Now that we’ve been living with the changes we’ve had to make for some time, we’re adapting to a new way of being and realizing that some of them will be permanent, or at least long lived.
By Roger Sholanki,
As we look into the new year, I see good developments on the horizon. There will be a trend towards adopting more digital technologies to simplify processes, enhance the guest experience, save time and money, and facilitate sustainability initiatives.
Sustainability is one of the biggest trends we’ll see in 2022. A lot of efforts related to sustainability were put on hold over the past two years because of the pandemic and the sudden ubiquity of disposable masks, hand sanitizer bottles, and individually packaged items. Now that we’ve been living with the changes we’ve had to make for some time, we’re adapting to a new way of being and realizing that some of them will be permanent, or at least long lived.
This means reinstating some of the elements that were put on hold. In her Spotlight interview this month, Amanda Frasier, Forbes Travel Guide’s (FTG) Executive Vice President of Standards & Ratings, talked about the fact that FTG removed the requirement for a hotel or spa to offer a buffet service during the pandemic as a concession to health and safety concerns. Now, she says, FTG is bringing that requirement back because it’s an enhancement to the guest experience, but is rewriting it with some modifications that better suit how people now think about communal buffets.
Similarly, sustainability initiatives may look different in a year or two than they do now, and we don’t yet know what this might mean. We do know, however, that some of the practices that were introduced out of necessity will remain in place, and that these serve to enhance both health and safety and sustainability. Virtual intake forms, online booking, and contactless check-in, check-out, and payments, for example, help reduce shared touchpoints and paper waste.
Going paperless will soon be considered a standard best practice, and this will also include QR codes and digital menus. The entire contactless experience that we’ve been talking about will have a life of its own and new meaning in terms of consumer experience. Guests will choose their services, book online, and fill out forms before they even set foot in the spa, and when they physically arrive, they will check in on their devices and the devices will advise them where to go and what procedures to follow.
Digital technology will continue to drive more efficiencies, and the way that spas interact with customers will evolve. This has the added bonus of alleviating some of the stress spas are experiencing these days from being limited on staff. Existing staff will be more able to focus more on high value services and less on tasks that require being behind the computer.
Digital tech will also facilitate cancellation policies and allow spas to collect customer credit card information in a secure fashion online, without having to provide this over the phone, which can have an element of risk.
It’s exciting that we have these technologies available to help us create life changing guest experiences and ease the pressure on our teams and ourselves. People taking full advantage of the things that can make life easier and better is one trend I hope to see a lot more of.
We’ve released a list of the spa & wellness trends we’ll be watching next year. Click here to download the Handbook: Seven wellness trends for 2022