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Spa Consumer Online Shopping & Booking Preferences

Coyle Hospitality Group recently released its 2011 Global Spa Report. This is part five of six articles that will summarize and highlight key pieces and findings of the report.

A lost consumer frantically searches the web, yearning for a last minute appointment at a nearby spa to repair the rain-damaged tresses she used to call a hair-do, and—GASP—the big event is in two hours. Enter the spa website, perfectly situated to include all the necessities one spa guest such as herself would need to choose the most suitable spa. This damsel in distress becomes a happy customer in a matter of moments, and the next challenge for the chosen spa won’t arrive until she enters the doors. End scene. You might be wondering what exactly a ‘perfect’ spa website might look like. Is it organized and detailed with appropriate information and captivating images? What kind of information, exactly? Does it offer exciting product promotions and deals? Does it give you the option to book an appointment right there on the screen? How do YOU get that web-surfing consumer to choose your services?

Coyle’s 2011 Global Spa Report addressed the issues surrounding online shopping and booking, including website orientation. When asked about the most important elements on a spa website, 98% of respondents said it was important or very important to list the offerings and treatments available, and 97% find it important or very important to list the associated prices. 74% (a 4% increase from 2010) of respondents said it was important or very important to have the cancellation policy listed on the website. Additionally, the ability to view general spa information went up 4%–now at 78%–this year.

When we asked about booking appointments, we found that 51% of consumers think it is important or very important for businesses to provide consumers with online booking capabilities. Yet, when asked which treatments they have booked online, the number of respondents who had booked a treatment online decreased slightly in most areas from last year to this. This indicates that offering online booking has not increased in importance at the rate one would have anticipated based on the demand for the service. When asked why they would not book a certain treatment online, compelling responses included:

  • The inability to ask detailed questions about personal treatments—especially waxing, hair coloring, or medical treatments
  • The failure to get a feel for the facilities—even with photos or a video, many guests prefer the actual sensations involved in taking a walking tour of a spa
  • The lack of information about service providers and the subsequent inability to choose a specific therapist based on a recommendation

If you want to try online booking, a good start would be to do so with existing customers who already have faith in your business. It is also important to keep yield-management in mind. Incentivizing off-peak times for online bookers can help during slow periods while saving staff time on the phones trying to ‘sell’ these appointments.

To download and view the full report, please visit Coyle’s website at www.coylehospitality.com/2011-global-spa-report/. To find out about how Coyle can assist you with mystery shopping program design and implementation and improving the spa experience, please visit http://www.coylehospitality.com/mystery-shopping-services/spa-consulting/.