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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Coming up in February 2019...

Social Media: Getting Personal

There Social media platforms have revolutionized the hotel industry. Popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Tumblr now account for 2.3 billion active users, and this phenomenon has forever transformed how businesses interact with consumers. Given that social media allows for two-way communication between businesses and consumers, the emphasis of any marketing strategy must be to positively and personally engage the customer, and there are innumerable ways to accomplish that goal. One popular strategy is to encourage hotel guests to create their own personal content - typically videos and photos -which can be shared via their personal social media networks, reaching a sizeable audience. In addition, geo-locational tags and brand hashtags can be embedded in such posts which allow them to be found via metadata searches, substantially enlarging their scope. Influencer marketing is another prevalent social media strategy. Some hotels are paying popular social media stars and bloggers to endorse their brand on social media platforms. These kinds of endorsements generally elicit a strong response because the influencers are perceived as being trustworthy by their followers, and because an influencer's followers are likely to share similar psychographic and demographic traits. Travel review sites have also become vitally important in reputation management. Travelers consistently use social media to express pleasure or frustration about their guest experiences, so it is essential that every review be attended to personally. Assuming the responsibility to address and correct customer service concerns quickly is a way to mitigate complaints and to build brand loyalty. Plus, whether reviews are favorable or unfavorable, they are a vital source of information to managers about a hotel's operational performance.  The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to effectively incorporate social media strategies into their businesses.