Ms. Brown

Spas, Health & Wellness

Creating a True Circuit of Wellness for Guests

By Ann Brown, Founder, Saltability

The 2016 U.S. Spa Industry Study, released last Nov. by the International Spa Association (ISPA) revealed a milestone for the spa industry. For the first time in an ISPA Consumer Snapshot Survey, the number of spa-goers outnumbered non-spa-goers for a respective audience with 56 percent of millennials having visited a spa in the last 12 months. As more consumers choose spas, they are looking for more than a simple treatment - a massage or facial. They want a wellness experience. In fact, millennial spa-goers cite reducing or relieving stress as the biggest reason they choose to visit a spa ("New ISPA Research Released for 2016," experienceispa.com).

Today's hotels and spas must step up to meet their needs of today's more wellness-savvy consumer and stay competitive in the marketplace. Today's guests understand what aging and stress can do to their bodies, and they want to minimize the damaging effects caused by busy lifestyles. Numerous studies point to the effects that stress and negative lifestyle choices have on our bodies when we don't sleep, rest, repair and allow our parasympathetic to replenish the body. This increasingly mainstream awareness about holistic health and wellness needs has led to guests looking for spa and hotel experiences that provide a true circuit of wellness - a comprehensive experience that begins from the moment they walk onto the property and is intentional throughout their visit and helps them achieve their longevity and wellness goals.

When you answer guests' desires by providing a stay that supports their health and wellness goals, you meet their needs and your own. Creating a wellness circuit at your hotel and spa will make a statement with your guests that brings them back, leads them to recommend your property to others and positively impacts your bottom line.

Properties That Lead with Healthy Design

To create a truly comprehensive wellness experience, every detail matters, from the moment your guest pulls up to your property. Consider the messages you send through design, landscape, maintenance and more. How environmentally conscious and friendly is your hotel and spa?

According to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the hospitality industry's interest in LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), the world's most widely used green building rating program, continues to grow - with more than 2,070 hotels participating in LEED and nearly 400 LEED-certified hotels comprising nearly 134 million square feet of space, as of Feb. 2016.

Those numbers continue to grow because guests love to know that your property maintains low energy consumption and is sustainable. Look at how you are already meeting that preference for your guests, and look to how you can improve in how you operate. When you have noteworthy, environmentally friendly practices in place, make sure you share the news. Consider how you can educate your guest on how your property is contributing as positively as possible to the environment.

For example, one of the reasons that I developed Saltability's Himalayan Salt Stone warmer for massage is because I wanted to provide a better way for spas to provide stone massage for guests. Our warmer requires no water, uses no chemicals and requires a much less electrical load than the turkey roaster-style warmers traditionally used for basalt stone massage.

We want all of the massage therapists who use our Himalayan Salt Stone Massage to understand the innovation that went into the warmers, and the education we provide them includes making sure that they know how to talk to guests about both the benefits of Himalayan salt stones and the environmentally friendly design behind the warmers. The more educated they are, the better versed they are in communicating the value and difference to guests.

Good Food, Good Choices

Cooking classes are a great way to educate and entertain guests and promote a healthy lifestyle. Ask your culinary team to come up with spa-inspired dishes and teach guests how to prepare healthy and flavorful foods. Farm-to-table movement continues to be an important consumer trend, and more and more hotel properties are choosing to grow their own food and spices on property. If you are in this category, feature your own homegrown staples and discuss the nutritional value of fresh food and the environmental benefits of utilizing foods grown close to home.

If you don't garden on property, look to your local's farmer's market to bring your area's respective flavor to the table. What's in season? Think about how you can deliver wellness and a unique culinary experience to your guests at the same time.

Consider how to add to or change your current F&B menu to address wellness needs. In addition to farm-to-table offerings, juicing and raw foods are on the rise in popularity as more and more consumers become wellness-conscious. A raw food diet promotes eating only, or mostly, unprocessed foods in order to eliminate the toxicity found in processed foods and avoiding the loss of nutrients that occurs when cooking food. The focus is on fresh, whole, plant-based foods - particularly fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, nuts and seeds - consumed in their natural state, without cooking or steaming.

Bringing smart food choices to your guests adds an important wellness dimension to their stay, but you don't have to revamp your entire F&B strategy to make changes that guests will notice. You can start small with touches that make a difference. Within the spa, for example, offer more than a glass of a water after a massage treatment - bring a glass of sole, a mixture of Himalayan salt and water, which is known to improve energy and circulation, balance the body's PH, help with skin conditions, regulate sleep and balance sugar levels, among other benefits.

