How Spas Help Hotels Book More Rooms

By Stacy Dreyfus President, Orchid Resorts & Escapes | July 21, 2013

Speaking of 'Spa', what's the first picture that comes to your mind? A relaxed, airy space next to the gym with an insignificant number of visitors mostly referred to as ladies walking in and out with white robes? This might have been true, a long, long time ago, but no longer applicable in today's luxury travel business. The truth is, spas are now playing an increasingly important role in securing more leads for luxury hotels and resorts. This is truly creating amazing new opportunities and exciting challenges for management in the business.

As the spa business, along with the entire world of travel, both business and the leisure market, was severely crushed in 2008, studies have shown a healthy growth in spas with travel demand during the past two years. According to SpaFinder® Wellness' "2012 State of Spa Travel" Survey, 68% of travel agents reported growth in 2012 spa bookings, up from 37% in 2011. As Founder of the Orchid Resorts & Escapes collection, I have worked on numerous requests for an excellent superb spa experience to give reasons for our well-traveled, affluent clients to ultimately finalize their booking. It is crucial for luxury hotels and resorts to prepare for their guests' expectations and respond properly to the rising demand. And here we will explore a few aspects in the changing landscape of luxury business travel and how it helps to sell more hotel rooms with the inclusion of a spa.

The Healthy Routine

Both in physical and cultural senses, it is now the "healthiest" age for the affluent in human history- for once, we no longer take our body as a physical object in which we reside. Instead, we value our body and the experience which it takes along as a respectable part of our wealth. Not only are people fighting against illness and trying to stay away from discomfort, yet, we have also seen a trend in taking proactive actions to maintain it at its best (yes, just like Angelina Jolie so may say, yet can be a bit controversial). Among our stylish and celebrity clientele, it is almost regarded as a sin if you do not have a routine for work-out, styling, or healthy dining. Now the same rule appears to be applying to the spa experience as well. Massage and reflexology have been considered a healthy way and the most popular with hotels and resorts to relax your body after a long day at work, and even better with organic products.

As studies have shown, we have more and more guests who frequent spas locally at home, yet, what will they expect at a luxury hotel when traveling? An excellent spa, great service & unique treatments of course! A gorgeous spa can definitely be the highlight of the guests' hotel memories and very likely a top reason that lures them to a weekend getaway again or perhaps extend for a longer stay during business travel.

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Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

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.