Attracting and Retaining Spa Clients with New Media

By Melinda Minton Executive Director, SPAA | July 15, 2012

Social media has changed by leaps and bounds just in the last 6 months. In the next year it will change the way you view marketing at your properties and spas. Please READ THIS because social media is not going away, fading away and you may have already been beaten by your competition in a fashion that will take a lot of effort to dig out of. There are several major mind shifts that can make you a successful social media marketer.

Awareness

Traditional marketing methods and their various methods have been dwindling over the years and consumers like never before are simply ignoring print and media ads. Meanwhile, I would guarantee that a lot of your marketing and publicity strategy hasn't changed a bit. The saturation point was long ago met when it came to grabbing notice by travelers, spa goers and club members.

This is how the typical marketing account of your dollars spent was once laid out:

  • 50 million viewers
  • Readership of 10,000
  • 8, 30 minute spots per prime time
  • 4 page, 4 color glossy spread to an A list travel magazine

Like addicts we are still drawn to what once worked, what sort of worked and what feels safe. Think about the vast difference of matching consumer preferences by a simple method like Facebook advertising vs. the age old mantra of, "We are beamed into 120 million homes weekly." Beamed to exactly who? Not to mention that with new viewer choices of live TV and cable: cutting the viewership of commercials down to a 10th or less of previous viewer-ships. Still the budget for social media is an afterthought gaining only a portion your marketing expenditures primarily because that is what you are familiar with.

Compare the real costs of social media vs. traditional media. Real estate giant Century 21 took a big step in 2009 when it dropped its traditional marketing methods like TV advertising and print and set up a presence in social media. With 94% of homebuyers start their search online it no longer made sense to advertise locally or in print to get the attention of homebuyers. Hoteliers are no different with searches for hotels, vacations and travel brands now being started online when researching for a travel package, corporate travel plan or family getaway. Not only is travel shopping an online prospect now but so is brand building.

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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.