One of my favorite hotels is the Westin. Why? They have the best pillows on the face of the earth! Their bedding is extra opulent and after a day’s worth of consulting or training this tired head appreciates that extra fluffy pillow. My husband and I recently trekked out to Chicago where my association, The Spa Association (SPAA), was hosting a spa track at a convention. As we were packing I noticed that he wasn’t packing work out gear. He simply commented that amenities like fitness areas and spas were never great at hotels so why bother. These two vignettes absolutely speak volumes on how to serve guests—give them the little extras. Give them more than they expect. Your spa can help you do that!
The theme of your hotel should match the theme of your spa and that theme should consistently run through every element of the guest’s experience. The theme that you choose for your hotel or spa addition might have to do with your geographical area. It might also have to do with the type of emphasis on theme experienced in your restaurant. Themes are also successfully built on things like historical era, international or cultural schemes, experiential themes (think Disney). That theme needs to be tied to your approach to customers, their experience in the spa and their experience in their rooms. Call the Paris hotel in Las Vegas and you will experience some of that—“Bonjour” as a greeting, for instance.
Your Spa Menu
The same feel of your theme should be represented in your spa menu. This means that if you are the Venetian you should be representing the Italian types of treatments and therapies. If you are, on the other hand, a Greco-Roman spa, the Roman bath themed modalities are the track you should be on. Your menu should evoke the feel of your theme as well as the represent the theme of your hotel. When creating your menu keep “passive treatments” in mind as profit builders. Passive treatments are those services requiring little or no attention by your spa technicians. Things like hydrotherapy, Vichy showers, oxygen bars, steam rooms and dry saunas are all amenities that you can either offer for free as a perk or that can be built in to other services as packages. While hydrotherapy bath might go for $45 for 20 minutes your product and labor costs to offer such a service are almost non-existent. Furthermore, throwing in a service like a eucalyptus steam will allow you to get more money from your core services and will add a flare of professionalism and extravagance to your overall offerings.
Presence in your Hotel
Don’t think that just having a spa in your hotel will be enough to market the facility to your guests. Your spa is a part of your hotel and just like any loved family member, needs to be present everywhere the guest goes during their stay. Have your “on hold” message system mention spa features and promotions. Entice the guest into visiting your spa with luscious descriptions of relaxing pleasures offered at your spa. Have spa information present at the front desk and tuck marketing pieces into the room key cardholder. Have a spa menu selection in your restaurant and advertise the most popular spa services within your menu. Market to both your local market and your in-house guests. Your spa is a resource for profit. Don’t take that lightly. Place information about your spa in absolutely every ad and publicity campaign that you participate in. You can’t avoid your spa and expect it to be profitable. It needs to be advertised, celebrated and promoted just as much as your hotel.
Presence in the Room
To a great extent your guests judge the hotel by their in-room experience. I have stayed at many hotels with opulent entryways and beautiful lobbies. The same hotels have many times had plain, small, dirty, uncomfortable, dank rooms. I’m not sleeping in the lobby; I’m sleeping in the room!
One way to perk up the guest’s experience is to truly extend a little hospitality and share some spa perks with them in their room. This can be as extravagant as making every shower a steam shower or having Swiss showers in every room. If you don’t want to go quite to that extent, try offering a private labeled line with your hotel’s signature on the label. Add some exotic elements to the typical bathroom fare that hotels offer. For instance, make your soap a multi grained soap or a scrub. Throw in a loofah or specialty sponge (they go for around .15). Add a tea candle (again you are looking at cents). These little special touches make such a big difference to the guest and they cost the hotel very little in overhead.
Put a little note on the pillow of each guest with their chocolate that suggests a massage before bed. Offer spa services on the breakfast hang tab so the guest doesn’t need to lift a finger to secure an appointment for the next day. Advertise your spa on the room’s TV. Have a presence in the room!
Having a spa in your hotel can be enormously profitable if you simply explore all of the options out there for recruiting and keeping clients. Your spa is not a problem unless you ignore it. Your spa is a profit center.
About the Author
Melinda Minton is a spa consultant and health and beauty expert living in Fort Collins, Colorado. Minton is a certified massage therapist, esthetician and cosmetologist with an MBA in marketing. A past spa owner, Minton has consulted on spa management issues, product formulations, spa profitability and strategy among sundry other projects. Minton Business Solutions has worked on hundreds of projects involving everything from spa start ups to launching marketing programs for Fortune 500 companies. Minton is the founder of The Spa Association, a world-class organization dedicated to enriching the professional beauty industry through self-regulation, education and sound business practices. SPAA is the largest spa association in the North America. Inspired by the work of the Association, Minton later founded The Spa Foundation a non-profit organization that awards scholarships to underprivileged men and women with sideline success education and job placement. Minton is also a member of the National Association of Female Executives and Cosmetic Executive Women.
Minton launched the Reed Exposition’s Spa and Resort and co-located Medical Spa conferences now in Miami, New York City and Los Angeles. She still serves as conference director for the shows. Minton has also organized the international fitness show, Club Industry spa track events for Primedia for four years and has been a keynote for three years. Melinda has written countless consumer and trade publications and currently has 9 regular columns to the trade. Minton speaks around the country on health, beauty and the business of professional beauty, medical spas and wellness. Speaking appearances have included: Face & Body, ISPA, Spacifically, Spa and Resort, The International Esthetics Conference among other venues. Featured for the second consecutive year in Entrepreneur magazine, Minton serves as an expert resource for such publications as Better Homes and Gardens, Shape, First for Women, In Style, and Alternative Medicine magazines.
Recently Minton founded Spa Secure, launched in 2004. Spa Secure is an international licensing program for salons, spas, medical spas and wellness centers that sets the standard for business practices, operations, quality of service, and health and safety. Click here for more information.
About The Spa Association
The Spa Association is your one resource for information, resources, education, and community in the spa industry. No other organization unites medical spas, dayspas, resorts, hotel spas, and wellness centers. SPAA is the premier association for spa owners and business-to-business providers. What is The Spa Association? SPAA unites and educates the spa, salon, medical, and wellness industries by offering a collaborative foundation of resources, community and innovation for the future of the spa industry. Moreover, SPAA offers educational materials, group health insurance, an informative quarterly newsletter, business tools and marketing pieces. Fundamentally, The Spa Association is about making this profession more professional. That equates to image, education, regulation, and problematic issues like licensing and sanitation. Click here for more information.
Logos, product and company names mentioned are the property of their respective owners.