There are more spas than ever before and more competition for consumers health & wellness dollars, both of which make it more difficult for a spa to stand out. Ours is also, of course, a high-touch, personalized industry, which calls for creative tactics to capture attention, make connections and keep people coming back.
Why is repeat business so important?
Access Development reports 79 percent of customers would take their business to a competitor within a week of experiencing poor customer service.
The estimated cost of customers switching their choice of businesses due to poor service is $1.6 trillion. (1)
Existing customers are 50 percent more likely to try new products and spend 31 percent more than new customers. (2)
From my experience of two decades in spa leadership, here are my three best practices for building customer loyalty:
1. Know your guest. The saying, “You don’t know what you don’t know,” is true. If you don’t know who is walking through the doors of your spa, or, for that matter, who you want to walk through, you won’t attract them. Your approach to knowing your guests is very different based upon the spa and guest type. At Carillon Miami Wellness Resort, our spa serves three types of guest: residents & members, locals and guests. This is how our team is trained to interact with each guest type:
Residents should be treated like owners. I interact frequently with our residents & members to get to know them personally. Because of our strong relationships with this group, they are vocal. For example, I’ve had them ask for changes to the fitness schedule. They may love a class, but it’s only offered in the early mornings, which doesn’t fit within their work schedule. We value this input and frequently adjust schedules in order to best fit their requests.
We also created “Treat Yourself Tuesday” for residents & members to receive a specific treatment at 30 percent off. However, we found our residents don’t like to do the math. They responded better to the offer when we published the treatment at $109 versus “receive 30 percent off.” This small marketing adjustment helped us to increase resident service sales during slower days of the week.
The biggest impact we’ve had with residents & members is inviting them to be “models” for new treatment trainings. I asked 30 residents if they would be interested in a complimentary treatment in exchange for their feedback on our new service menu. Their feedback was invaluable and, through the law of reciprocity, the number of spa bookings has increased with this group.
If yours is a spa in a hotel, the spa alone cannot build customer loyalty. If a guest has a great spa experience, but a negative experience with their room, F&B, etc., they will not want to come back. There are a lot of resorts & spas from which to choose, so the customer can be very selective. To build loyalty among guests, everything has to exceed the value they paid and be exceptional across all levels.
Locals often use a resort/hotel spa like a day spa, which means you need to monitor your pricing. If you don’t adjust pricing for locals to be closer to day-spa prices in your area, locals will only visit on special occasions. Consider locals-only promotions and special opportunities.
Also, keep in mind: locals are not on vacation. They don’t often have time to enjoy your amenities and, many times, those things lose their value. Instead of promoting your thermal experience or day-long packages to locals, focus on express facials, tech-relief massages, etc. so people come to you for routine maintenance and stress management.
As I mentioned regarding residents & members, we also market to locals to visit on slower days when resort/hotel guests aren’t on-site, which are Monday-Thursday. When the spa is slower, every member of your team has more time to give personalized attention, thus another way to create those repeat, local customers.
2. Signature and seasonal treatments. Research from Virtual Incentives shows more than half of consumers said receiving a personalized incentive would improve consideration of a brand. In a spa setting, signature and seasonal treatments are a smart way to create a personalized incentive.
I wrote about seasonal treatments in the Nov. /Dec. 2016 issue and feel they are such a key part of a spa’s success, I’m including them in this article as well.
When promoting to locals and residents, a signature or seasonal treatment of the month will spark their interest to come in more often. If the treatment can be combined with a discount or incentive, such as a take-home product used in the treatment, those are additional ways to build repeat business.
When creating signature treatments that interest hotel guests, it’s important to create continuity. This familiarity will make guests want to return to your property and they often will share their positive memories of a signature treatment with potential guests.
Also, when thinking about creating signature and seasonal treatments, as I advised in Nov. /Dec., you don’t have to completely reinvent a new treatment. Instead, use the protocol of an existing treatment and change the products used and marketing verbiage.
You may also want to explore creating pre- and post-treatment rituals. These touchpoints can create a special, unique memory for guests that don’t require a lot of training. Examples include a foot washing ritual, guided meditation, post-treatment healthy cocktails and light bites, etc. At Carillon Miami Wellness Resort, we have an expansive Thermal Experience that guests can use for as long as they like when having a treatment or the experience may be purchased stand alone.
3. Meet people where they are in terms of wellness. No one goes to a spa to be made to feel badly about their lifestyle choices. At The Spa at Carillon Miami Wellness Resort, we don’t dictate a sense of methodology for a well life. Instead, we meet guests where they are and help them go farther.
As spa professionals, we are natural “people pleasers.” That can mean we sometimes can be too strong in giving advice, which can turn off a guest. I suggest you don’t make people feel as if they need a PhD in spa to feel comfortable in your facility! Be approachable and welcoming; when you establish a rapport with the guest, that’s the time to suggest healthier habits and such. Of course, if the guest wants education and coaching from the beginning, use your expertise to guide them in a manner that establishes trust and keeps them coming back.
About the Author – Mindy Terry is the Vice President, Spa & Wellness for Carillon Miami Wellness Resort. Terry has more than two decades in spa & hospitality and has consulted on award-winning projects around the world. Terry has an extensive background in spa menu creation, logistics and management. More on Terry and Carillon Miami Wellness Resort on www.CarillonHotel.com.
- Access Development – http://blog.accessdevelopment.com/customer-loyalty-statistics-2016-edition