Integrating Wellness Into The Spa Experience

Integrating Wellness Into The Spa Experience

According to the Global Wellness Institute’s 2017 Global Wellness Economy Monitor, from 2013 to 2015, Hotel/Resort spas were the fastest-growing category among all spa types, due to the emerging global middle class and a growing interest in experiential travel.

While massage will typically be the most-requested service in almost every spa, it has also become more of a commodity, with massages available in a wide variety of venues, including on-call services that deliver a therapist to your home, through an app, in under an hour. The hotel and resort spa-going guest is looking for innovation in treatments, facilities, cuisine and activities that will help them to lower their stress levels and unplug from their demanding lives, while reinforcing their brand loyalty and desire to return.

Facilities

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Spas are intended to be sensory havens, beyond the basic element of touch inherent in treatments, and this can’t be forgotten in the design, decor and sensory appeal of the facility. COMO Shambhala spas around the world all carry their signature Invigorate products, scented with a blend of eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint, and geranium, and these products are also used as amenities in guest rooms. Langham Hotel’s Chuan Spas each feature a signature Moon Gate entrance, and elements of Traditional Chinese Medicine are used throughout the spas, including customizable lighting in treatment rooms which are programmed based on the results of a client intake questionnaire, making the experience much more personalized. Effective air ventilation, soundproofing, and thoughtful design and furnishings will heighten the relaxation response of the guest before they even enter the treatment room.

Facility amenities including saunas, steam rooms, cold plunges and whirlpools, experience showers, and zero-gravity loungers, while not inexpensive to create and operate, provide an array of options that attract guests to the spa, and don’t have an attached labor cost. For example, the Spa Wave table by German manufacturer Gharieni offers heat, gentle vibration and a binaural sound wave system, experienced through a headset, which provides deep relaxation in a matter of minutes, without a therapist. The table can be used for typical spa treatment, but the guest can pay an additional fee to linger and enjoy these features. The Ame Spa at Turnberry Isle in Aventura, FL recently installed a cryotherapy capsule, which delivers a blast of ice-cold air in a 3-minute period, intended to boost metabolism and energy, improve circulation and relieve pain. Floatation therapy, either in a capsule or purpose-built shallow pool, calms brain waves by removing the senses of light, sound and gravity, and can be experienced at the Agua Serena Spa at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells, CA.

The ultimate in integrating facility and design with wellness practices may be the new Six Senses Bhutan, which will be comprised of five separate lodges across the kingdom, each designed around one of the five pillars of Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness Index, and intended to be enjoyed as a circuit experience.

Tranquility lounges offering healthy snacks and refreshments, such as fresh and dried fruits, nuts, protein bars and infused-waters is an easy way to provide a connection for guests between food and well-being. Park Hyatt spas have long offered guests a chef-created amuse bouche to accompany their treatments. Today’s spa guests are very interested in herbal and botanical teas and tinctures, making an updated selection of fresh organic teas and ready hot water a must. Read more

Spa Success In Unlikely Places

Spa Success In Unlikely Places

One of the crucial issues in spa marketing is to create a promise to the client that can be fulfilled by the spa, so that expectations are aligned with reality.  In recent years, I’ve visited two spas that exemplified this concept, and I was unexpectedly delighted with both.

Escape Day Spa Wyoming

It might seem like being the only spa in a small town would help ensure your success.  But what if that town was a mining town in the high desert, filled with pickup trucks and empty storefronts?  My first pleasant surprise of the week occurred at just such a place.  I enjoyed a facial performed with the expert hands of a well-trained esthetician, snacked on a variety of interesting dried fruits that are also available for sale, shopped in the well-stocked and merchandised boutique, and enjoyed the teamwork of a tightly-knit group of women who are setting the bar for their town, and it will be a hard act to follow for anyone else.  In fact, this spa is so delightful, it recently won recognition for being one of the best spas in all of Wyoming.

 

EscapeDaySpa-logo-gradientEscape Day Spa & Boutique has an “island” vibe, which adds to its allure as a fun retreat amidst the soaring skies and western vistas of this part of Wyoming.  The spa is located at 430 Broadway Street in Rock Springs, Wyoming. The treatment rooms are referred to as “cabanas” with names such as “Oasis,” and feature island references such as rolled bamboo ceilings and the gentle sound of waves in the background.  But there are no neon palm trees here, all decorating is tastefully done.  There are no locker rooms, but two changing rooms, one with toilet and shower, that are each fully equipped with every creature comfort, and are spotlessly clean.  The spa has been through one expansion and the owner is now planning to move it into a much larger space two blocks down the street.  Being the first on the scene, the owner and her staff have had to work hard to educate their clients about what to expect from spa services and products, but they’ve obviously been successful.

