How Spas are Plugging In So Guests Can Unplug

By Lynne McNees President, International Spa Association | July 01, 2018

Let's face it, life today is stressful.

The Mayo Clinic notes that stress can affect how we think, feel and behave. It causes physical symptoms on the body such as headache, muscle tension or pain, fatigue and sleep problems, which we know can lead to much more severe issues such as obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. And those are just the health issues. Stress is also making people around the world less motivated, less active, less social and all-around unhappier.

A major cause of that stress? Technology. The American Phycological Association's 2017 Stress in America survey found more than eight in 10 Americans are attached to their gadgets on a typical day (86 percent say they constantly or often check their emails, texts and social media accounts). Those who constantly check their gadgets also report higher stress than those who don't engage in technology as much. On a 10-point scale, where 1 is "little or no stress" and 10 is "a great deal of stress," the average reported overall stress level of constant checkers is 5.3 verses 4.4 for non-constant checkers.

The good news is, people are waking up to the adverse effects of technology and constant connectivity. According to ISPA's Consumer Snapshot Research published August of 2016 and focusing on millennial perceptions and preferences, the most common reason millennials visit a spa is to reduce or relieve stress (32 percent). As the focus on disconnecting from technology grows, consumers are choosing spa not only as a prescription for healing the mind and body from the stresses of daily life, but also as a way to unplug from the technology that is causing that very stress.

It is more important than ever for spas to work to accommodate this need. The most effective way for spas to do so? Expand their own technology to create a seamless and easy experience for the guest.

Adding More Technology for Guest Experience

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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.