Mitigating Spa and Wellness Investment Risks

By Mia A. Mackman President & Owner, Mackman ES | May 20, 2018

Spa and Wellness program structures fall into a wide range of performance categories and operating models. For hotels, there are multiple applications that include combinations of relaxation, well-being and treatment-based sessions. While some of the newest and popular trends include features centered on health and lifestyle; there are often wide gaps between drive, delivery, and financial return. Having an acute understanding of how spa and wellness features intersect with perceived value and profitability percentages, conveys important impacts on asset performance, momentum and risk.

Spa and Wellness structures that deliver long-term value and execute well are shaped commonly by three things successful integration, economic performance and a core company mission. It's common to see activities like yoga, mindfulness meditation and forest bathing in the wellness fold. However, understanding how these activities contribute to the total revenue ratios of the property is key to increasing RevPAR and fostering a preeminent and thorough return on investment. It's also pertinent to understand the demographics, customer profile and central selling points of the hotel or resort.

Conceptual Planning and Development

Wellness focused development is generating intense pursuits throughout the hospitality sector. There are a multitude of innovative design styles, new concepts, healthy building, and restorative developments underway worldwide. In the past, simple floor planning and designs were fixed components of a new build. Today, floor planning has become more fluid and organizing design components with a sense of flexibility and freedom is a beneficial advantage. Creating infrastructures that accommodate program changes, fluctuations in guest flow cycles, and future growth can help support spatial alterations and facilitate productive engagement.

Understanding what the needs of the property are in tandem with the goals it has for growth, can help tailor essential design segments. This can effectively mark conceptual ideals that fit appropriately or clash with the scope of development and square footage per return on investment. For example, designing spa and wellness spaces with distinct singularities or non-negotiable room allocations, can be counterproductive. This applies to utilities, fixtures, the use of rooms as well as wall density and the overall layout and theme.

Concepts that which are tied too tightly to fleeting trends can become a liability. Whereas, general wellness themes that maintain a sense of agility can foster more security, customization and yield stronger outcomes. For example, a spa that offers full-service treatments based on sensational verve is likely to lack the depth necessary to diversify and readily advance extended services. Choosing to modify or expand services from existing systems built on fundamentals leaves room for higher levels of education, innovative add-on services and program flexibility.

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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.