Your Spa is Unique. So Why Isn't Your Marketing?
By Prentice Howe VP, Executive Creative Director, Tocquigny | May 22, 2011
River rocks along the back, mud masks, cucumber slices, a freshly picked orchid resting atop a massage table - Spa marketing is overrun with tired, undifferentiated marketing cliches. If you have any doubt, just try the Logo Swap Test. Grab the nearest spa ad and replace the logo with a competitor's logo. If the message is unique, tenable and true to the spirit of the spa, the ad should no longer make sense. Problem is, in most cases, the ad functions exactly the same with the competitor's logo in place.
Is my rant hitting too close to home? Maybe just a little? It's okay, your spa isn't alone. Undifferentiated spa marketing is plaguing the nation. And it's likely a result of one of two things. Either you haven't uncovered your unique selling proposition (more on that later) or you don't have the resources -- time, money, a supportive, savvy marketing team -- to invest in the right strategy and messaging. Thus, all outgoing marketing defaults to the "safe and non-compelling" variety.
Hotels and resorts are the guiltiest of all parties. To many, a spa is a redheaded stepchild, often cast aside while other amenities like golf take the lead. It shouldn't be that way. Why? Because unlike golf, the spa is a year-round attraction. Even more important to note is that women make 80% of the household travel decisions. The spa can make or break a visitor's decision more than almost anything else a resort offers. A unique spa experience will motivate a woman to bring her family to one resort over another, even if she never steps foot in the spa. The spa can set the tone for the entire resort. Female travelers know that if you care about your spa, you care about your hotel and all the other amenities within it.
Floating votive candles aren't the only tools in the toolbox
When I worked with Red Mountain Resort & Spa in St. George, Utah, our research revealed that a good deal of their customers come in pursuit of inner clarity during a critical time in their lives. With this in mind, we leveraged the magical red rock setting to support the spa's visual storyline. The headline on one ad read: "Most come in search of lost treasures. Perspective being one of them."
When my agency, Door Number 3, worked with the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa, we brought to life the serene, weathered barn, slow-paced vibe of the Texas Hill Country. To underscore the strategic positioning in one particular print ad, our writer placed a period after each word in the headline: "They. Say. Time. Has. A. Way. Of. Slowing. Down. Out. Here." We figured if reading the ad actually made the reader slow down, they would get a pretty good sense of the Hill Country spa experience.
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