HOTEL BUSINESS REVIEW

July FOCUS: Hotel Spa

 
July, 2019

Hotel Spa: Pursuing Distinction

The Wellness Movement continues to evolve and hotel spas continue to innovate in order to keep pace. Fueled by intense competition within the industry, hotel spas are seeking creative ways to differentiate themselves in the market. An increasing number of customers are searching for very specific, niche treatments that address their particular health concerns and, as a result, some leading spas have achieved distinction by offering only one specialized treatment. Meditation and mindfulness practices are becoming increasingly mainstream as are alternative treatments and therapies, such as Ayurvedic therapies, Reiki, energy work and salt therapy. Some spas specialize in stress management and offer lifestyle coaching sessions as part of their program. Other spas are fully embracing new technologies as a way to differentiate themselves, such as providing wearable devices that track health and fitness biomarkers, or robots programmed with artificial intelligence to control spa environments, or virtual reality add-ons that transport guests to relaxing places around the world. Some spas have chosen to specialize in medical procedures such as liposuction, laser skin therapy, phototherapy facials, Botox and facial fillers, acupuncture and permanent hair removal, in addition to cosmetic body shaping procedures and teeth whitening treatments. Similarly, other spas are offering comprehensive health check-ups and counseling services for those who are interested in disease prevention treatments. Finally, as hotel spas continue to become more diverse, accessible and specialized, there is a growing demand for health professionals with a specific area of expertise. There is a proliferation of top class, quality wellness practitioners who make a name for themselves by offering their services around the globe, including athletes, chefs, doctors, physical trainers and weight loss specialists. The July issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these trends and developments and examine how some hotel spas are integrating them into their operations.

This month's feature articles...

Omer Isvan

The relationship between wellness and hospitality is no longer a playful flirtation or a trend-enforced marriage. As wellness awareness increases at a great pace and as the power of leadership and authority in wellness moves from the hands of the wellness practice into the hands of individual consumers, there is a paradigm shift required in the way we think of spas and wellness facilities. With wellness trends, it becomes apparent that the ubiquitous 'hotel spa' as we got to know so well is now becoming an endangered species. The article also addresses trends in new hotel & resort development, stimulating fresh thought on the integrated hospitality investment methodology. READ MORE

Mary Tabacchi

Today's consumers want more than spa. They look for integrated wellness within hotels. U. S. Spas have a long history starting with colonial times when Europeans arrived on American shores. European customs included thermal or mineral spas. During the Civil War and the two World Wars, spas converted to military hospitals. As antibiotics evolved, spas closed for the "cure". Fast forward to the 1940s when Elizabeth Arden opened the first women's spa called "The Maine Chance" in Arizona and Deborah Szekely opened the first destination spa "Rancho La Puerta" in Tecate, Mexico. By the 1990s there were many independent day spas as well as hundreds of hotel spas. READ MORE

Daniel Poulin

"Feel Welcome" became the new signature of Accor back in 2015, which, according to Accor chairman, is a strong commitment to its audiences and enriches the bond between Accor and its brands. "Feel Welcome encapsulates the generosity and the very essence of hospitality. It is a promise addressed to all our audiences: customers, employees and partners, so that they feel expected, unique and privileged." During our 2018 Spa Director's Academy, a gathering of the entire Accor North and Central America Spa directors, we discussed the changing guest landscape and the correlating challenges and opportunities that enable us to deliver upon this promise especially for our guests recovering from cancer. READ MORE

Lisa Starr

The hospitality industry continues to ride a wave of 10 years of continuous growth (Deloitte), and the spa component is growing alongside. According to the Global Wellness Institute's 2018 Wellness Economy Monitor, the number of Hotel/Resort Spas worldwide reached over 48,000, producing revenues of $36.4 billion. In fact, the hotel spa category is the fastest growing among the six spa types measured by GWI. It seems that the hotel spa is benefiting from the continued strong growth in wellness tourism, as well as consumer's active engagement with wellness concept. Is your hotel spa keeping up with the wellness movement? READ MORE

