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How to… get the best from your spa

11 July 2014
How to… get the best from your spa

With good maintenance, total cleanliness and the right promotional strategy, your spa will invigorate your hotel as well as your guests

A spa will always help a hotel attract customers, but a spa is also a profit centre, and one that lies empty or is less than perfect will cost money.

A customer's spa journey is likely to start with your website and marketing material, so always ensure they show your spa at its best and highlight what differentiates it.

Sales and promotion
Try to ensure your spa packages are geared to attracting customers when you most need them. The challenge is to draw in guests during quieter nights and on the days when you often have availability. Price is a great way of doing this: the price of your cheapest package can be used as a hook to attract customers to stay on your website in the first place. This is how the most successful online travel agents do it, so why not do the same?

It is vital you keep abreast of your booking lead times, which will vary, and that you strive to fill ‘white space'. You can maximise the average selling price of your treatments at peak times, much as you would your rooms, as well as ensure your therapist and treatment room are being used effectively.

Have a clear selling and promotional strategy for reaching out to customers who book directly with you. Develop relationships with selected travel marketing partners and spa-booking websites and explore the opportunities available through them.

Keep it simple
Keep your treatment menu simple, and engineer it in a way that the customer's attention is drawn to the treatments you want to sell and that are most profitable. Very few customers will pay more than £200 for a spa day and generally want to book only one or two treatments. The trick is to upsell more treatments at the time of booking or on the day itself.

Sales knowledge Make sure your reception, reservations and spa teams are knowledgeable about your spa, including packages and the treatment menu, so they can sell, cross-sell and upsell at every opportunity. They should be aware of what it is that makes your spa special and be able to convert all telephone enquiries. Are they upselling additional treatments to fill any gaps in the diary? Are they securing repeat business? Are they attempting to generate incremental revenue through the sale of retail products?

Maintain high standards
A treatment that is delivered impeccably is a given. Anything less than that, and the customer simply will not return; nor will they recommend your spa to their friends.
Small things can be a massive turn-off to a customer who has spent months dreaming about their day of pampering. Ensure there aren't any tiles missing from the sauna or the pool, and deal with any clutter in changing areas. You cannot underestimate how disappointed a customer will be to find that, on the day of their visit, the sauna is out of order or the Jacuzzi is not working, so investment in ongoing cleanliness and maintenance is a must for any successful spa.

The right treatment

  • Market your spa so that it drives customers to your hotel when you need them.
  • Train staff to sell and engage with customers at every touch point.
  • Make sure you develop rate selling, marketing and distribution strategies and continually review them.
  • Don't over-order retail stock, and try to achieve a high turnover of stock with the highest possible margin.
  • Have the highest standards of maintenance and cleanliness to ensure customers return and recommend you to others.
  • Use regular monthly mystery shopping to identify issues, nip problems in the bud and strive to continually improve standards.
  • If you are unsure as to whether your spa is performing well or reaching its full potential, check out the various spa benchmarking services, such as SpaPar.

Catherine Whittle is a hotel and spa marketing consultant at Spa Partners and a business associate of the Buell Groupwww.buellconsult.co.uk

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