What Can My Spa Do to Prepare for the ‘New’ Guest?

The future is bright for wellness. While we have all been through a tough year, the outlook for the wellness industry is positive. People are focusing more on their health (downloads of health and fitness apps grew 46% globally in the second quarter of 2020 according to a recent MoEngage and Apptopia study). They are focusing on exercise and meditation and strengthening their immune system. Many resorts have noticed this new focus on wellness and look at their spas as an area primed for growth.

While people have been changing their habits, they have also been changing the way they relate to technology. Both your existing clientele and new wellness converts will be expecting an entirely new guest experience from you when they return. Are you ready for this ‘new’ guest?

Are You Alright?

You, your team, and your business need to be healthy so you can help your guest with their health goals. When your spa first opens, you will probably be working with fewer resources. You may not be able to bring back all your employees right away, the employees you bring back will be under more strain to handle the extra workload, and your guests will still be expecting an outstanding guest experience. You will need to review your spa menu and the profitability of your treatments to operate in the most profitable way.

Now is the time to start preparing for the opportunities ahead:

  • Look at how many employees you can bring back initially and what treatments you can offer. Calculate the profitability of those treatments and determine how you can schedule them.
  • Look at the number of rooms you have for treatments, the length of the treatments you offer, and how long it will take to clean those rooms so you can create a schedule that will maximize your profit while keeping your guests safe.
  • Most importantly, make sure you know what the cleaning and sterilization requirements are so you can keep your employees and guests safe.

Can You Offer Your Guests a Personalized, Touchless Experience?

Personalization is the new luxury. Guests feel better about their experiences if they can use technology to personalize them to fit their tastes. Your guests currently order food online and choose the number of utensils they want, they shop online and provide detailed instructions on how their packages are to be delivered, when they travel by ride-sharing app they can choose whether they feel like talking to the driver or not. The guests visiting your spa will be tech-savvy and looking to have the same personalization capabilities.

When guests check-in to your spa’s resort, they expect to be able to do it from their mobile device. Their room, dinner, and spa appointments will all be made online before their visit. They will want to use their device as a room key, to make changes to their itinerary on a given day to personalize their experience to how they are feeling. When they make purchases, they will want to do it on their device (by having the cashier scan a bar code on their device that charges the purchase to their room). When they check-out, they want to do it on their device and receive a detailed list of charges from their stay.

This same level of guest experience will be expected in your spa. Your ability to offer your guests a personalized and touchless visit is not only necessary to keep them safe, it is necessary to keep them loyal. They will want to schedule their appointment, check-in and complete an intake form, see your spa’s menu, their personalized itinerary, and pay for their treatments and purchases from their phone. They will expect to receive electronic communications from you as well. You will need to communicate the safety precautions you are taking and what to expect when they arrive, especially for first-time spa visitors. Guests no longer look at a resort’s mobile capabilities as a perk, they view it as essential in choosing where they will go.

By giving your guests the ability to personalize their stay, and sharing the information across your resort, you will be able to further delight your guests with a personalized stay beyond what they expected.

Here is one example of how this can be done by a resort:

Examples of Personalization

  • A guest checks-in to their room and orders a particular bottle of wine through room service, a note is put on their account noting the wine. 
  • When they visit the resort restaurant for dinner, the waiter reads the note and offers them the same bottle of wine or a popular wine that is of the same variety.  During dinner, the guest orders lemon tea and mentions it is their favourite.  The waiter makes a note on their profile that they like lemon tea.
  • As the guest checks-in for their spa appointment, the spa offers them their favourite lemon tea.  During the treatment, the guest mentions they have back issues and are getting a treatment to help with these issues.  The technician enters a note about the guest’s back issues on their profile.
  • Seeing the note about the back issues, the hotel staff deliver a warm pillow to the guest’s room letting the guest know that ‘your massage therapist asked us to deliver this to ease your back pain.’

This is the type of personalization that will ensure guests stay loyal and share their experience with others.

If you do not already have these capabilities, it is time to acquire them.  Review your current software tools and determine what gaps you may have that are preventing you from offering a comprehensive touchless experience.  Contact your spa and/or resort system provider and ask what they can offer to provide your clientele a touchless and customized experience.  If their offering is not sufficient, it may be time to start looking at alternatives (ResortSuite has a best-in-class spa and activities module that can be integrated with ResortSuite MOBILE to offer your guests a touchless experience).

What Are You Offering Guests Outside of Their Visit?

Building long-term customer loyalty requires you to stay in contact with your guests after they have left. The best way for you to strengthen relationships with your guests is to extend that relationship beyond their visit by offering value-added services. Guests will be more open to providing you with their personal information, such as email address and preferences if they know the information will be used to provide them value in return.

This is an incredible opportunity for your spa:

  • Check-in with guests individually to make sure they are doing alright and on-track to achieving their health/wellness goals. 
  • Create videos and blog posts that provide healthy eating choices, wellness techniques, and industry articles.  Offer free or paid online classes live or on-demand. 
  • Provide an online forum or community where guests can communicate with each other and share their goals and achievements.  By extending your relationship beyond the spa visit and offering value-added services, you are creating customer stickiness and building a lasting bond with your clientele.

By extending your relationship beyond the spa visit and offering value-added services, you are creating customer stickiness and building a lasting bond with your clientele.  This can have a profound impact on your property’s profitability.  Outbound Engine reports that a 5% increase in retention can lead to a 25-95% increase in profits.

You Are Doing Great! Keep it Up!

The spa industry is resilient. Spas have developed novel ways to engage guests, and as an industry, spas have pulled together and lead the way when it comes to protecting those guests. Other areas in resorts have recognized this work and based their protocols on the spa’s leadership. By preparing for the new expectations of guests, the spa industry will continue to be a model to others on how to adapt and how to surpass guest expectations.

(For information on how to safely reopen, check-out the ISPA Spa Reopening Toolkit)

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