Meaningful Value on a Dime: Build spa loyalty with inexpensive signature programs and services

By April Bingham Spa Director, The Aria Spa at Vail Cascade Resort | July 22, 2012

Spas are popping up everywhere and they come in all sizes and variations. In fact, it wouldn't be unheard of to come across a hotel/resort spa, day spa, club spa, and medical spa within a 20-mile radius. And that doesn't take into account sole practitioners, massage schools and sporadic mall masseuses that work you over between shopping jaunts. With so many choices, why do consumers pick one spa over another?

Some consumers want to take advantage of a special promotion, try a particular service or they enjoy the spa's amenities. Others choose a spa for its location or because a friend or professional referred them to it. Regardless of the reason why they go, one common reason that keeps them coming back is the spa experience. Many spa directors believe the spa experience begins upon arrival and ends at check-out, but the reality is that the 'day of' experience is only one part of the overall spa experience.

Savvy spa directors understand the importance of high-touch consumer relations and know that ongoing, meaningful interaction between a spa and its guests can positively drive new revenue opportunities and build guest loyalty, which in today's economy is priceless.

According to the International SPA Association 2011 U.S. Spa Industry Study, spa visits were up nearly seven million in 2010, accounting for a 4.3 percent boost in spa revenue from 2009. While spas have had to work hard to maintain and grow their businesses, many spas attribute this positive momentum to a wide range of new approaches they are deploying to connect with and incentivize the consumer to head to the spa.

Speed Spa-ing for the Time Deprived

Each day, the average person spends one hour grooming, one hour commuting, eight hours working, eight hours sleeping, and two hours cooking/cleaning. And this schedule doesn't take into account kids, pets, sports, school and life's never-ending supply of unexpected surprises. The reality is that some people do not go to a spa because they – literally – do not have the time.

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The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.