Five Ways to Make Your Spa Customer Fall in Love with You

By Elaine Fenard Partner & Chief Operating Officer, Europe and U.S., Spatality | February 12, 2012

The current economic environment has created a focus on spending patterns and while spa in general is enough of a respite at a reasonable price not to qualify as a 'guilty pleasure' spa guests are doing the research and becoming increasingly more savvy about spa-going. It is therefore essential that spa operators take the extra step to know their guests, connect with them, and build loyalty that will enhance repeat visitation and increase revenue.

The experiential nature of spa generally bring guests into the facility initially, it is then up to the operator to create an environment that will keep them coming back to the spa; this could mean multiple times during a vacation or weekly. To build loyalty effectively it is important to develop a connection with the guest so they feel committed to the entire spa - staff, services, and overall concept of the operation. Creating this connection is a worthy challenge that takes consistency to maintain.

1. Fully understand the needs and aspirations of your guests:

Each spa has its own guest profile and it is essential to fine tune the spa experience based on this consumers needs and wants. While many spas conduct a market study prior to opening to determine their target market and competitive environment, your target market and competitive environment will continue to change and it is imperative to assess the competitive environment as well as your guests needs constantly in order to maintain a spa that exceeds the goals and expectations of the guest. Moreover, expanding the research to include other venues where this demographic may spend leisure time and disposable income will help to create a better understanding of what the guest base is looking for from service related experiences. Conducting monthly reviews of other spas, restaurants and local boutiques that target a similar guest will help the spa management team to keep a constant pulse on what your guests are looking for in services, staff interaction, retail options and operational structure. Analyzing both the positive and negative strategies used in the competitive market will create a spa that more intuitively understands and reacts to the guests needs and aspirations.

Leveraging these regularly conducted competitive studies, the spa operation can adjust service touches, menu items and retail product to fill voids in the market; creating a spa that is varied and interesting upon each visit. Without adjusting the core DNA of the spa or the operational structure of the facility, the spa can incorporate fresh ideas into the guest journey to ensure that the spa speaks to the guest's desire to purchase unique items and experiences.

2. Involve the customer in the future development of the spa experience:

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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.