 

turning-stone-casinoMy next stop was the Skana Spa at the 1200 acre Turning Stone Resort Casino in upstate New York.  This bustling complex features five separate hotels, casino and event space, a sportsplex, numerous restaurants, and two spas.  While being a half-hour east of the city of Syracuse is not exactly the middle of nowhere, it is certainly not a “metro” area, and I was taken by surprise by the entire experience.  The line checking into the hotel on a Sunday afternoon was reminiscent of Las Vegas.

 

The Tower hotel offers Ahsi Spa, but I elected to venture through the casino, over the walkway and into the tranquil and upscale environment of Four Diamond award-winning Lodge to have services at Skana.  This spa offers 12 treatment rooms, salon, full men’s and women’s locker rooms with steam, sauna and whirlpool as well as a large co-ed whirlpool, and a Spa Café.  The treatments were expertly done, and I enjoyed the facility which supported the menu of services based on Oneida Indian culture, but did not call overt attention to itself.

 

Both of these excellent spas illustrated the point that you don’t need to be front and center in the spa universe to be successful or to provide a top-notch experience for your clients.  But you do need to have an identity and vision, to communicate that clearly in your marketing materials, and then be able to deliver on your promise to your guests.  As the army says, “Be the best you can be.”

 

Ready to take your spa experience to a new level? Contact us for a free 30-minute needs assessment.

 

 

 

A version of this post appeared first on Spa Standard.

 

 

The Front Desk Must Die

The Front Desk Must Die!

Spas are working harder than ever to be innovative in their designs, but there’s one convention that just won’t seem to die: the monolithic front desk. Once upon a time, we had big fat computer monitors and hulking CPUs to hide in those enormous desks. So why, in this age of flat screens and cloud computing, are we still confronted with these intimidating beasts when we enter a “state of the art” spa?

Front desks create a barrier between guest and client. In restauranteur Danny Meyer’s parlance, it’s hard to convince a guest you’re “on their side” when you literally are not. Check-in, a simple enough transaction, can be accomplished with about two keystrokes–and for that matter, on a handheld. Why use up valuable square footage that you could use for retail merchandising? Because architects and interior designers think we want these things.

Instead, guests could be welcomed by a friendly host who is visible from head to toe, whose full-frontal greeting will feel much more sincere. He or she checks guests in with his or her handheld, or at a simple podium. (Seeing staff engulfed by giant desks reminds me of those little old ladies you see piloting massive cars.) Perhaps we could even stop calling our spa concierges “front desk staff.” (It’s a bit like calling massage therapists “massage table staff,” isn’t it?)

In the new spas Wynne Business designs, we include a comfortable “checkout lounge” that encourages lingering, with tables where home care recommendations can be reviewed over a cup of tea and some conversation with a Home Care Advisor. This salesflow strategy separates the departing spa-mellowed guest from the frantic incoming one, who often induces the departing guest to unconsciously “giddyup.” Not good for retail or rescheduling. Even when there isn’t room for a checkout lounge, we include in the design a “checkout bar” with stools. “If you perch, you purchase,” we like to say.

The front desk is one part of the spa business that has never undergone a serious rethink, which is very strange. Yes, we store things in those massive desks, we conceal trash cans and we hide our Starbucks cups (heaven forbid.) But our front desks carry tremendous symbolism. They are the physical manifestation of the intimidation that so many guests still feel when they enter a spa. I have no idea why they are so often front and center, like some sort of altar. Talk about scary.

They also function as a sort of fort, from which your staff defends the spa from the clients. Visit a new spa and try to get a spa concierge out from behind their desk. It’s like prying off a barnacle. Behind a desk, it’s easy to look busy as long as you’re not leaning on it, chin in hands. Imagine what happens when there is no longer a desk to hide behind. Shelves get dusted, products are straightened, guests are interacted with, refreshments proffered, doors are opened.

So why not do away with them altogether? Handhelds make it possible for the “point of sale” to be anywhere the client is–another way to encourage more natural interaction with staff, better customer care, more spontaneity, and oh yes, larger purchases.

As we look for new ways to draw the ellusive Millenials into our spas, rethinking the front desk may be a very good place to start.