Jeremy McCarthy

The spa and wellness industry continues to outpace other industries leading to greater and greater competition, particularly in the luxury hotel market. Spa operators today strive to stand out by differentiating themselves from their competitors and reinventing themselves to keep apace of the changing times. But they mustn't lose sight of their core identity. The successful spa brands and operators in this increasingly competitive market will be those who strike the right balance between innovation and staying true to the timeless principles that have always made spas so appealing. READ MORE

Michael Koethner

The preventive and alternative medicine sector and their importance and obligation to work together in order to assist humanity to move through these challenging times of renewal and renewed recognition, will allow us to find new ways of a healthier future environment. The potential of what can be done and achieved with preventive and natural medicine is yet to be re-discovered and explored. The spa and wellness environments provide the perfect settings in order to blend modern effective treatment techniques, advanced technology with mysticism and sacred knowledge. This is a melting point boundless, interesting, enticing, challenging but highly rewarding if done, performed and applied professionally. READ MORE

Renee Moorefield

Wise employers recognize a culture of wellbeing is core to sustainable success. With the rise of wellness offerings within the hospitality industry, thriving employees are key to presenting the best service to ensure satisfied customers and guests return again and again. After all, overworked, overwhelmed, and unhappy employees won't be at their optimal to deliver quality service, eroding customer satisfaction. In the growing wellness movement, the key to profitability doesn't just lie in the bottom line; it lies with leaders who are committed to wellbeing, in themselves and their teams, and a thriving culture that goes far beyond ROI. Wellbeing Leadership has become a must. READ MORE

Laszlo Puczko

In segmentation and motivation modelling, hotel spas follow the standard approach – Doing their best to understand what current and prospective guests may be looking forward to in regards to wellness. While it is imperative to understand what their guests want, they also need to know what guests do not want. Many customers do not always make decisions based on what a certain spa treatment does or skin care product contains, but rather often, what it is not! Does this represent a 'reverse logic' of the same approach or do hotels spas need to revise their business models completely? READ MORE

David  Stoup

The global spa market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 5.66 percent by 2021, and brand positioning enabling premium pricing will be the market driver of that growth. But hotel spas should not be regarded with a "build it and they will come" approach. In fact, if your hotel has an 80-percent occupancy rate, it's not unfair to suspect your spa is utilizing only 15 percent of its capacity on average. The problem is that many spas are built as an amenity for the hotel. That mentality needs to change if owners expect to capture the revenue potential of the space, especially in a world that continues to move to a wellness mindset. READ MORE

Diana Mestre

Traditionally spa and wellness operations have been centered on performance and profitability, with little regard for architectural design strategies that will allow the spa to perform efficiently and operate from a seamless experiential platform. Innovative new spa & wellness designs will have a definite impact on the guest´s experiences and expectations and will make a difference in the bottom line of the Spa. Planning how to design an operating a Spa under the seven senses is vital for the financial success of the spa, and for the creation and implementation of a memorable, impeccable and unforgettable wellness experience for the guest. READ MORE

Lynne McNees

What if you could bring the spa to your guests, in the comfort and privacy of their hotel room? Many hotels have learned they can fill a gap in the service market by offering in-room spa experiences and amenities without the need for extra staffing. Opening the door for guests to enjoy the limitless benefits of spa in their rooms for small fees boosts revenue and aligns the hotel brand with a passion for wellness experiences, which are becoming more and more sought after among traveling professionals. Do your rooms offer experiences? READ MORE

Alisha Fleming

Right now, at hotel resorts across the country, guests are enjoying the rejuvenating benefits of a spa day. They treat themselves to botanical facials, sip on complimentary beverages and indulge in an aromatherapy massage. But behind the scenes, an attentive spa staff is taking steps to mitigate risk and avoid potential workers' compensation or general liability claims. Spas regularly deal with workers' compensation claims, most often repetitive motion injuries and general liability claims resulting from slip-and-fall accidents. To help mitigate risk in their facilities, there are several best practices spas can put in place. READ MORE

