Today's spas offer relaxing, healing guest experiences facilitated by the seamless and effective use of technology to personalize each guest's visit. Whether day spas, destination spas, or hotel/resort spas, all these facilities must utilize modern technology solutions to equip staff members to operate efficiently, exceed guest expectations, and remain competitive by inspiring positive word-of-mouth and return visits.
Personalization is the key to retaining guests and capturing more of their spend. Several proven technology solutions can help make staff members' jobs easier and free up more time for them to focus on the therapeutic experiences they deliver for guests. Many of these solutions also enable guests to view services and activities in advance, make appointments, and even pay for them – further personalizing how they interact with and enjoy spa services.
What Today's Spas Say About Technology
Like most hospitality businesses, spas are challenged by staffing shortages, supply chain issues and efficiently servicing customer demand. Top priorities center around automating manual processes, maximizing productivity, and freeing up more time for staff members to spend with guests. Leading spas are implementing technology solutions that enable guests to review and select spa services, treatment providers and products in advance during the reservation process. Spas now offer guests the ability to personalize visits and access options online or on mobile devices. When these spas also add solutions that help manage appointments and automate processes such as payroll, staff scheduling, inventory management and point of sale, they are giving staff members tools to serve more guests while also being more productive.
In the March 2022 Snapshot Survey of ISPA members, 62 percent of respondents said the demand for spa services is higher than capacity even though 73 percent of spas are open 7 days per week. Twenty-one percent require customers to book services as much as two to three weeks in advance, and 17 percent require booking more than three weeks out. As facilities want to avoid being forced to turn customers away because they do not have enough providers available, 92 percent utilize a waitlist when fully booked.
The survey shows many spa facilities recently implemented new technologies or will do so in 2022 as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With regard to online booking tools, 69 percent of respondents said they already have one in place, and 27 percent plan to implement one in 2022. Additionally, 48 percent already are providing touchless payment options, and 30 percent plan to add them in the next few months. Revenue management also has been a popular option, with 56 percent reporting they already have a solution in place, and 28 percent plan to implement one in 2022.
Many spas also are speeding up the check-in process by offering tablet-based mobile options to guests when on-site. Digital waivers are an increasingly popular use for tablets during check-in. If a guest did not fill out a waiver prior to arrival, they can do so when checking in. Currently, 37 percent of survey respondents said they offer digital waivers, and 40 percent plan to put them in place this year.
Finally, an overwhelming 78 percent of respondents have plans to explore new spa management software for their facilities in 2022. Other areas of interest included smart booking, expense management and time management. These spa businesses are seeing the benefits of connecting therapeutic guest experiences with the ease and productivity modern technology facilitates.
Enhancing the Staff Experience with Technology
The survey responses definitively show spas are interested in adding to their technology tool kits. They are recognizing the advantages of solutions that make their managers' and staff members' jobs easier.
When staff members have tools that help them be more productive and find more time to focus on guests, their experiences are enhanced. When you make the staff experience more positive, that directly transfers to heightened service levels and improved guest experiences.
Today's spas have access to tools that enable them to truly know their guests. Allowing guests to book online using their choice of devices begins the process of creating a single guest profile. Through this profile, service providers and spa staff can learn more about each guest's preferences so they can personalize visits. Additionally, spa facilities can build loyalty by using digital marketing solutions that tap into the guest profile to create tailored offers that are automatically sent before booking or after a guest's visit to encourage future appointments.
Technology solutions can support single or multiple spa locations and create a database of guest profiles as a whole or by location. Scheduling can be automated to optimize the providers available for booking and predict inventory needs. Additionally, integrating the inventory and point-of-sale (POS) systems enables real-time retail product updates and supply needs. Payroll reporting with commission structures for services and products is available, as well as yield management with dynamic availability and pricing. Managers see real-time updates through an easy-to-use dashboard with access to appointments, guest profiles, provider scheduling, payroll, inventory and revenue management.
