Spa Retail: Tips on How to Do it Right

Best Practices from “Well-versed” Hotels and Resorts

By Nancy Griffin Founder, Contento Marketing | July 15, 2018

Spa retail in a hotel operation runs the gamut-from a small outlet limited to skincare that supports treatments to a large-scale retail boutique generating a million-plus dollars. Just as spas are a necessary part of the guest experience in a resort, the sale of retail products to support spa treatments and home care recommendations is a must. Shopping is an integral part of the resort experience.

The rewards of a successful spa retail program are vast-including incremental revenue without high labor costs, increased guest satisfaction, loyalty and repeat visits, and recognition as a true wellness brand. This article recommends best practices to launch a robust retail program that leverages your staff and space to excite and delight your hotel and resort guests.

Should Spa Retail Be On Your Radar?

The short answer is, it depends. The rewards can be substantial, but only if executed thoughtfully, and with a commitment from the top. "Well-versed" spas understand the many benefits of spa retail, and allocate the space, staff and other resources to make successful.

"Our members consider retail to be a core focus of their business model," said ISPA president Lynne McNees. "They don't simply sell products, spa service providers recommend specific products based on an individual's needs and skin type to ensure they get the best results. This level of customization results in repeat visits and high satisfaction levels."

Although retail operations provide just a small contribution to the total income of a hotel, the true value of spa retail extends beyond profits to the guest experience. Consumers are actively looking for products that contribute to a healthy lifestyle, and retailers are satisfying that demand. For example, there are nearly 450 "wellness" products for sale on, according to a recent article in Fast Company.

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Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.