Spa Online Booking: Is the print spa menu outdated?

When was the last time you went to a restaurant/bar/cafe and you were given a hardcopy food/drinks menu?

Maybe not so long ago. For me to be precise, yesterday.

Until today, the majority of restaurants still distribute their menus in hardcopy, whereas some are also available online for download on the websites.

Same for most Spas. 

Spas have printed spa brochures or spa menus, and download versions available from their websites. Whereas common for booking hotel rooms today, few spas have realtime spa online booking options, however instead prefer displaying phone numbers or email contacts on their websites for guests to contact the spa if they wish to make a booking.



Is the print spa menu outdated?

I believe, in the future no spa guest should have to read their way through all those small print non-responsive leaflets, of which very few actually provide the information that spa guests want to know prior to their purchasing decision.

Above, a phone call may not always be a preferred way of contact for a travelling guest for example, and like wise should not be a preferred option for the business. We have all witnessed hectic times at spa reception desks when guests are queuing for check in, for check out, asking questions, and the phone endlessly ringing in the back…

An email bears the risk of time delays: message has to be sent, reply to be awaited, confirmations from both sides to be sent etc. What if I am about to board a plane or having to make subsequent decisions? I would want an instant confirmation!

spa online booking


Is spa online booking the answer?

Spa online booking certainly is one answer, and who would know better than Khaled Abed, Regional Sales Manager EMEA for Springer-Miller Systems, the company that runs one of the most successful and sophisticated Software for Spas, SpaSoft

Khaled says:

“The hospitality industry is known for being slow at embracing new technology. Hotel or Spa business are focussed on increasing the level of service to their customer by offering better services, better treatments etc.

When it comes to improving technology, we miss this development in the market.

5 years ago it was even hard to convince hoteliers to make their websites responsive.
(A responsive website recognises the device from which it is being accessed, so for example from a smartphone, tablet or laptop and provides automatically optimised viewing, reading and navigation etc. suitable for the very device.)

However the use of smart phones for example has increased and with it spa online bookings through it. For a user, non responsive websites don’t make for a pleasant booking experience, which may lead to loss of revenue for the business.

Over the last few month and through statistics, we have been able to prove an increase of revenue and excellent ROI with SpaSoft spa online booking.
Not only revenue but also customer satisfaction has improved.”

Well, then, let us have a more critical look at the pros and cons of spa online booking.

spa online booking


Are there only advantages in spa online booking?

Advantages for the business

  • brings your business into the 21st century
  • business is open 24/7 and always reachable, unlike a phone line, that may be busy or unanswered
  • resource optimisation
  • reservation maximisation
  • increase of distribution: reach of new / different type of customers
  • upfront payment, particularly interesting for spa businesses, where services are usually paid AFTER the service has been rendered
  • up-selling and add-ons are easy
  • calendar and business activities can be accessed from anywhere through cloud computing
  • mobile options (see video below)
  • spa online booking system typically provide you with extensive reports and analytics, which help you to understand and monitor your business activities better
  • spa online booking systems can include spa retail inventory management

Disadvantages for the business

  • you need internet access (ok, this is not really that critical)
  • by reaching new audiences you may dilute your target group
  • wrong system: depending on what features the system is focussing, it may not be right for your business

and some myths about spa online booking systems are:

  • they are expensive
  • they are difficult to use
  • they are not industry customised

Advantages for the guest

  • real time booking: fast and easy
  • instant confirmation
  • manage booking options such as changes
  • different payment options 
  • additional information is accessible, such as cancellation policies, spa etiquettes, treatment descriptions etc
  • instant confirmation
  • accessible from anywhere with internet connection, regardless locations, time zones, opening hours etc.

Disadvantages for the guest

  • no personal consultation: some questions a guest may have could remain unanswered:

what is going to happen during the session?

what is the difference between this massage and that massage?

how am I going to feel afterwards?

how long does the actual treatment take? 

which treatment is best for me?

how long will the entire visit take?

what am I to bring along?

what if I don’t like the treatment?

Spa Online Booking Facts & Figures

I also learned from Khaled (all figures by SpaSoft):

  • SpaSoft customers using online booking are reporting 7 – 10% of their total bookings coming from online booking
  • SpaSoft customers using online booking are seeing the following appointments booked online based on size of spa:

◦small spa under 5 treatment rooms = 11 online appointments per week

◦medium spa under 10 treatment rooms = 26 online appointments per week

◦larger spa over 20 treatment rooms = 54 online appointments per week

  • The average value of an appointment booked online is $75
  • Average Lead Time for Online Booking is 2 to 4 days prior to arrival at Spa
  • The Online Booking solution pays its annual costs within 30 to 60 days

My Test

Ok, lets do it: 

I access treatwell, a 24/7 booking platform offering bookings to available salon, spas, and wellness offers allover Germany.

On the main page, I can narrow my search by

  • type of treatment
  • location
  • date and time

I receive a list of day spa businesses including all respective offers. I can narrow my search down further by area and treatments, can add treatments, can choose the specific starting time, I can even see who my service provider will be.

I proceed by clicking on the check-out button and am offered 3 different payment methods: 

  • paypal
  • credit card 
  • cash on site.

My advantages are additionally highlighted:

  • free cancellation up to 48 hours in advance
  • variety of payment methods with secure methods
  • sign up for free membership for easier management of bookings

Easy, pleasant and instant!

spa booking online


Embracing Mobility

The luxury hotel group Mandarin Oriental is taking their online booking a step further with the paperless spa, checking guests in from mobile tablets.

Andrew Gibson, Group Director of Spa, says:
“The ultimate hospitality is providing service to the guest… If you are looking to continue to improve hospitality, you are looking to improve guest service, you have to then embrace technology to do that… I want us to have a paperless spa.”

Watch the video here:

It will be interesting to observe the technological development in our industry in the future. I don’t believe that print spa menus are going to – nor should – disappear entirely in the future, however I am a total fan of the paperless office!

What are your experiences? Do you use an online booking system in your spa? 

Am much looking forward to your comments.

Anja Eva Keller Spa & Wellness Consulting