Michael G. Tompkins

These are the best of times, and the worst of times... With spa and wellness industry data showing record numbers of visitors and revenues, increases in guest demand and therapist utilization are being offset by labor shortages of licensed massage therapists and estheticians, causing decreases in room utilization. What are spa businesses doing with those unused rooms to generate revenue during this workforce challenged time? Michael Tompkins, partner with Hutchinson Consulting and Past ISPA Chairman, discusses new trends showing up in the market to enhance revenue maximization in today's spas. READ MORE

Marcela Trujillo

While the core of revenue management remains constant, it can be maximized to drive growth in other areas like food and beverage, golf – especially the hotel spa. The spa appeals to a variety of travelers, from the guest on vacation to professionals in need of an hour of relaxation on a business trip. In this article, hotel revenue management expert Marcella Trujillo shares her best tips and strategies for applying the process to increase revenue and financial success at hotel spas. READ MORE

Jim Croghan

Millions of dollars each year are spent on launching the finest spas the world has to offer. Yet time and again, these sumptuously-designed spas with world-class amenities and fantastic technicians begin to struggle shortly post-launch. There are several reasons why these properties start to under-perform so quickly, but the number one reason that we've seen over our 20+ years in the business is a lack of standards training from seasoned professionals. The spa industry is built on wellness, compassion, beauty, and relationships – and successful leaders in the industry have a passion for all these things. Passion alone is not enough for success in this business, however. Successful operators excel because of training. READ MORE

Robert Baldassari

As people face challenges throughout life, they often need a restart button or something to give them a new, fresh perspective. Whether it is an illness, a divorce, a death, a job promotion or change in career, a new baby or a new relationship…life is hectic. Wellness travel helps to put life into perspective and find healthy outlets to make the most of a situation- creating a very fulfilling experience. Many guests find it beneficial to schedule these "resets" multiple times a year because of the difference they feel afterwards. READ MORE

Ann Brown

Impactful spa wellness is all about the approach, and that approach begins with self-evaluation. By answering three equally important questions - 1. How does our mission connect to our menu? 2. What do our guests really need? 3. How does my treatment menu advance our guests' wellness goals? - spa industry professionals can identify what's working, what's not working and how creative ways of integrating modalities can help guests along their wellness journeys. With the right modeling and encouragement of physical, mental and nutritional well-being, your clients will have all the tools they need to start new, healthy habits today. READ MORE

Claire Way

Wellness has been adopted by consumers with a passion that doesn't show any sign of slowing down. It has moved from niche to mainstream and millions are being invested up and down hotel value chains. Where spa is often eliminated from the urban hotel model due to space allocation and return, wellness has the potential to be a different value proposition. The days when location and cost were the only factors hotel guests considered when booking a hotel are fading rapidly. For an increasing number of guests another crucial factor in helping them decide where to stay; wellness! READ MORE

Cecilia Hercik

Trends in the wellness market are showing that the lines between Medical Spas, Resort Spas and Destination Spas are beginning to blur. Aside from spa amenities like tennis courts, lap pools, hydrotherapy circuits and lifestyle-shifting spa treatments, some Resort Spas are taking on the characteristics of a Destination Spa by offering a variety of exercise classes, wellness lectures and global therapies like acupuncture, cupping, sound baths or even full day wellness retreats. Likewise, some Medical Spas are taking on the natural wellness concept by blending natural therapies with their minimally invasive medical procedures and advanced skincare rejuvenation services in a relaxed atmosphere of a spa-like environment. READ MORE

