Powerful Partnerships for Spa Planning and Promotions

By Jane Segerberg Founder & President, Segerberg Spa Consulting, LLC | August 06, 2010

Tune in today to any presentation or article on business and the words "alliances" and "partnerships" are prevalent. Finally, we all realize we need to "play well with others" and particularly those "others" where the benefits are mutual and ongoing. Partnerships that pass "The Kayak Test" will be the most beneficial to the planning and promoting of the spa.

The "Kayak Test" for partnerships reveals all. I never thought that a recreation that I enjoy could be a metaphor for goal setting and sealing a partnership, but I discovered it recently on a kayak trip with my husband and tandem Kayak Partner. We hopped in a tandem sea kayak to experience the Na Pali Coast in Kauai. Like business, it is for the 'determined few'. We arrived at 6 AM to get checked out and be instructed that there is no turning back once we passed an early point in the trip. We would be out until 7 PM with 8 hours of hard paddling. It never occurred to me that my partner/husband would even think that he could go at his own pace and rest his paddle when he wanted, rather than match my paddling rhythm – after all we had a destination that was 17 miles away and we didn't want to be out there in the dark! My reality was pushing to get there because we didn't know what upcoming obstacles we might face during the trip and his reality was that we would get there sooner or later. Needless to say, many frustrating moments and discussions ensued about paddling style, etc. Never once did it occur to either of us to talk about why we had such differences of opinion – or in other words, how we visualized the goal and the means to get there.

As I think about the partnerships that we create for spa planning and promotion, I wonder how well we all understand the spa's goals. Do we know what it will look like when we get there and are we fully aware of the pace and direction that we must take in order to arrive? How many times have we been frustrated with employees, vendors, marketers, designers and planners when they haven't understood it our way? How many times have our guests been frustrated because we haven't understood it their way and met and delighted their expectations? When we paddle our 'kayak', all partners on board need to fully understand the end result, pace and capabilities to get there. There is no room for discord, mutiny or partial completion.

A review of the historical gamut of spa planning reveals that in a very short 20 yr. time period, the evolution has gone from a new and attractive 'hook' for the hotel/resort industry to making it bigger, to making it more extravagant to where we are now. Now, we realize it must be sustainable – sustainable financially for the resort and sustainable as a repeat guest experience.

Guests arrive at our spas with the expectation that something wonderful is going to happen in just a very short period of time and they will be able to leave relaxed with reduced stress and more energy than when they arrived. Spas have a tall order to fill and it takes astute planning to deliver and to touch people in amazing ways.

Spa planning and promoting involves a solid partnership of experience, creativity, new ideas and defined goals. Particularly, the partnership with Spa Planners/Consultants, Design Team, Vendors, Marketing Team, Employees and Guests is critical. Spa planning never ends, beginning with the partnership with the planners/consultants, design team, vendors and marketing team; and continuing with ongoing relationships with vendors, marketing team, employees and guests.

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Coming up in February 2019...

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.