Additionally, many spas are implementing booking engines that prompt guests to book more services based on their existing reservations. These upsell opportunities help spas expand revenue while enabling guests to personalize and enhance their spa experiences. Mobile apps tailored specifically for spas can be updated with the spa's brand and guidelines. These solutions improve operational efficiency to boost productivity, heighten retention of talented staff members, and capture more appointments and revenue.
Enhancing the Guest Experience with Technology
Technology enables resort guests to pre-book spa services and other activities when they reserve their rooms. Each guest can create a single guest itinerary reflecting all appointments, services and restaurant reservations. Enabling guests to prebook activities and reservations gives the property an advantage by notifying staff of demand in advance so properties can better plan for scheduling and inventory needs.
Single guest profiles can inform a variety of unique and preference-tailored experiences, from providing a favorite tea during visits to suggesting purchasing hard-to-get products when the system shows they are in stock.
Personalizing each guest's experience based on knowing specific preferences leads to higher satisfaction levels, strengthened loyalty, positive reviews, and higher likelihood of return visits and enthusiastic recommendations to friends.
If a spa is not on a hotel or resort property that requires spa guests to be staying there, a branded mobile app can be used to provide anytime, anywhere access for guests to book additional service appointments and to select service providers/attendants, manage member profiles and view other content before, during or after visits. Through the app, guests can check in, complete intake forms, view the facility's safety features, learn what to expect upon arrival and digitally pay for services.
Spa and resort guests have come to expect a mobile experience. They already use mobile devices to order food delivery and ride sharing services. Offering a mobile solution that is easy to use, enables viewing of all bookings in one place with a single guest itinerary, and empowers guests to make their own choices strengthens client retention by equipping properties to deliver better service.
Technology is the Key to Better Staff and Guest Experiences
The bottom line is this: Successful tech-enabled spa experiences are rooted in providing effective tech-enabled experiences across the property for all staff members. Having the right tools to create single guest itineraries, and to manage behind-the-scenes operations from inventory to POS to scheduling, better prepares staff members to personalize each guest's experience. Giving guests the right tools to access and manage their profiles, select spa services and providers, and complete required forms in advance, respects each guest's time and delivers the flexible mobile access guests prefer.
Successful spa businesses equip their serene, healing environments with modern technology that makes the complete guest stay positive and friction-free through seamless and easy-to-access processes. To foster their competitive positions, these facilities have implemented technology solutions that automate many manual tasks, create more time for staff members to focus on customers, and provide easy access to personalized experiences. When properties make their staff members' jobs easier, it directly improves service levels and guest satisfaction scores.
Spa facilities increasingly realize that modern technology is the key to more positive experiences for both staff members and guests, and that deploying the right technology solutions heightens staff retention, increases return guest rates and reveals more revenue opportunities.
Agilysys is well known for its long heritage of hospitality-focused technology innovation. The Company delivers modular and integrated software solutions and expertise to businesses seeking to maximize Return on Experience (ROE) through hospitality encounters that are both personal and profitable. Over time, customers achieve High Return Hospitality by consistently delighting guests, retaining staff and growing margins. Customers around the world include: branded and independent hotels; multi-amenity resort properties; casinos; property, hotel and resort management companies; cruise lines; corporate dining providers; higher education campus dining providers; food service management companies; hospitals; lifestyle communities; senior living facilities; stadiums; and theme parks. The Agilysys Hospitality Cloud™ combines core operational systems for property management (PMS), point of sale (POS) and inventory and procurement (I&P) with Experience Enhancers™ that meaningfully improve interactions for guests and employees across dimensions such as digital access, mobile convenience, self-service control, personal choice, payment options, service coverage and real-time insights to improve decisions. Core solutions and Experience Enhancers are selectively combined in Hospitality Solution Studios™ tailored to specific hospitality settings and business needs. www.agilysys.com.