Adding Value Without Affecting Your Clients

By Melinda Minton Executive Director, SPAA | May 15, 2011

The economy continues to creep while hotel spas are doing well but challenged by the newly savvy, penny-pinching consumer. While things seem on the upswing the spa-goer is forever changed by the recent prolonged unemployment, rising fuel costs and economic instability. The truth is, the spa-goer profile was changing anyway. As spas increased in number so did those frequenting spas, however, their wants and needs were changing. No longer will the $200 per hour spa service make it in most cities without the recipient feeling that they have really received something with a measurable impact on their health and well being. How does your spa add value, reduce costs and generate revenues?


The amount of wasted funding that goes into sundry items, linens and backbar is extraordinary. Allocating a cost per treatment to the spa is vital in determining a spa's bottom line. Measuring the amount of treatment product per service is a great starting point towards cutting down treatment cost. Disallowing for large containers of product per treatment room is both sanitary and wise in terms of wastage. Finally, revising treatment step-by-step practices to reduce costs of linens will save dollars per treatment. Creating treatments that are free of waste, clean up time and extra product create for an efficient and easy treatment with more emphasis given to hands-on service time and less given to extra towels, wraps, swabs and product.

Go through your menu with the fine eye of an auditor. Map out per treatment each specific service step, items used and product cost. Think about reducing the number of towels, sheets used, cotton swabs gone through. Being sanitary is paramount but using items sparsely is obviously necessary. Furthermore, consider measuring amount of product used for those services that appear to be product "light" like massage, make up touch ups, lash tinting, peels. Are there steps being taken during the services that are unnecessary? Are their items used during the services that are redundant or simply wasteful? Consider expediting small quantities of treatment items per service, signing off on add-ons like ampoules during facials and added product for extras like multi-layer masquing. Finally, think about cutting cotton swabs in half, pre-cutting waxing muslin, pre-measuring body treatment product and cutting back on even the most Spartan of supplies such as paper towels, steamy towels and disposable brushes. Small acts of refinement with you outlaying of costs adds up quickly and significantly.

Give Away Value

Rather than offering discounts try offering value when creating your next promotional piece. Value added can be inexpensive to the spa, coveted by the spa-goer and amount to more revenue per service without much effort. Try giving away a sampler kit of skin care with each facial. With a follow-up call most spa-goers are likely to return for full-sized product as well as appoint subsequent services. Adding a paraffin dip to a facial, a lash tint, eyebrow shaping or make-up touch up to a service are all natural add-on's to most services and are greatly appreciated by the typical client. Adding a service or product to a spa treatment or series service ensures that a client will walk away feeling like they got their money's worth and then some. Think about creating oils for treatments like massage that are customized to the client's personal scent preferences. The time spent with the client determining which essential oils work for them can be invaluable relating time that can lead to additional retail sales. For example, a client assisting in creating a grapefruit oil for their massage might enjoy a beautiful decanter to store the oil in for their master bathroom. Similarly their chosen scent can be added to bath salts, bath gel, body lotion, or to a decorative diffusor for their home. The same type of one on one time can likewise lead to additional service sales. Determining the client's dosha type allows for prescriptive services like chakra balancing, skin rejuvenation and detoxification treatments that are created around the client's tendencies and individual idiosyncrasies.

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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.