IECSC Seminar: What the Spa Consumer Wants

Coyle Hospitality Group’s hospitality consultants were on hand for this week’s International Esthetics, Cosmetics & Spa Conference (IECSC) in New York, where spa experts doled out valuable advice to spa directors and operators. Yesterday, Coyle Hospitality Group delivered a seminar on what the spa consumer wants. We presented exclusive Coyle Hospitality Group research on how spa consumers book, what they’re looking for in spas and the ways they want spas to communicate with them.

We noted that the spa consumer has changed along with the economy over the past several years. Understanding who that consumer is should play into how you manage your spa, how it’s promoted and how you communicate with customers. Following are some highlights from her IECSC seminar:

  • The top reason spa clients visit spas continues to be for relaxation and stress management; if spa clients leave looking less than relaxed, this needs to be addressed by staff. In fact, the top reason cited by those who report a negative spa experience is that they felt pain from their treatment.
  • Word-of-mouth is still the strongest way to get referrals – meaning the guest experience is paramount. Almost three-quarters (74%) of guests share a good spa experience by word-of-mouth; 29% will email friends. And 38% of those surveyed said they booked at a certain spa because of a word-of-mouth recommendation. Not surprisingly, a vast majority of those who give positive word-of-mouth are retained by the spa.
  • The number-one reason potential spa clients go online and/or visit a spa website is to find deals. Other top reasons for taking to the Interent include to view spa menus, read user feedback and learn what spas are all about.
  • 40% of potential spa clients go online to find a new spa to visit, making the need for a spa website that’s optimized for search engines extremely valuable to any spa business.
  • 53% reported that the reason they booked a treatment with a spa is because they received a direct mail piece; 44% booked after receiving an email with a discount. These tried-and-true methods work better than we might think.
  • Consumers are looking for prices, treatment descriptions and hours of service when they go to a spa’s website; 91% of consumers surveyed said they would book a massage online. Spa operators must consider what the consumer is looking for from their websites and whether adding these features makes sense for their business.
  • Most spas don’t have the sales call mastered, according to Coyle Hospitality’s spa mystery shoppers. Once you have a client on the line, are you making the most of this opportunity? If you don’t maximize the call by offering options, qualifying the client or mentioning appropriate alternate treatments, you’re most likely losing revenue.

Watch this space for more spa research in the coming weeks. To download Coyle’s Global Spa Research Report, click here.

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