The different Steps in the Spa Sales Process. A Case Study

I have recently stayed in St Moritz.
In a 5* Hotel within a superior hotel chain, in one of the prime tourist destinations in Switzerland.

The Spa, although not the largest nor most stunning in the Alpine region, has some good features and services.

different Steps in the Spa Sales Process Anja Eva Keller TalkWellness

I booked my hotel stay upfront and received a lengthy hotel booking confirmation with information on arrival and departure, as well as news and promotional content. Nothing about the spa though…

I then contacted the spa prior of arrival on my own initiative.

At first I simply enquired about the spa menu by email, which was promptly send by email in return. After a few days I contacted the Spa again to make my reservation. After a short yet friendly communication, I received my booking confirmation. No mention of it again on hotel check in though…

What is your opinion, is this good practice? Or even excellent? Well, I find a few areas of improvement, that I am happy to share. And explain, why they make sense, also from a selling point of view.

Key Issue #1: Prospecting: who are potential customers?

Most Spas I know still keep to the practice “wait, until a guest walks through the spa door”. This is somehow successful in a hotel spa, where hotel guests are obviously under the roof already and some of them may even have picked the hotel for its spa. So we can sit back and wait for them to contact the spa for an appointment!?

By the way: yes, you DO want to know how many hotel guests exactly visit the spa – so please refer to my article Spa KPIs to understand how and why the hotel guest ratio is important.

Ok, so at the hotel spa, we can assume that someone will eventually come to the spa and even book a treatment. 

Now we also know that we have very limited resources in spas; only a certain number of treatment rooms, only a certain number of service providers available etc. Think about this: a treatment not performed is lost revenue for ever!

Not only for occupancy and profit maximisation (other important Spa KPIs), it is vital to be able to forecast and prepare for potential business. 

But also and more important, for the ultimate guest satisfaction! Is it not all to common that usually there is no availability in the spa on short notice? Do you know how many – then unsatisfied – guests you turn away from the spa?

Spa Guest Prospecting – Best Practise:

My suggestion is the following: once a guest has made the hotel reservation and submit their contact data to the hotel, the hotel can contact the future guest by offering assistance with bookings upfront. 

The minimum information I would expect is a sentence in the hotel booking confirmation reading something like 

“Our beautiful spa offers a range of excellent treatments. As bookings fill up quickly, we highly recommend to make your reservations ahead of time. Please contact the spa at [].”

In fact, there is a related paragraph in their spa menu under ‘reservations’, saying ‘advanced booking is highly recommended…’. Hm, too little too late, when the spa menu is only available on site and not prior to arrival.

different Steps in the Spa Sales Process Anja Eva Keller TalkWellness

Better practise is to actively and personally contact the guest by offering a suitable treatment. 

Mr Smith has booked a single room? 

The email can read: Dear Mr Smith, we are happy to welcome you to the Hotel… Would you be interested in a relaxing or uplifting treatment during your stay? May I recommend our xyz massage? Please let me know, if I may make a reservation for you……

The Miller’s have booked the Honeymoon Suite? Here comes the recommendation for Spa-Day-For-2.

The Carter’s have booked 2 rooms as they bring their children? Tell them about the Kid’s Club in which the children will be looked after while mum enjoys some me-time at the spa and a facial… 

Why? Simply because it makes spa operation a lot easier. Knowing how many service providers I will need next weekend will increase therapist occupancy (oh boy, another KPI), reduce turn-away and lost revenue, and increase guest satisfaction!

Key Issue #2: Better and Personalised Service makes for better business

The short response from the spa to my email enquiry was prompt and friendly:

Dear Mrs. Keller

Thank you for your interest in The Spa. 

I attach our menu in German. 

Please do not hesitate to contact us for any further information or queries.

We look forward to welcoming you in our spa. 

Best Regards

Yes, we all want to save time and effort and energy. But from a trained receptionist at a 5* Spa, I expect much better than that: 

  • offer the guest to also send the menu in print if they wish
  • inform the guest of any promotional specials that you may have this month
  • use the selling technique No1: listen! Ask they person what they are looking for. Do they simply wish to relax, or does the lady need a specific beauty treatment for an occasion?
  • make more specific recommendations, i.e. as mentioned above, couple treatments for couple travellers etc
  • Provide general information about the Spa, such as opening timings, where the spa is located in the hotel, what products they use etc.

Best Practise –  Follow Up

After I had not replied for a couple of days, the spa should have followed up. I am a potential spa guest, as I have already shown my interest in the spa, so I am your best candidate to be sold a spa treatment to! 

Do not miss this sales opportunity by not following up!

Best Practise – Up-sell and Cross-sell

After the reservation has been made and confirmation send, a spa receptionist (who also should consider themselves sales people) has a great opportunity to up-sell or cross-sell.

  • ask the guest that books the massage if they would like to add a facial or other treatment
  • since the guest seems to be in-house for a couple of days, if they would like another treatment on another day? 
  • do you offer the guest to use the spa all day on departure day for a day fee? Most hotels ask for check out between 10 am and 12 pm. Instead of offering a late room check out only, offer a late spa check out instead! Some guests do not need an extension of their hotel room, or the hotel may be fully booked during a busy season for a late check out to be impossible. 
  • For a treatment in the late afternoon, the spa receptionist can ask the guest if they have made dinner reservations as yet and offer to contact the restaurant manager

Best Practise – Personal Contact

As expected in a 5* Hotel, a handwritten welcome note awaited me in the hotel room on check in. Common practise nowadays in most lodgings, a lovely personal touch making the guest feel welcome.

different Steps in the Spa Sales Process Anja Eva Keller TalkWellness

my apologies, some of the cookies are missing in the pic 🙂

Why is there nothing from the spa? Why is there no treatment confirmation in my room?

It is a great service to the guest to provide this kind of information. 

After all, it has been a while since I made the reservation, I may not have the confirmation email with me, I may not remember the exact date and time… 

Curious how my treatment was and how I experienced the spa? More in a seperate spa review article.

Which best practises do you apply in the different Steps in the Spa Sales Process? 

Anja Eva Keller Spa & Wellness Consulting