Innovation is a hot buzzword. Senior executives in the hospitality industry are burning the midnight oil trying to find ways to innovatively one-up each other. Flying yoga, wellness strategies, sustainability campaigns, the list goes on with one thing in common. They’re all designed to target a larger portion of revenue from the upscale leisure consumer.Read More
Social media can be very powerful. A well positioned customer review can make or break a business. It can also elicit feelings of relating to the writer’s experience.
This week my friend Mark A. McKenney, a media consultant, posted the link to an article highlighting a woman’s birthday spa experience. It was published in Luxury Daily a leading trade publication.
Here is an excerpt:
“I am a mum of two young children and I am also client services director for an agency specializing in beauty, luxury and healthcare brands. So the time I spend in a day spa is at an absolute premium, carefully chosen based on trusted recommendations.
My expectations are high, but spas are everything that luxury should represent: immersion in a sensorial and physical environment that is a total escape for mind, body and soul.
However, my recent birthday visit to one of London’s hottest five-star day spas was distinctly lukewarm. Yes, there was beautiful interior design and excellent products. But all the little things that add up to make this an exceptional day out were absolutely wrong.
When luxury brand experiences rely 100 percent on attention to detail to elevate things to the extraordinary, this spa was not worth the five-star price tag.
Suffice it to say I did not leave as a brand ambassador. Things went awry from the moment I arrived and was greeted with the wrong customer’s booking details.
Then there was the couple next to me incessantly swiping smartphones in a no-mobile phone environment, the staff sounding like a training brochure recitation, and I was asked for payment as I was leaving even though the bill had already been settled.
It could have all been so different.
Let us start with the personnel. Throughout my stay, hospitality staff and therapists seemed to lack the empowerment necessary to deliver a great, personalized luxury brand experience.
My companion explicitly mentioned it was my birthday upon arrival, but it was never once acknowledged. A glass of bubbly or a gift of nicely wrapped samples has a minimal cost outlay, but could have paid huge dividends in terms of my brand loyalty and advocacy.
Staff members that are allowed to flex treatments and service rather than follow a set script are the difference between a competent and excellent customer experience.
There are thousands of beautifully designed spas and beauty products globally. Delivering an exquisite, personalized experience over and above a beautiful setting with some nice smells will be the only way to survive.”
By not revealing the name of the spa, Sara Jones, graciously gifted our industry with a teachable moment. As a hospitality professional what did you learn and how will you put it to use in 2016?
Most therapists who work in the spa industry are introverts. It doesn’t matter if they are in Bangkok, Thailand or the United States, they tend to be shy. It makes sense; what other personality type would elect to work in a darkened room, one on one with a minimal need for conversation. But even introverts want to be part of the group. Here, Jeff Hayden gives 5 tips on how to fit in.Read More
Anyone who is passionate about their work knows that it can be difficult to turn off sometimes. This is particularly true with customer service because good or bad, it’s always around us.
As a spa sales trainer I look everywhere for inspiration and the elusive key that will unlock the door to perfect service delivery. It’s doesn’t matter if I’m having dinner at a sky bar restaurant or buying a bag of freshly sliced fruit from a street cart vendor. I always notice how they deliver their service. Read More
This weekend heralds in one of the largest spending holidays during the year, Mother’s Day. In the United States alone, 2.35 billion was spent on flowers. Spas generated a not too shabby 1.47 billion in revenue earnings. Read More
Doug Chambers, founder/principal of Blu Spas, Inc. stated “A key to understanding the male skin care market is to understand that customization is just as relevant to the male market as it is to the female market. All too often spa menus feature multiple facial options unmistakably crafted for women and a single one-size-fits-all facial for men.”
A more customized experience for men should be the goal, accommodating the individual needs and desires of your target male market.
One way to begin that process is to identify which products among your retail selection are ideal for men. But with the wide range of products now available specifically suited to men’s needs, there is no longer an excuse for not having a section of your spa menu and products dedicated to the the fellas.
Social media and news outlets are bringing us closer together minute by minute. Air travel is faster and more frequent; most areas of the world can be accessed within 24 hours. Opportunities to conduct business with a global clientele are increasing exponentially. So what can spa therapists do to help build a brand which attracts and maintains the attention of treatment lovers from around the world?
What’s guaranteed to work every time and garner rave reviews on social media sites? Check this out-
Smile. A smile is a universal welcoming signal that crosses all boundaries and immediately puts your client at ease. Further engagement with the guest is mandatory and serves to benefit the therapist as well so make sure that the charm is dialed on high.
