personal meeting and greeting of guests utilizing the facility. Of course, guest service and care is vital to the success of a spa, and if your spa caters to a sophisticated market, then meeting these guests' expectations can be a bit more challenging. But, has anyone ever revealed what really goes on inside a spa? Here's a peek at some of my experiences behind those tightly closed doors, no names, of course!

Normally, guests arrive at the spa with an idea of what to expect from their day. They may have made appointments for some treatments that they have been looking forward to for a long time, so the anticipation level is already heightened even before they step foot through your doors. Knowing this, those of us that work within this magical realm are well prepared for their arrival. But what we most always can not predict is what happens to a guest when they disrobe and surrender their bodies to our staff.

A frequent occurrence in the reception area after a man would sign in to the spa, they often would say, "Can I go into THAT spa, instead," signaling towards the ladies spa entrance. We all know what they were kidding about, so my response was always, "Believe me, you really do not want to go in there. I know what you are thinking, but keep that image in your mind, dozens of beautiful naked ladies relaxing and perspiring in the steam room. Trust me, that picture is far more attractive than the reality!"

The brutal reality of the naked scene inside of a spa is that the far majority of the guests, both men and woman, are often out of shape and many have scars running in all directions. Sorry, to bust that bubble for you all, but, just take a look around you in real life and imagine Joe or Jane public naked. See what I mean? Not always a pretty picture.

Also, as far as the lady guests in the spa, most of the time once the make- up comes off and the steam room works its magic on drooping hair, the real human emerges. In the same sense, lose a man's outer layer of clothing and what is hiding below, more often than not, reveals a non-Godly appearance.

At one of the most famous spas for which I worked, we encountered many celebrities and so called "VIP's." Entourages would arrive to include body guards and assistants. As I would shepard these famous people into the spa and show them that their body guards were not necessary, the "famous" would begin to relax a bit. But here again, famous does not always mean class.

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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.