Kristi  Dickinson

According to the Global Wellness Institute, Wellness tourism is forecasted to grow at an average of 7.5% through 2022, considerably faster than the 6.4% growth estimated for overall tourism. The spend will hit $919B, with 1.2B trips taken annually, by 2022. Wellness travelers are high-spending, high-yield tourists. International wellness tourists spend 53% more than typical international tourists and domestic wellness tourists spend 178% more than average domestic tourists. Hotel spas must evolve to attract these travelers. Kristi Dickinson, leader in industry innovation, makes the case for educating guests on the wellness lifestyle and securing a lifelong relationship and revenue stream. READ MORE

Brian De Lowe

Proper Hospitality is expanding from a single Proper-branded hotel – San Francisco Proper Hotel – to a high-end lifestyle hotel brand with three additional properties opening this summer - Santa Monica Proper Hotel in June followed by Austin Proper Hotel & Residences and Downtown LA Proper Hotel. Led by Brad Korzen and Brian De Lowe, Proper Hospitality designs and operates high-end lifestyle experiences under its three distinct brands - Proper Hotels and Residences, Avalon Hotels and Custom Hotel. Proper Hospitality seeks out emerging, urban innovative districts within dynamic U.S. cities. Each Proper property is designed by world-renowned international tastemaker Kelly Wearstler and is an ode to its respective city. READ MORE

Ben Mizes

Unlike with some recent industry-wide disruptions (think Netflix vs. Blockbuster), the hotel industry has weathered the rise of Airbnb, and held on to most of its market. A new study from Clever Real estate uncovers some of the competitive advantages that have allowed the hotel industry to compete with the $38 billion upstart, from 24-hour reliability, to a specific class of amenities, and points the way toward a future of renewed vitality and innovation. READ MORE

Steven D. Weber

A trademark can be a recognizable sign or design that defines a brand. Protecting that trademark can be crucial to a hospitality player attracting guests and maintaining a competitive edge. A hospitality player's success may lead to imitation from competitors. That imitation may lead to infringement of a hospitality player's trademark. Protecting any trademark should be a priority for hospitality players. Failing to protect a trademark can lead to waiving rights and claims that a hospitality player may use to enforce its trademark rights. Hospitality players should seek to understand whether any threats exist to their trademark rights and take appropriate action in response to those threats. READ MORE

Mostafa Sayyadi

Hotel executives began to deal directly with the things that they can control while managing to lessen the burden of threats for things that they could not control. With distinctive competitive advantage or even core competitive advantage, a hotel's internal resources should be managed in order to enhance competitiveness. Therefore, this core-competitive advantage relies within and among people. Hotel executives embrace various internal resources affecting competitive advantage through adding more manageable control and reducing operational risk. Some of these internal resources can be controlled by hotel executives and others are risks that have to be factored into strategic decision-making. READ MORE

Bill Caswell

Early adopters of technology often force competitors to ramp up their technology investments to stay relevant. This scenario is playing out in the hospitality sector right now, where forward-looking companies are upping their technology game and causing others to do the same. However, the existence of technology that can improve the customer experience (CX) is no guarantee that it will be widely adopted. The challenge for the hospitality industry is meeting consumer expectations while ensuring that investments in CX make financial sense. This article discusses both how technology can improve CX – and what's holding companies back from adopting new technology. READ MORE

Zoe Connolly

Recruiting is hard. It's harder when a full team of amazing professionals stops thinking about ways to augment their own crew, and comes to the logical conclusion that it's better to focus on their specific roles than it is to go outside comfort zones. After all, no one wants to rock the boat for a group that's doing amazing work. However, leaders who can encourage their employees to build a pipeline of talent will almost never find themselves unable to meet every guest's requests. READ MORE

