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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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.