New Technology to Create Spa Experiences That Transcend Location

By Deborah Waldvogel Director of Spa Development & Operations, Sedona Resorts | July 03, 2016

While the Classic Swedish Massage remains the most requested spa treatment, today’s spa-savvy business and leisure guests, regardless of geographic location, are expecting a deeper and more enhanced experience, like those often found in destination spas. Many spas are accomplishing this through the use of specialized equipment, spaces, and wellness programs. Furthermore, while it may seem contradictory to traditional spa philosophies that promote a tranquil environment encouraging guests to unplug, these modern-day urban facilities, whether it is a city club, hotel or day spa, are incorporating more “high tech” processes, features and treatments to expand and customize their offerings.

Spa on Demand

Spa in any context is a multisensory experience, with the first “spa touch” occurring more frequently far before arrival. Due to demanding work and family schedules, people are researching and planning business and leisure trips on computer and mobile devices—from interactive websites that transport them to the unique hotels and spas through imagery, music and creative content—often outside normal “business hours” of hotels and spas. Guests are now able to make real-time bookings and appreciate the ability to have access to a “one stop shop” where they can quickly create and confirm their entire itinerary of products and services.

Based on the International SPA Association’s (ISPA) 2015 U.S. Spa Industry Study, there were more day spas that offered the option for guests to book treatments online. In fact, 55 percent of day spas offered an online booking option compared to only 38 percent of resort/hotel spas.

ResortSuite, based in Toronto, Canada, offers a fully integrated hospitality software system that includes an advanced web booking engine which allows guests to not only reserve their accommodations, but also gives them the opportunity to book and instantly confirm spa services, classes and activities, as well as dining and concierge services.

The Washington Athletic Club in Seattle is one of the most recognized and accomplished club facilities In North America. With a commitment to offer its extremely large club base of over 12,000 active members a very personalized and quality experience, the athletic club integrated the ResortSuite WEB into its system in order to allow club members to book accommodations as well as view their current and historical activity statements through a private and customized member portal.

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Hotel Group Meetings: The Need for Speed

2017 was a banner year in the Hotel Group Meetings marketplace and that trend is expected to continue throughout 2018. Planners are experiencing a renewed sense of confidence due to a reinvigorated economy and increased job creation, which typically provides a boost in corporate meetings. Given this promising outlook, planners are maintaining a fast and furious pace, and they are utilizing an array of technologies to speed things up. For example, planner requests and proposals are expected to be turned around quickly; the mantra seems to be “as soon as possible, or sooner!” To that end, the use of electronic Request for Proposals (eRFPs) to source hotels and venues has increased in recent years, bringing many timely benefits to the Meetings industry. As a result, in order for hotels to attract and book meetings, they have to be willing to operate with a sense of urgency, which is the new baseline for success. Once on property, the need for speed doesn't diminish. Poken is a cloud-based event management platform, which enables attendees to easily and quickly connect, network and share contact info. ClickShare is a wireless presentation system that permits others in the meeting room to share their laptop with the presenter screen at the push of a button. Skype is useful in order to engage with remote participants in real time, and dedicated apps are being routinely used to drive registration and communication before, during and after a meeting. Finally, text messaging is replacing emailing and phone calls simply because it's quicker. The September Hotel Business Review will examine issues relevant to group meetings and will report on what some hotels are doing to promote this sector of their operations.