When Worlds Collide - Integrating Wellness with Technology

A High Tech High Touch Challenge

By Anne McCall Wilson Principal, McCall Wilson | July 12, 2015

Everywhere, technology is inserting itself into the high touch world of spas and wellness. How do spas manage the world of digital, mobile, wearables, social, analytics, CRM, anti-gravity machines, gamification, or uberization and still achieve the sorely needed healing effects of human touch and personal connection? Spa leaders or wellness practitioners and hotel technology experts or digital specialists don't often live in the same realm but increasingly guests are pushing them to collaborate.

Inside spas, we touch the guest literally and build a trusted relationship. Technology is fast delivering the ability to understand customers, anticipate their needs and even co create personal experiences with them. The power of the human touch combined with new technologies has amazing potential for powerful, lasting and loyal customer connections.

Here are eight areas to evaluate for potential utilization of technology to enhance our hotel spas and wellness offerings. Take the tech/touch challenge to find your opportunities to capture even more of the growing wellness market.

1. Getting Closer to the Wellness Customer. Are We Collecting the Right Information?

Travelers of all types - millennials, boomers, tribes - are incorporating wellness in their travel experience either as a primary motivator or simply to stay healthy on the road. Hotel companies are accommodating this trend with new introductions of lifestyle hotel brands, broader wellness services in their spas, healthier more diverse restaurant menus, expanded fitness options and better sleep tools. While there are multiple broadly based studies of these segments, there are opportunities to get a closer understanding of the individual needs of these wellness customers and knowing what drives their overall satisfaction.

Historically, hotel guest research includes details on all aspects of arrival, departure, restaurants and rooms to determine and monitor key drivers of satisfaction. Loyalty programs track spend and preferences for room types and maybe high level interests. With the trend for wellness not going away, are our guest insight teams or traditional analytics probing guests on areas related to wellness in a meaningful actionable way?

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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.