Is Your Hotel Spa Ready for Spa Science?

By Leslie Wolski President, Wolski Spa Consulting | July 09, 2017

Wellness is what we provide, but now the science behind it is what people want. Welcome to the second phase of the Wellness Movement: Science. Science is a systematically organized body of knowledge on a particular subject. So, what does this mean to the hotel spa? It means we better know what we are talking about. No longer can a spa front desk concierge get away with only describing the Wellness Massage as "relaxing" and "therapeutic". This information does close to nothing in terms of educating and enlightening our guests.

There are no details. There is no science. The good news is there are a number of ways hotel spas can get ready to embrace the science behind the services we provide, truly comprehending the why and discovering the how. Why is a massage "relaxing" and "therapeutic" and how are those results achieved? There is no need to reinvent the wheel. Simply seek to fully understand and communicate what it is you already do. Hotel spas need to integrate the science of spa into their operations and ultimately a culture of knowledge will prevail.

This goal can be reached by asking yourself three questions and then acting accordingly. First, have you cultivated and mined your key vendor partnerships to get the most out of the extensive education your vendors have at hand and can provide? Spas must bring in the experts for support when making decisions regarding products and services. Second, are the staff training programs specific and deliberate? Do you set high expectations and standards for education and continuous learning? Lastly, revisit the marketing plan and confirm that education is a top priority. Are you educating guests at every turn, while at the same time dictating what they want to learn and when and where they are exposed to the information? When these three questions are asked and then steps are taken to answer in the affirmative the science of wellness will be sustainable for your spa.

Our product vendors can be our most valuable assets when trying to professionally and comprehensively answer the complex questions that will arise regarding the services we offer. No one knows the products we use or the services we provide better than the people who are developing and selling them. So many spas neglect to tap into the fountain of knowledge our vendors bring to the table. And if the companies serving you are unable to answer your most pressing questions regarding their products and protocols you may want to rethink who you do business with. Vendors should be providing you with more information than you will ever need. There should be treatment protocols, product descriptions, scientific studies, MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) and marketing materials. Company representatives will most likely know what sort of questions your guests will ask because their products are developed based on the results the public is requesting.

In response to the demand for products most companies have an extensive list of skus, but it is the spa director's job to only bring on what your staff and operation can handle. Existing spas should revisit current product lines and ask if staff can become experts on the science behind 50 products or if perhaps 25 is more reasonable. The decision is an important one as it is the foundation of the team's educational journey. Ensure that all the educational materials are available for every single product you choose. Confirm that this information is organized and easily accessible. Follow the same procedure with your treatment protocols. Again, products and protocols are the start of building a successful internal and external educational campaign. It is advisable to format your protocols so they have enough information to answer the following questions:

  • Who is this treatment good for?
    (Pregnant women, athletes, travelers)

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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.