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How to Thrive in the New Hospitality Era

17 September 2021
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The world has changed dramatically since spring, 2020, and as people continue to emerge from isolation and visits to spas and hospitality businesses increase, these businesses may need to rethink some existing practices.

Interest in wellness is exploding around the globe and opportunities to recoup revenue lost during hard times, and position your business for success, are plentiful. Are you ready for it?

We’ve created a checklist of seven items your spa will need to thrive in this exciting new realm of possibilities.

Online booking
If you think of online booking as a nice-to-have, you need to update your thinking. It’s now a necessity.

Research has found that a majority of people get frustrated with waiting on hold and that nearly 70% of respondents would choose to book (medical) appointments online if the option is available, vs only 22% who would choose to book by phone. And consumers don’t want to work around your schedule. One study found that nearly 60% of doctor’s appointments were booked outside of office hours.

Online booking frees up front-desk staff time to focus on other tasks, which is valuable when so many spas are understaffed. It helps you keep better track of operations because everything shows automatically in your system, making scheduling and reporting easier. Online booking also helps you capture any bookings that you might otherwise miss from people trying to book outside of business hours. This helps increase revenue and make up for revenue lost during shutdowns.

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A cloud-based software system
The cloud is accessible from anywhere in the world, meaning spa employees can view their schedules, client information, and more, in real-time from anywhere This information can even be shared across multiple locations, streamlining operations and meaning guests can go to any of your spas without having to share their personal and credit card information more than once – a guest experience game-changer. Cloud software also uses a subscription model and utility pay structure meaning you pay based on volume and can customize your software needs as you scale up. And upgrades are automatic. Conversely, for on-premise software, you pay upfront to install the software and again every time you want to upgrade. This requires IT involvement, a scheduled on-premise upgrade.

Contactless experiences
As we move into whatever normal is going to look like, there will be many different comfort levels. Some people will jump right back into full face-to-face interactions while others will be more reticent, and we should meet them wherever they are. Contactless experience options will help with this. Virtual intake forms allow guests to fill out their information remotely, reducing crowding in waiting areas, and saving time entering the information manually into your system. Contactless check-in and check-out allow guests to come and go without having to stop at the front desk. Contactless treatment and service options are also smart menu additions, as they serve to accommodate more reserved guests and can help make up for the shortage of staff that many spas are currently facing.

Also, if the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that things can turn on a dime. Adding these options can help you better prepare for another disruption, be it a pandemic or something else.

A strategic marketing and communications plan
Develop a solid social media plan and a strategy for communicating with your customers. Your existing customers are your foundation right now as well as your greatest potential evangelists. Stay connected with them and encourage referrals through incentive programs. If you have not seen some former regulars since COVID, now is a good time to launch win-back campaigns.

Consider a focus on add-ons and upsells as you move your marketing forward. These things add revenue on top of revenue, which is gold in these times.

Analyzing data collected by your software is an integral part of developing a good marketing strategy. Get to know your customer base and you’ll better understand how to connect with them.

Don’t treat marketing as an afterthought, but as part of a solid business strategy.

A revamped, simple menu
Now is a good time to go over your menu and think about a redesign, particularly if it’s a long, complex book of offerings. Do away with less popular items and add in some touchless options. A simple menu can help you improve business operations, streamline staffing, and organize inventory – all of which will make life easier going forward.

Kathryn Moore, Founder and Managing Director at Spa Connectors, told Spa Executive in 2020, “A well-designed and structured spa service menu can provide the essential flexibility to book services that maximize the spa’s bottom-line. For each treatment, understanding the range of labor costs and profit margin is critical.”

Look at your pricing. If you are incurring increased costs from added cleaning and sanitation measures, or other new expenses, consider increasing the cost of your services. This can be offset by adding small gifts or perks that add to the perceived value but don’t increase your own costs by much.

A solid retail strategy
For too long retail was treated as an afterthought in the spa space. Traditionally, retail makes up only 5% to 6% of the average spa’s revenue, which makes little sense, considering how well-positioned spa staff is to make retail recommendations and the quality of the products spas have to offer. A good retail strategy can work wonders to shore up revenue.

There are many ways to get creative with retail but it begins with an inventory audit, a deep dive into your customer data (again, collected by your software system), and an understanding that retail takes real effort. It’s an art and even a science.

Kenneth Ryan, Vice President of Global Wellness, Spa, and Fitness Operations for Marriott International, told Spa Executive in March 2021, “I’ve learned that retail is very much a science. The more I work with the experts, the more I realize how much expertise there is in it. There’s a behavior in how people shop. There’s a reason why Sephora is successful. There is a science to everything they do, there’s a science to the way the store is lit, to the planogram and how it’s laid out, to the way they allow people to test and play with the product. When you work with retail experts, you see it, and we, as an industry, are not necessarily doing that.”

Diversified revenue streams
As many spas discovered during the COVID-19 shutdowns, having only one or two revenue streams puts your business in a dangerous situation. If you lose one or both of them, you lose everything. When people were not visiting spas, revenue dried up.

Diversifying your revenue streams can help safeguard against disaster. And that is what many spas started doing during the 2020 pandemic year. Through creativity and innovation, spa leaders and their teams came up with innovative and brilliant ideas to create new streams and better position themselves to weather a storm. This also means increased revenue in good times. Going forward, businesses with diverse revenue streams will be better off and more successful, in good times and bad.

Find ideas on how to diversify your revenue streams here.

See Book4Time in action and learn how your spa software will help you thrive in 2021. https://book4time.com/#call-to-action

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