John Mavros

Many turn to Starbucks for a caffeinated wakeup call every morning. However, given a recent court ruling, Starbucks now serves as a wakeup call for employers who need to improve their timekeeping practices. This article examines the landmark California Supreme Court decision in Troester v. Starbucks, which illustrates just how important it is to capture every minute that an employee works - even time that seems short and trivial, or also known as "de minimis." This article will explore the lessons learned from Starbucks and further outline best timekeeping practices that all hotels should consider implementing to avoid an employment wage-hour lawsuit. READ MORE

Paul van Meerendonk

So, you want to be a high-performing hotel revenue manager, but how much should you understand about analytics, and how much can be left to the scientific experts and automated technology solutions? Well, does being a safe, efficient driver really depend on that much technical knowledge of what's under the hood? Sure, you should probably know where to put the gas, but it's the mechanic we trust to effectively diagnose and repair major issues, and there's an entire history of trial-and-error innovations built into your vehicle that make it into the advanced machine you rely on to get from point A to point B. READ MORE

Herve Tardy

Power anomalies don't take a summer vacation. From heat waves to hurricanes, wildfires to monsoons, there is no shortage of disasters waiting to wreak havoc on critical hotel systems between the end of the school year and Labor Day. But with the right approach to power management, hotels can ensure system uptime if disaster strikes, keeping guests protected from the complications of summer blackouts. This article will explore some of summer's greatest threats and offer steps to prepare for power outages that could adversely affect business operations. READ MORE

Gino  Engels

The most effective revenue managers are pros at nuance and experimentation, looking for patterns and trends that inform their strategy. The ideal setup includes technology that automatically analyses local market demand data alongside pricing data, and puts it in a visual, approachable format. But what are the key factors that drive hotel revenue? In this concise article, we review eight or nine themed clusters that can guide your thinking, including: your compset, as part of your pricing strategy and demand analysis; other demand factors; channel management; promotions and discounts; competitor benchmarking; reputation management and rate parity; employee engagement; and digital and metasearch advertising. READ MORE

Priyanko Guchait, PhD

This article introduces a new service recovery method called Stealing Thunder - a proactive strategy to handle service failures which can have a significant impact on customer loyalty and trust. Stealing thunder implies the service provider identifies a service failure first and takes the initiative to report the failure to the customer before the customer has identified the service failure. When proactive service recovery strategies such as stealing thunder are used, there may not be a need to offer monetary compensation to customers following a service failure. Recommendations are provided to managers about incorporating "stealing thunder" in employee training. READ MORE

Lawrence Adams

Hotels and resorts have increasingly become targets of terrorist attacks. Ease of access to facilities that are designed to promote welcoming hospitality to its guests and visitors make securing hotels against attacks a difficult challenge. Terrorist regard hotels and resorts as "target-rich" since guests in luxury lodging are typically affluent and potentially politically influential. Recent attacks emphatically demonstrate that today's hotel and resort security systems need to focus not only on petty criminals and intruders bent on theft, vandalism, arson or personal assaults, but must employ cutting edge technology in early threat detection of potential terrorist attacks. READ MORE

John Welty

Human trafficking is a despicable crime where individuals are forced into commercial sex or labor. It is crime that affects nearly 25 million victims around the world and a crime in which, too often, hotels unknowingly play a part. The privacy offered by hotels is particularly attractive to traffickers and can be a weak spot for hotels. In this article, we look at recent trafficking incidents where hotels were involved, state laws on human trafficking impacting hotels and what hotel operators and staff can do to prevent these incidents or properly identify such a situation should they encounter one. READ MORE

Rick Garlick

With so many hotel brands in the marketplace, the one distinguishing characteristic is how well these brands create loyalty among their customers. Examine the best ways to build brand loyalty in the hotel industry by first understanding the emotional and rational drivers of hotel bookings. Both factors need to be met to build a sustainable customer base, but how can brands find the balance? Whether it be providing an experience that is more rational-driven or one that is more emotional-driven, explore ways to build experiences around the customer's wants and needs first to ultimately improve brand loyalty. READ MORE