Interview your client. Use that intake form to begin your conversation.with your client. Everyone’s situation and reason for visiting the spa is different. Give men the same amount of time and respect for discussion as women, their needs are often just as pressing. Don’t assume anything, ask questions and listen well.
Don’t categorize your clients. When it comes to skin and body care, knowledge of the Fitzpatrick Classification Scale is not enough. Multi-ethnicity is everywhere and creates some very interesting characteristics that probably weren’t covered in your massage or aesthetics classes. Gather as much information as possible, this will help to ensure great service.
Make the client comfortable. People come in all shapes and sizes. Have a plan in case a plus sized or small person walks into your spa. Be sensitive to the hairstyles of your clients. If she (or he) has a lot of hair offer her two headbands rather than one. Don’t assume that the hair is all hers. Ask if its OK before plunging your hands into someone’s mane to perform a head massage. If you are performing facial services on a bald man give his head some love too. It’s exposed to the sun and needs care.
Cleanse, remove and check. When I worked as a makeup artist for a spa, I would frequently have to remove leftover makeup from my client’s neck or traces of masque from their nostrils, post facial. If a man has facial hair, masque may cling to his face. Check your clients in the daylight before sending them back out in public. They’ll appreciate your attentiveness.
Use your loupe. Don’t trust your lying eyes. Examine the skin closely under a magnifying lamp and report your findings to your client.
Be gentle. You will never go wrong if you treat all skin with respect. There is a commonly held belief that darker skin tones can tolerate more aggressive products. The opposite is true. Here’s the rule of thumb: If you are causing pain to your client, you are probably causing damage. This will get your name on social media quickly but not in a good way.
Avoid extractions. A good practice is to focus on providing clients with skin that is polished, luminous and smooth to the touch. No one on vacation wants their skin to look damaged. If your client returns to you often, you can then create a schedule for deep cleaning and extractions.
Make product recommendations Almost no one travels a distance and gets a treatment to not take something home with them. Therapists have problems selling because they fail to initially engage with their client. If you have a product that you really believe in or that worked incredibly well during treatment share the knowledge with your client. Recommend that they buy another for gifting, especially if it’s unique to your spa.
Make care recommendations One of the ways to show true interest in your client is a final written recommendation for body and skin treatments once they return home. Create a three month schedule for them to follow, include a sentiment thanking them for visiting the spa. Send it to their email address. They will appreciate the reminder to take care of themselves and likely follow your expert advice.
I am based in Asia however it seems that when it comes to the spa industry in general, “don’t ask don’t tell” is the policy that folks often operate from. I had a massage the other day at a Five-Star hotel in my neighborhood. It was serviceable enough and I left feeling better. It was everything else that happened around the service which made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Read More
My father used to tell my sister and me that whenever something looked easy, it was probably because the person doing it was very good at it. He would say that unbeknownst to us that person had been practicing for a very long time and there was no such thing as instant mastery or “overnight sensation”. Most of us found this to be true the first time we attempted to “moonwalk” like Michael Jackson. Read More
Here is a recap from the 30 Days of Spa Tips Series on the Moontide YouTube Channel(hey, please subscribe while you’re there!). So far we’ve discussed … How to increase sales, customer engagement and therapist confidence in 30 easy to follow steps.
1. Retail Mantra- Tell Touch Smell Sell- Four little words to remember when recommending products.
2. Managers Set Your Expectations with Your Therapists- Begin each day letting your team know the previous day’s results and which products are the hot item of the day.
3. Following Your Retail Road Map- Begin your day by determining which services you’ll be performing, select your retail products based on those services and envision yourself selling.
4. Therapists-How to Deal with Your Fears and Intimidation- Control nervousness by remembering that your customer is semi-nude. They are probably more nervous than you are.
5.Therapist Communications with Guests and Intake Forms- If you don’t understand what the intake form says get clarity before you begin the service.
6. Can you Retail for the Stars?-What’s your global skin I.Q? Which products work best for multi-ethnic or different skin types?
7. Recommending vs. Selling- Hospitality means providing your client with suggestions for an appropriate product to take home with them.
8. Positive Thinking for Retail Stars- Don’t talk yourself out of success. Envision yourself making lots of retail sales.
9. Is Your Spa Prepared to Sell- For managers, receptionists and therapists’ proper preparation at the start of each day will help to bring success.
10. So You Know Your Personal Brand- Match your personal preferences to the products at your spa. They will be easier to sell.
Watch 30 Days of Spa Tips on YouTube on the Moontide Consulting Channel