Whilst a spa visit should be about calmness, serenity, de stress and rejuvenation, technology is finding its way into every aspect of the spa visit. Whilst the word Digital De-tox is creeping into spa and wellness marketing, technology can enhance a spa experience and make the visit more memorable which in turn leads to a returning guest.
First of all lets look at some frightening statistics, 75% of doctor visits over the last 12 months are related to stress and the top 5 causes of death are stress related. We live in a Digital World and the guest does need to switch off however think twice before you ask a guest to leave their phone in the locker or demand a mobile free area. Purely from an administration point of view, technology can be used for smooth and efficient check in, for consultation forms that store guest information and eliminate paper and the irritation of a guest needing to complete information again when they a returning guest. Information is stored, and time is used more efficiently than looking for consultation forms.
Think about technology from another perspective. Administration time of staff is reduced allowing them to focus on what’s really important being the guest experience and customer service.
Fact is the guest visiting your spa is influenced heavily by social media, in fact the guest is inspired and motivated by it, so you have to find ways to incorporate it into every aspect of their visit.
So, whilst the spa must continue to offer a space to disconnect, embracing technology in certain ways is important to bridge the gap between consumer and spa and to keep that spa guest loyal and returning.
Let’s look at some ideas you can incorporate into your business.
- Online bookings. Consumers want to go online and choose a time and date and treatment. It’s that simple. Find a way to make this happen and find it fast. There are various online booking platforms or go and write your own or speak to your software provider to integrate something for you. This is a MUST. Make booking a service easy for the consumer.
- Ipad consultation forms that integrate to the booking system. Ensure the consultation forms are able to be edited at guest next visit and that all information about the guest can be stored. At the latest World Spa and Welness Convention in the UK in February one of the latest technology implementations into most spas seems to be the use of Ipads in the treatment room. Where the therapist can record guest information on the Ipad where only relevant information pertaining to that guest is sent to them on check out a week after their visit as part of the follow up. This is very powerful and we need to find ways to target the information we send out in such a way that the guest wants to receive it. So don’t email when the guest is a whatsapp person or vice versa.
- Social Media hot spots. These are so important. Set up areas in the spa where the guest will want to take pictures and selfies. If the setting is carefully thought and planned the image can go a long way to getting traffic to the spa.
- Charging stations inside lockers and in treatment rooms. This impressed me in Hong Kong last November when the spa I visited was promoting digital de-tox by offering to charge your device when you relaxed. Yes, spa is about disconnect but do you want your guest worrying about their device that needs charging whilst trying to enjoy a treatment? They will relax better if they know their device is handy and charging. It does not mean allow the guest to have their phone with them on the treatment bed but give them the peace of mind that the technology is close at hand and they can disconnect better know that.
- Add taking a spa picture to the pretreatment consultation. I know this sounds strange but if you can get your guest to allow you to take a picture of them on the treatment bed to send to their friends or post to social media, then you have some very effective FREE marketing. Not saying all guests will want this but offer it and the worst answer you will get is no. The Millenial will absolutely thrive on this as its all about them and what they are doing so take advantage of this and get your marketing mileage.
- Add taking a picture of friends together in the spa facilities area to the spa attendant SOP list. Again, social media drives decisions and inspires so get in there and inspire the market place or another spa will do it.
- Electronic feedback form on Ipad again. With simple ticks or numbers. Don’t get complicated.
- Personal selection of music is really important. I know you have heard and read this many times but how many of you are actually offering this? How many of you enhance the guest experience with the music they listen to? This is something that a guest will not forget if offered and presented in the correct way.
- Locker technology is becoming amazing. The days of lock and key are really obsolete. Enquire into electronic locks or even the locking system with a card, really amazing technology to give the guest peace of mind. A very well know spa in Bath in the UK uses a chip that is attached to your wrist like an arm band to unlock the lockers, its amazing and the technology is there to make the guest experience more memorable.
- Automatic review of spa or TripAdvisor review after checking out. This is important too and unless you make it easy for the guest to do this they won’t go do it. So, either incorporate it into the feedback report where it asks to link to TripAdvisor or Facebook for a review or ask for the review when presenting the guest with the bill. Hand them a device to go and do a review there and then.
- Find a way using technology to do follow up with your guest. This is so important, and many spas have this on their SOP but don’t actually get around to doing it. The customer service is not negotiable so incorporate technology. At the World Spa and Welness Convention the topic of follow up and keep the interaction going between visits was a very strong point with between visit connection being the buzz word. Its about connecting and staying connected to your guest. Another buzz word is channel agnostic which I found quite odd but very interesting and this is about finding a way to stay in touch and talk to your consumer in whichever way they prefer meaning Facebook messenger, whatsapp, LinkedIn or whichever method the client communicates best. Don’t forget technology creates conversation but you need to use the technology that is at hand and find new innovative ways to communicate.
Spas of the future will have to embrace technology to keep attracting new guests and most importantly to keep their guests loyal and returning. Word of mouth will do its magic with the use of technology, a powerful marketing tool.
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