Firstly, does the hotel have a leisure club, spa or both? Active energy (leisure) and passive energy (spa) should be separated to make sure all guests enjoy their stay. Treatment rooms and relaxation areas need a calm ambience that is child free and protected from gym music. If the hotel is child-friendly, advertise swimming times for families so expectations are set for all. Consumers are more forgiving if they understand what is happening in advance.
Food is also a big area to tackle for spa day guests. If a spa day includes lunch and there isn’t a café in the spa area, the journey from the spa to the restaurant needs to be thought through. Spa guests don’t want to get dressed to eat lunch in the hotel, it disrupts their journey. The menu also needs to reflect the spa day customer – eating a heavy lunch is not comfortable. But seasonal salads and soups are much gentler to digest if you’re spending an afternoon having treatments or in thermal experience rooms. If food isn’t available in the spa make sure that a refreshment offering is.
Cross train reservation and spa staff. The hotel reservationist should take spa bookings from hotel guests. It gives the guest the opportunity to call and speak to one person, and the reservationist can upsell a B&B rate to a spa break package. Often hotel spas are treated as a separate business with only the spa team being able to deal with enquiries. Cross training the departments will make a big difference to team work and a better guest service.
Consider selling treatment time at check in. Many guests come away for the weekend without pre organising their stay. This often means booking dinner on arrival and being disappointed when a mid-afternoon stroll to the spa means being told that they are fully booked all weekend. Have a representative from the spa at the hotel reception at peak check in times, or train the hotel reception so that they can make treatment bookings – it will improve customer service.
Finally, the spa should be a key selling point of the hotel, but often it gets hidden behind the restaurant and conference facilities. Having a spa at a hotel can make or break the decision to stay for leisure guests, so make it easy to see on the website and ensure gallery images sell the complete package of what the hotel offers.
Anna Hubbard, Spa Business Manager at the Good Spa Guide – the UK’s go-to-guide for the best spas and treatments, www.goodspaguide.co.uk.