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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Architecture & Design: Expecting the Unexpected

There are more than 700,000 hotels and resorts worldwide and the hotel industry is continually looking for new ways to differentiate its properties. In some cases, hotels themselves have become travel destinations and guests have come to expect the unexpected - to experience the touches that make the property unlike any other place in the world. To achieve this, architects and designers are adopting a variety of strategies to meet the needs of every type of guest and to provide incomparable customer experiences. One such strategy is site-integration - the effort to skillfully marry a hotel to its immediate surroundings. The goal is to honor the cultural location of the property, and to integrate that into the hotel's design - both inside and out. Constructing low-impact structures that blend in with the environment and incorporating local natural elements into the design are essential to this endeavor. Similarly, there is an ongoing effort to blur the lines between interior and exterior spaces - to pull the outside in - to enable guests to connect with nature and enjoy beautiful, harmonious surroundings at all times. Another design trend is personalization - taking the opportunity to make every space within the hotel original and unique. The days of matching decor and furniture in every room are gone; instead, designers are utilizing unexpected textures, mix-and-match furniture, diverse wall treatments and tiles - all to create a more personalized and fresh experience for the guest. Finally, lobbies are continuing to evolve. They are being transformed from cold, impersonal, business-like spaces into warm, inviting, living room-like spaces, meant to provide comfort and to encourage social interaction. These are a few of the current trends in the fields of hotel architecture and design that will be examined in the November issue of the Hotel Business Review.