Spa and wellness have gone through a lot of changes lately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Suddenly, a high touch industry is less high touch, and this will likely be the case for a long time, if not forever. So, the sector is having to rethink the way things are done, and reinvent the guest experience. Meeting customer needs is key, now more than ever. How a person feels about their interactions with your business will make all the difference. Your guest experience remains the one thing that will set your spa apart from the competition, drive customer loyalty, and motivate guests to bring their friends.
How can spas meet customer needs and still offer the highest-level guest experience while putting space between themselves and their customers, following enhanced sanitation protocols, and, in many cases, limiting occupancy? It will take effort. Here are three things to focus on to maintain an excellent guest experience while spa and wellness recovers.
Focus on relationships
Reach out to your guests through social media, text messages, and emails — but avoid marketing and selling! Build relationships that feel sincere. People can see through thinly veiled marketing tactics disguised as friendly overtures, and will not appreciate them. But they will appreciate communication that feels genuine. Take the time to say “Hello. How are you?” and “How can we help?” while resisting the urge to follow up with “Buy something!” If you focus on creating connections and lasting relationships, revenue will follow. In a Book4Time webinar on the changing landscape of hospitality, held during the COVID-19 shutdown, Deirdre Strunk of Canyon Ranch said, “Money is always important — we have to keep our doors open — but it’s the last thing that’s on our minds right now. I want to really focus on taking care of my guests and my team, and then I know that the money will come.” This thinking doesn’t just apply during a pandemic – you should always be focusing on your authentic customer relationships. Think of your guest experience as something that happens seven days a week and 365 days a year, rather than only when the guest is in your space. And be ready to answer questions. Guests may be asking for a lot of information. Be ready to give satisfying answers.
Meet guests wherever they are
Management consulting firm, McKinsey & Company, recommends you “meet guests where they are.” This can mean several things, both metaphorical and literal. It means being mindful of the fact that some people may have less disposable income for a while, and creating treatment and product packages that meet their needs. It means maintaining contact with guests who aren’t coming to the spa because they are too nervous or have a health issue that puts them at risk. It can mean creating videos and tutorials related to your products and services, and hosting meetings on platforms like Zoom or Facetime to give classes or product advice. It also means literally meeting guests where they are, for example, by meeting them curbside with a retail purchase so they don’t have to come inside. The Houstonian’s Christine Whitnel told us in a chat last month, “People will still want the option of the curbside experience even as businesses reopen. They’ve gotten used to the convenience. I think those who don’t offer it will have a harder time selling retail.” It means going above and beyond to be where your guests need you to be, whenever possible.
What are your guests going to need to make them feel comfortable and valued? Keeping real-time track of guest needs and leaping to redesign your experience to meet them is key. For example, in a conversation with Spa Executive last month, Amanda Frasier, Senior VP of Ratings for Forbes Travel Guide, said, “While we have to take all these new precautionary measures, we have to think about how we’re doing that to enhance the guest’s sense of comfort.” For example, she added, “If you’re going to remove items that the guests might need from the locker room in order to have a more sanitary service, make sure that your staff are extra vigilant about offering these items to the individual guests as they are needed.” If there are no snacks or beverages available for taking, make sure to offer them to individual guests. Be sure to have clean towels, hand wipes, masks, and whatever the guest might need on hand. Offer before you are asked. Guests may be too shy to ask for something they want, and that will dampen the experience for them. To create an excellent guest experience, be ready to anticipate needs, meet them, and exceed them.
Spa Executive is published by Book4Time, the leader in guest management, revenue and mobile solutions for the most exclusive spas, hotels, and resorts around the globe. Learn more at book4time.com