Kurt Meister

For U.S. hotels, an active shooter situation ranks high on the list of security concerns. And without proper employee training, a hotel has no chance of handling such a situation correctly. Effective training should include local law enforcement, first responders and all employees. It should address real-life scenarios that prepare staff members to respond appropriately. It should include key roles and responsibilities for each division head. And it should include smart prevention strategies. This article walks you through the basics and provides resources hotel general managers can use to develop their own program or enhance their current training. READ MORE

Steve Cohen

Artificial intelligence will never replace the warmth and welcome of personal interaction; however, in the hospitality industry, it can be an effective tool to enhance the guest experience. AI can help smooth out touchpoints and anticipate guests' needs. While the guest is at the center of any hotel or resort experience, AI can also benefit brands with back-of-house efficiencies like improving supply chain, staffing, scheduling and more. Used correctly, AI has the potential to vastly improve the hotel guest experience. It is a tool that can make hospitality brands more profitable, but only as a complement to the human touch. READ MORE

Marcela Trujillo

Revenue management and marketing can seem like two different worlds. Different in many respects, many revenue and marketing teams operate without true cooperation. In this article, Marcela Trujillo with Total Customized Revenue Management (TCRM) explores the similarities and differences between revenue and marketing teams, uncovers the potential of a partnership between the two disciplines and explains how a collaboration can work to attract the perfect customer - one who will not just stay at the hotel or resort, but will also spend within the property and increase total asset revenue. READ MORE

Adria Levtchenko

Labor costs are a significant portion of any hotel's total operating costs. At the same time, hotel property management companies are competing with other service industries to find enough qualified (and affordable) entry-level and experienced candidates. No one wants to lower service levels or possibly negatively impact guest satisfaction. The solution applies in applying new technologies that can enhance worker productivity, job satisfaction and the overall hotel experience. This article discusses how today's best hotel task optimization software platforms can accomplish these goals and make a positive contribution to a hotel's bottom line. READ MORE

Rani Gharbie

The Pod Hotels will be expanding from five to fifty properties over the next decade across North America and, eventually, globally. BD Hotels has appointed Rani Gharbie as Head of Acquisitions & Development to lead this robust expansion plan to key markets such as San Francisco, Miami, Austin, Boston, Nashville, Seattle, Toronto, and Mexico City. The Pod Hotels portfolio includes New York-based Pod Times Square, Pod 51, Pod 39 and Pod Brooklyn, as well as Pod Washington D.C. with two more hotels in the direct pipeline - Pod Philly and Pod LA. In addition, there are over ten ongoing discussions for new deals. READ MORE

S. Lakshmi Narasimhan

What is the way forward? The future is indeed bright for mixed use projects. Buoyed by a young, sophisticated, urban demand base (millennials and Gen Z) which is willing to fork out big bucks if unique, personalized experiences are delivered, stake holders have been falling over themselves to jump on to this bandwagon which has long term implications for their return on investment. On the one side constant innovation keeps the demand fertile and on the other, intelligent pricing keeps the bottom line thriving and happy. This is a heady cocktail that no self-respecting stakeholder will be willing to pass up. READ MORE

Coming up in June 2022...

Sales & Marketing: Promoting Peace of Mind


As the hotel industry transitions to a more familiar position, it is still necessary for hotels to emphasize in their marketing the health protocols they have implemented to ensure guest safety and wellness. Above all, guests need to be reassured that every precaution is being taken to safeguard their well-being. Additionally, there are other marketing strategies that hotels can implement as a way to boost their business. For example, neighborhood marketing is a tactic that relies heavily on appealing to local audiences. Incentives targeting locals can fulfill the craving that some people have for time away from home, but aren't ready to hop on a plane. Another viable strategy is to promote experiences in nature. After being stuck inside for so long, many people are looking for hotels to help them re-connect with the great outdoors. The June Hotel Business Review will focus on the marketing strategies that some hotels are adopting and how they are benefiting from them.