15451-72apHow Suite it is

Turning rooms into havens for spa pleasures is quickly becoming a way to generate additional revenue both within and outside of the immediate realm of your property’s spa. Assuming that you are doing everything correctly to drive your spa, the suite is the next untapped and obvious choice to mix things up a bit.

Setting up the Sale

Promoting the spa suite concept is rather easily done but must be comprehensive to include guests, parties, corporate events and local guests simply looking for a new spa excursion. The best way to define your method of attack is to literally org-chart the pathways that lead to the ultimate sale to the guest.

Reservations: It all begins with reservations.  Assume the sale and make an important portion of any reservation a trip to the spa. Obviously you can create packages and systems to reinforce this but whatever you do ask about booking spa services when the guest secures a reservation.

Front Desk: Assume the sale again, “and what spa services will you be enjoying during your stay with us?” Allow for colloquial-styled scripts that put staff at ease as well as clients.

Bellman: “While I take care of your luggage may I also book you a spa service?” While this may see far-fetched it is actually a natural way to include the spa in the hotel visit.

Concierge: Over 75% of women business travelers choose room service as opposed to dining out or going out while on business trips. Why aren’t they simply choosing spa services with a light spa fare in your spa or in their room?

Maid staff: Chocolate on your pillow or a bath salt sample and a spa menu?  Your maid staff is the uncontrollable card towards hotel excellence. Give them a purpose and watch your spa grow as well.

Restaurant staff:  Food or spa; spa or food—same thing actually. Tie your menu into your spa menu for added benefit on both ends of the profit and loss statement.

GM and hospitality staff: What is more hospitable than a relaxing massage, a mini-facial or a brief seated chair massage in the lobby?  Extend your service through your spa services. Enhance your brand by being the leader in service via your spa.

Spa or Fitness Staff: Include spa materials in your fitness area and allow personal trainers to interact in hotel fitness programs for executives and those on vacation alike by offering personal enhancement programs. Weight loss, well being, mental health and rejuvenation type packages are popular for many groups who are not on a budget. Get away packages for parents are always popular.

Setting up the Suite

Couples rooms when staged in a hotel facility can be settings of opulence, exotica or anything that the guest prefers to experience in an enclosed space of solitude. Each suite can either have a standard theme that compliments the overall feel of the property or can be staged as a larger experience. The scope of themes and corresponding services for these rooms can truly range in spectrum and flavor from Tahitian to contemporary minimalism to old world European. More importantly, these rooms if set up correctly can be efficiently changed in tone from the exotic to the sublime to ultra-romantic without much effort or expenditure.

Basic rooms require enough space for two treatment tables, two therapists, two clients, equipment, storage and sundries. While the typical couple’s room is a 15 by 15 foot space, these rooms vary to accommodate the price points within the facility, additional amenities and any specialty equipment that might be necessary given signature treatments. Oftentimes spas will enhance a couples’ room by adding a hydrotherapy tub, corner double shower or a small resting space for pre or post treatment snacks and beverages. When thinking about the design of a double treatment room, keep in mind comfort, flexibility, ease of use and ambiance. A couples’ room may serve use as a treatment space for two friends, business associates or significant others so also take into consideration the basic build out and furnishings of this type of room when planning your hotel suites.

Regardless of the type of suite keep in mind some core aspects of both design and furnishings:

Make each room multi-functional to allow for add on’s of all sorts.  This includes wax pots, paraffin baths, facial and massage equipment as well as extra blankets, candles, sundries, beverages and similar articles like bolsters and esthetics tools like ampoules and specialty masques. While many spa properties choose to create couples rooms with partitions or similar dividing walls, many now do dedicate at least one if not two rooms to couples treatments. As a hotel or resort property it makes a lot of sense to create rooms that include an area for beverages and snacks to be enjoyed. Furthermore, consider moving walls that can be adjusted to configure larger or smaller suites depending on the size of the party.

As far as equipment goes try placing the bulk of the items on wheels for greater efficiency of use per room. Ideally technicians should be able to use any available room for the bulk of treatments on your spa’s menu. Putting larger equipment like a microdermabrasion unit, 8 in 1 skin care unit or contouring equipment on carts or base wheels allow the technicians to get unnecessary items out of each room allowing for more space as well as equip a room with appropriate tools on short notice.

Finally make each room comfortable. Consider adding heated mattress pads to treatment tables and facial chairs. Offer clients warm blankets, flannel, satin, plush terry cloth sheets for treatment surfaces. Choose equipment that is heavily padded and easily adjusted to accommodate dry body therapies, massage as well as facials and esthetics services.  Equipment allowing for several services at one time might also be an option for some rooms. For instance, there are facial chairs available that allow for shampooing, manicure and pedicure service as well as the typical esthetic treatments. Bolsters, pillows, eye pads, neck wraps and other amenities of comfort are also welcomed additions to treatment rooms.

Bridal Parties

Bridal parties come in all shapes and sizes these days. A popular approach is the year-long traditional month by month series of services preparing a bride for her special day allows for a variety of options like contouring, skin enhancement or correction, make-up lessons and selection as well as natural nail treatments. Furthermore, brides can choose a mini-selection of treatments only three months before the wedding while including a significant other like the matron of honor, a sister, mother or relative or the entire wedding party. Offering a mini menu of bridal options is always a best bet both for gift giving and to suggestively sell those services that work nicely when offered in a package.

Wedding parties offered just before a wedding are preferable to those offered the day of for various reasons. Champagne will undoubtedly flow, deep cleansing facials may lead to blotchiness and the bridal party will be much more at ease if the party is thrown before the actual event. One creative option for a group affair is a body treatment bar. This type of beauty smorgasbord allows for group interaction, fun, creativity, and an inexpensive though memorable experience. Depending on the budget of the party mini treatments are also ideal. Services like group pedicures, 30 minute massage, mini-facials and express manicures are always options. When servicing a group it is ideal to include treatments that involve a non-attendant service to round up the experience while not necessarily rounding up the tab. Amenities like a sauna, hot tub, saline pool, steam room or hydrotherapy tub are welcomed additions to a day at the spa without increasing operations and management costs.

Corporate Events

Similarly business groups, corporations and entrepreneurs have begun flocking to the spa to entertain clients, reward employees and bond with one another in a healthy environment. Allowing for a flexible floor plan that accommodates both large and small groups is a part of handling this portion of the market. The rest of the secret is to not sell your facility or staff short—go find corporate business. You will be surprised how easy it is to book functions and plump up your spa’s bottom line.

Insider Tips:

Think about your spa as a cash cow and it will become one. Ignore your spa and it will rebel. Your spa may very well be the vehicle that will make you more competitive in the hospitality industry…or…not!  Utilize the additional amenity that we all currently crave to grow your core business. Your spa is more important than your pillows, restaurant or movie selections.