Driving Spa Revenue - Secrets to Success

By Gary Henkin President & Founder, WTS International | April 24, 2010

In today's extremely competitive marketplace for the spa/consumer dollar, it is ever more important to take the steps necessary to position your spa for financial success. This is particularly true with regard to taking the appropriate step in planning effectively to drive revenue through a creative promotion and marketing effort. In many cases, spas offer unique and delineative design elements, diverse treatment menus and a friendly and attentive staff. However, not enough attention is paid to taking the steps necessary to consistently drive revenue and enhance the opportunity for a positive bottom line. This can only be achieved by focusing on a number of steps that, in combination with the development of a viable sales and marketing plan, will drive enough revenue to offset the considerable expenses associated with spa operations. Whether you plan to add a spa to your hotel or resort or if you already have one in place, this article will detail a number of ways to plan for a more vibrant revenue stream. Topics for discussion include the importance of staff training and motivation; the retail opportunity; the critical nature of integrating your spa into the fabric of the hotel or resort; data management and use of the internet in driving revenue and why you should consider having a person dedicated solely to providing sales and promotion for the spa among other ideas and recommendations.

There is an assumption that is prevalent among owners and developers who are considering the inclusion of a spa which is that a spa which is operationally sound will ultimately drive enough revenue to generate a positive bottom line. This is not a given, particularly in urban spas, in what has become a highly competitive marketplace. Thus, creative promotion combined with consistent staff training, public relations, advertising and grass roots sales efforts have become ever more important to generating consistent revenue which is enough to produce a positive net operating income for the spa.

All too often, hotel developers assume that in adding a spa to their facility, it will automatically produce revenue enough to compensate for labor and all other operating expenses. In other words, there is the assumption that "if you build it, they will come" and that the development of a spa will almost always drive enough revenue to create a net operating profit. Though spas have proliferated during the past several years, it is a mistake to assume that having a spa will inevitably produce black ink unto itself. There are numerous keys with regard to driving spa revenue effectively. Several keys to success are outlined below.

Develop a well thought out marketing plan

Many spas are opened without the benefit of a viable sales and promotion plan. Don't make this critical mistake. Write out a plan to attack proactively both the internal and external markets. Without the benefit of a well thought out plan, there won't be a focused and targeted approach to driving revenue, and it isn't likely that your spa will be profitable. ** **

Effectively integrate the spa into the hotel

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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.