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What to consider when adding a spa to your hotel

Thinking of taking the plunge and adding a spa to your hotel? Read Alistair Johnson's tips first

Adding a spa to your hotel business is guaranteed to get people talking about you, but it’s easy to lose sight of the target - to increase your customer offering and your revenue, says SPA Creators managing director Alistair Johnson. Here he shares five considerations for hoteliers looking to make their hotel spa a success. 

Consider the customer journey 

Much of what you must consider when creating a spa business will be centred around the planning of the spa and how your design will impact on your success. My first tip would be to consider the entire journey of your customer when they arrive at your spa, through to their departure. 

You must create touch points for you guest, both with staff, but also with pointers to guide their journey. These not only create a seamless experience for the customer, but also give the business a chance to input sales opportunities as well. 

An extremely effective way of working out the best journey for your customer is to visit other spas with a critical eye. We take our own customers on spa tours, where we investigate what other spas have done well, and also what they may have done better. 

Essentially, the best way to secure the optimum design is to engage at the beginning of your planning with an expert, be that a designer or an architect. 

Return on investment 

It may seem to go without saying but your spa must provide a return on investment. So often it is easy to get carried away with the beauty of a spa and perhaps over-invest on what you can in reality recoup. 

This is vital to take into consideration at the design stage. Remember to develop the spa once alone, we don’t want re-development or expansion if possible, so make the spa the right size – not too big, but definitely not too small. 

The best way to assess your route here is to carry out market analysis and work out where your spa sits in that market. 

What is your Unique Selling Point? 

To make your spa stand out from the rest create unique features that will make you the first choice for the customer. This could be the view, the location, the style of the building or a story you’ve created in the space. 

I find people often miss that their hotel is unique in its location or style, they miss the point of putting the spa in the best location on site and they neglect to realise their best asset is actually the hotel.

It’s my recommendation often to create a spa that is very unique to their business. If they are by the sea, they should mirror this in the spa, for example. Creating a brand story that is unique to the hotel and spa together will make the proposition stronger.  

Give your guests something to do 

Always remember that customers using your spa need something to do while they are there. Sitting in a pool alone will not keep your guests entertained for the required length of time. We believe you should be able to create activities and facilities to keep the guests entertained for more than an hour. This plus time for treatments give your customers a spa break experience. 

In our business we try and advise people to create areas of interest, this could be areas of thermal rooms, wet facilities and perhaps instead of a traditional Jacuzzi bath, opt for a vitality pool. 

Consider you pool furniture 

The central feature of a spa is always the pool, so we recommend investment not only in the pool, but also the poolside. 

So often people want that bit of extra space in the pool, when in fact they would be better off creating a beautiful poolside where people can relax and enjoy the experience. 

Going hand in hand with this is having really good quality poolside furniture. Relaxation beds give guests a place to relax and unwind between the spa activities and treatments, whilst enjoying a book, or perhaps a beverage. 

This area should even be classed as an activity of its own. If a spa has heated loungers in place guests can not only enjoy longer on them comfortably but they become an experience of their own. And it is these aspects that will set you apart from the competition. 

Alistair Johnson is also a member of Hospitality Experts, a consortium of established industry leaders, each with distinct specialisms, offering consultancy to businesses in the hospitality sector. United by a passion for the hospitality sector, industry experts share their experience and insight in order to help hospitality businesses increase profitability, improve brand loyalty, and outperform their peers.

The panel of experts are recognised leaders in their fields of expertise, and have been mutually selected to join Hospitality Experts. They have been chosen on merit, and are neither paid to contribute, nor have paid to participate.

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