Building Loyalty with Intergenerational Spa and Wellness Programs

By Mia A. Mackman President & Owner, Mackman ES | August 27, 2017

Growth in travel and tourism continues to rise in conjunction with intergenerational lifestyles, shifting values and increasing wellness keynotes. Every generation has unique preferences and imperatives that set them apart and stick. Accounting for nearly half of the population, Millennials and Generation Z have considerable weight in the market share. This article examines perceived values vs. core values and the benefits of incorporating a multi-generational, multi-faceted approach to spa and wellness programming to enhance customer spend and loyalty.

Generational Overlay

The structure of the family unit has dramatically changed over the years. This has inevitably impacted families, day-to-day living, tourism and travel. The Pew Research Center reported "a record 60.6 million Americans live in multigenerational households." (Figure 1) This averages to "nearly one-in-five Americans" that are living in a diverse family environment with a multigenerational overlay.

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Generation X and Millennials are the "bridge markets" between the aging Baby Boomer population and the radically different mindset of Generation Z. The Millennial market has been the most studied, documented and #selfie-chronicled generation of all time. Whereas many seek to understand the mentality and profile the millennials up close, most forget they are yet, a part of the bridge connecting the choices made today to the behaviors and preferences of the future.

Unlike the generations before them, Millennials and Gen X are immersed in modern-day parenting. They face higher demands on time, financial uncertainty and chronic social, political and lifestyle changes. They are also the first generations to raise children in a highly digital age alongside a constant interface with the internet. Despite the challenges of parenting and striving towards well-being and work-life balance, their dedication to multi-task, care-take and provide for their aging parents is stronger than ever.

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Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.