Hotel spas give spending a boost

The pandemic has made it difficult for anyone to relax. Beyond being a drag on the core business of a hotel, the sale of rooms, it has also been an attack on ancillary revenues, such as spa activities.

Hotels with spas had to evolve cautiously during the pandemic, finding corners to cut without too much jeopardizing the promise of a serene customer experience. What they found, according to the data, was that the reductions in staff and some equipment were blessings in disguise, producing efficiencies and greater personalization of the customer experience.

Smart cost reduction

Reduced services and social distancing regulations have resulted in significant savings in spa operations this helped to inflate the results, even in the face of reduced income.

“The savings came from the reduced hours that were implemented by the spa, allowing us to only schedule one person per day. “ said Catherine Davalle, Spa Director at Acqualina Spa by ESPA, at the Acqualina Resort in Miami. This measure made it possible to avoid having to use several receptionists or spa agents to cover longer opening hours.

“Cost savings have also been achieved with our equipment, such as toothbrushes, combs, hairbrushes and razors, which are now available on demand rather than free.” Davalle added. “Before, in the lockers, we had boxes [of amenities]. Now we let customers know what amenities are available, upon request. “

Also, Davalle said, “In the lounge, we used to have a pleasure bar with tea and our signature cookies. Now, because of the Covid, we offer a tea service on demand. “

Such efforts seem to be paying off. According to HotStats data, in May 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, the spa profit per room available at full-service establishments in the Americas was – $ 0.31. Fast forward to a year later and that metric has jumped to $ 0.89, a 387% improvement.

At luxury hotels in the region, the same KPI soared in May 2021, reaching $ 4.42 after dropping to $ -1.46 in May 2020.

Change for the better

Meanwhile, changes made last year to reduce costs have allowed spas to make improvements and become more efficient.

“We saved around 30% on equipment and we took advantage of this saving to implement new standards, which will have a greater impact on the experience of our customers. “ Davall said.

For example, she says, “We are now offering pool amenities such as chilled grapes, frozen lemonade and fresh little towels, adding touches to delight guests. “ The spa also added a new treatment, Himalayan Salt Stone Back Massage, in which guests take the stones with them for use at home.

In the future, she continued, “We keep the hours reduced because we still don’t have a full staff to cover all areas for longer hours, and creating the equipment on demand allows us to spend money in other areas, such as than pool equipment, to improve the customer experience. “

Other properties are turning the tide of savings during the pandemic, fulfilling a need that arguably is vital to profitability: customer service.

“When we reopened our spa, we cut our healthy snacks to discourage communal meals – which was a short-term cost savings – and we discontinued group fitness classes. “ said Derek Hofmann, senior spa manager at Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort.

But, he added, “We have started to take up these offers because they are important points of service contact for our customers. Getting back to normal with offers like these represents an increased cost to our immediate post-pandemic operation; however, we believe they are important service elements in improving the overall experience of our spa customers, which justifies the relatively small erosion of profitability.

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