Online booking and gift card purchases are becoming an ever more important part of the spa world. American Spa just presented an article about online marketing tools in their May issue. In the article, they mention how online services such as reservations and gift card purchases offer 24-hour capabilities in our ever more hectic world.
So what is behind this shift?
1. There is less pressure in online spa booking than conventional spa shopping
I believe one reason online purchases in general have become so popular is because while we love to buy, we prefer to shop than be sold. Online purchases take any hint of pressure out of the equation. Consumers can take their time on the spa’s website and not feel the need to make a quick decision about what services they would like. It also allows conservative spenders to avoid feeling like they were talked into more than they planned on.
2. Online spa purchases can be made any time – day or night
Schedules have become so busy that consumers have difficulty planning ahead. Online booking allows the consumer to look for availability when they can (even if it is at 2 in the morning day of) without the hassle of waiting until the spa opens, calling and scheduling last minute or finding out that the desired time and/or treatment are unavailable.
3. Online spa booking is quick, easy and convenient
Convenience is also key. Knowing that I can go to a website to purchase a gift certificate last minute for a friend’s birthday saves the pressure of driving to the spa, waiting for assistance, speaking with someone, and so on. Shopping from the comfort of one’s own home or office makes it easy and increases the likelihood of the actual purchase. Think about how many times you intended to purchase something specific for someone and just never got around to getting there.
If you had asked me 5 years ago if we would be booking online, I would have given you countless reasons as to why spa treatments require the human touch to reserve. With sophisticated technology and guest experience even more central to attracting and retaining business, this shift has emerged full force and I worry that those that abstain may lose out.