Rethinking the Property Spa Can Promote Hotel Wellness

By Diego Lowenstein Chief Executive Officer, Lionstone Development | May 28, 2017

There is no question that the way spas are viewed and used has evolved significantly over the centuries. In ancient times, entire towns sprung up around mineral-rich springs where people used that water to facilitate healing for a variety of different ailments. In fact, many believe the word itself is an acronym derived from the Latin phrase "Sanus Per Aquam," meaning "Health Through Water."

Today, spas are no longer just about healing the body, they have evolved into a wellness and leisure experience with a wide range of treatments, products, and services that promote relaxation and physical, mental and emotional wellness-and the industry continues to change and progress.

When done right, hotel owners can use a spa to tap into a valuable market and enhance the hospitality experience by restoring mindfulness and overall well-being for patrons. This, in turn, can earn repeat guests and positively impact the property's bottom line. That's why it's so important for hotel owners to stay ahead of evolving industry trends and guest expectations, and avoid common pitfalls when developing or renovating an on-site spa.

Differentiate Through Unique Treatments and Products

Owners who successfully differentiate their hotels typically have a strategic advantage, and spa treatments remain a terrific way to stand out from the competition. Clients, particularly in the upscale resort sector, are clearly looking for interesting alternatives and a cutting-edge experience. To avoid run-of-the-mill spa offerings, some hotels may now promote one particular product or a unique treatment.

For example, spas that work with wine or olive oil have that differentiating factor from others in the sector. Keeping that in mind during the recent spa renovation at the Ritz-Carlton South Beach, we made sure to bring in new alternative treatment equipment with unique uses of mud and water, and provide fun treatments like the "Miami Detox" and the "Night Out On The Town," so we could amplify our services for our guests.

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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.