Explain the benefits to the client so he or she walks away with a better understanding of exactly what the service has done for them and how you are complementing the treatment through the sole. By offering sole at the end of a massage treatment, you are giving your client something tangible to walk away with and more for their money at little cost to you.

Enhancing the Spa Environment

I increasingly hear from spa owners and directors how they want to add or upgrade the physical elements in their spa to give value to their guests. From the moment a guest walks in the door, the spa needs to convey a complete sense of sanctuary and healing. While a total renovation is not always possible to create a wow experience for guests, there are ways to improve your facility without a complete overhaul.

The Biltmore Spa in Miami-Coral Gables, for example, chose to add to their guests' spa experience by adding Himalayan salt to the saunas. "In line with our Benessere (Wellness, in Italian) program, we look to enhance our guests experiences with wellness-intended opportunities throughout the property," says Charlotte Prescott, Director of Spa & Fitness at the Biltmore Hotel. "I am passionate about inspiring our guests to take a wellness antidote home from their experiences with us. I loved that bringing the Himalayan salts into our saunas enhanced the dry heat experience and served as an education tool to our guests about the many benefits of Himalayan salts. There are so many benefits and so many different ways to use the salts. Showing and sharing how easy it is hopefully helps to spread this amazing, natural and therapeutic secret."

Creating a thorough experience for guests, the Biltmore Spa also incorporated Himalayan salt stones into its Mineral Wellness Ritual, designed to help the spa goer detoxify, re-mineralize and restore balance to the body and mind.

Adding Treatment Touches

Today's spa clientele want personalization with some education about their bodies and what they need to do to take care of themselves. That's why the end of every treatment should include a recommended retail product so the client to continue their treatment while at home. Take a look at what type of retail items you have available for purchase. How do they fit with the services you offer and what type of changes need to be made so your clients can take what they experienced at the spa and carry it over into their everyday life? 

Offering everything from essential oils to self-help books and organic skin care lines allows your guests to make better choices on a daily basis. If a product is used on guests at the spa, offer it in your retail store. Keep in mind, retail offerings are about more than just making a sale. Clients look to their practitioners to provide them with reliable information that will benefit their health.

When you are thinking about customizing treatments that will offer a variety of benefits, there are a number of things you can incorporate with little effort. Offering add-ons is one way to personalize a treatment and give the client what they are looking for. Reflexology, aromatherapy and exfoliation are a few elements you can add on to any service with little expense but great bonus benefits for the guest.

Consider boosters to massage or wrap services to help the client with cellulite. An application of Niacin to the buttocks, hips, thighs, and back of arms before any massage or wrap treatment gives the client better results for a simple add-on service.

You can also make sure that there are a few "extras" laying around the spa for people to enjoy. Serving complimentary tea and offering cool towels with rosemary essential oil will make the spa a place they don't want to leave, and more importantly, a place they can't wait to come back to! 

It's also important that any time you offer a signature treatment that as many on your staff as possible are certified to perform it. When a potential guest calls to schedule an appointment you don't want to turn them down because only one or two on your staff are qualified to perform the service but are already booked that day. It could result in a lost client who may not call back.

When you offer new services or retail products, it is important to have highly-trained staff to not only execute the treatment but to also be prepared to take the time to educate clients. Make sure staff are knowledgeable about the description and outcome of the treatment. This time the practitioner takes with the client is a good opportunity to try and schedule their next appointment, which can be tailored to meet their specific needs so that you continue to meet their goals. Help them along the path to wellness and prevention and they will keep coming back. 

Bringing spa elements and a wellness philosophy throughout your property creates a more impactful and memorable experience for guests. Numerous options are available, so think through what best fits your property as you work to expand the health and wellness benefits for your guests and create a comprehensive wellness circuity that will bring them back time and time again. Small changes can make a big difference, so start today with an assessment and craft a plan that will pay off for your bottom line - and for guests.

Ann Brown is an industry veteran whose expertise extends from licensed cosmetologist, esthetician, nail technician and massage therapist to accomplished spa director and business manager. In 2014, she founded Saltability to answer the need for a better treatment in the spa industry and conceived a line of Himalayan salt products that benefit clients as well as their therapists. By keeping products and services chemical free and eco-friendly, Saltability offers multiple therapeutic benefits in a single treatment, helping client and practitioner alike. Today, Saltability is a spa industry partner that provides quality Himalayan salt stone treatments and products for resort, day, medical and destination spas. Ms. Brown can be contacted at 888-210-9918 or ann@saltability.com Please visit http://www.saltability.com for more information. Extended Bio...

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