The Savvy Spa Boss

Is your spa located in a resort or hotel? Are you struggling to lure guests away from their busy travel itineraries? Were you expecting to depend on hotel marketing to get the job done on its own? Were you thinking that the hotel clients would just show up at your door with wallets open?

Okay… I did too!

You may or may not know that my very first foray into spa ownership took place on the premises of a lovely restored old mill turned boutique hotel. And while it sounds like an ideal location to target style, beauty, and wellness conscious consumers, I was quite shocked to find that guests and clients simply weren’t booking in as often as I anticipated. Which was a hard pill to swallow considering it was the reason WHY we chose that location to begin with!

Nothing like a good reality check and as we all know so well… the spa industry isn’t short on those!

Luckily, I was gifted with a steady stream of local clients who became our bread and butter, but what happens when your spa doesn’t have the same access to loyal and local clients?

If your resort spa is struggling to entice busy travelers then creativity — and a few old-school tactics — are the keys to capitalizing on a goldmine of revenue! When it comes to busy, overrun travelers looking to sit back and relax, it’s time to put yourself in their globetrotting shoes by making it as easy as possible to discover, book and fit your services into their well-earned vacations.

Start implementing these 14 digital and traditional resort spa marketing tips today to draw in new customers — ASAP!

14 tips to shake up your resort spa marketing strategy

1. Re-evaluate your signage and on site awareness

Is your presence within the resort as visible as it can be? If you’re unsure about the answer, simply put yourself in the shoes of your tired guests and follow the most popular traffic routes on the premises. The truth is, if you’re having trouble bringing resort guests into your spa, chances are you’re 8”x10” sign at the elevator simply isn’t cutting it!

2. Train staff on time of service up-selling

Is your staff expertly trained in the art of retailing and up-selling? When foot traffic is low, it’s time to maximize revenue with each and every client that steps foot inside your spa. While some clients may be put off by the tactic when performed without the right touch, there’s no denying that retailing and up-selling at the time of service can generate considerable revenue over time. If you train your staff to serve as trusted beauty advisors, service or product recommendations are bound to spring up naturally. Remember, a little training goes a long way!

3. Introduce spa services into room packages

This may seem like a no-brainer, but I’ve often booked and checked into a hotel without a single mention of the site’s spa offerings! It is vital that you take the time to plan a resort spa marketing strategy that brings visibility to your venue when potential clients are already prepared to make a purchase. With certain spa packages reaching into the hundreds of dollars, clients are less likely to make a second substantial purchase on a vacation that is already burning a hole through their pockets.

4. Turn resort staff into social media ambassadors

Who better than loyal resort staff members to spread the word on your behalf? Don’t be afraid to collaborate with your resort’s marketing team to create an employee social media advocacy program that benefits all three partners at once: staff members, hotel management and yourself, the spa owner, manager or director.

By offering discounts on lunch-break pedicures and off-peak time services, for example, in exchange for spa mentions online, you’re not only giving back to familiar faces, but you’re also spreading the word locally as well. Make the most of the collaboration by sharing this valuable user-generated content across your own social media channels. It’s the ultimate win-win!

5. Invest in influencer marketing

You’ve definitely heard of it, and when it comes to resort spa marketing strategies, this one applies most for you. Reach out to micro-influencers to get the word out about your salon by offering free or discounted services in exchange for content and social mentions.

Avoid the pitfalls of influencer marketing by conducting in-depth research about an influencer’s followers, outlining expectations, and planning out their visit well before they arrive.

6. Create tailored spa packages for travelers

As with all spa packages, it’s essential to craft them according to your customer’s needs, but when it comes to potential resort spa clients, it’s essential to offer packages that fit seamlessly into their daily routines. Don’t be afraid to capitalize on local attractions or events by creating pre- or post-visit services linked directly to the tourist hot spot.

7. Don’t be afraid to ask for reviews

Companies that keep their online reputation glowing reap the rewards in their revenue stream! Kindly reminding customers to leave a review online or making it easy through a link included in an emailed receipt can dramatically boost your online reputation. Favourite review websites include Facebook, TripAdvisor, Yelp and Google My Business.

If you’re skeptical about reaching out to customers for their (glowing) comments, here are a few statistics that might push you to start today:

8. Reach out to travelers on social media

If your resort is an Instagram-worthy site, it’s likely that you’ll find a slew of potential customers sharing snapshots of their travels with their friends on social media. This is the perfect opportunity for you to reach out to your target customers in a personal and modern way. Be proactive by liking their posts, following them, notifying them of current deals or discounts or offering local travel tips via comment or direct messages.

9. Take advantage of resort advertising channels

Does your resort have a large blog, social media or e-newsletter following? Why not connect with a plethora of potential customers by creating content for these channels? A few clever ideas to try out include guest posting, Instagram takeovers, advertising or simply offering up pre-existing content of your own. The key to success here is to make your cross-collaboration as targeted to the channel’s audience as possible.

10. Incentivize clients to pre-book

Are you giving your clients a reason to pre-book services at your resort spa? Bring increased reliability to your bookings by offering the best deal possible when booking ahead of time.

11. Collect client information and introduce referral discounts

Turn occasional clients into loyal and recurring ones by collecting their contact information and keeping the lines of communication open between each other. Whether you do it through email, text notifications or traditional forms of marketing, it’s always easier to market to an existing client base than capturing new a one.

12. Offer complimentary mini-treatments on premises

On a beach or by a pool? Enlist your staff to offer complimentary mini-treatments such as neck, shoulder, hand or foot massages by the pool. And don’t be afraid to sweeten the deal by offering up a coupon with a 3-7 day expiry, enticing them to enjoy the full spa treatment as soon as possible.


13. Tap into the M.I.C.E. market

Does your resort regularly welcome visitors who are in town for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions — otherwise known as the M.I.C.E. market? While this method admittedly does involve planning months ahead of time, it is likely to pay off tremendously if you play your cards just right! According to Allied Market Research, the global M.I.C.E. market is valued at $752 billion globally in 2016, and is projected to reach $1,245 billion in 2023.

Reaching out to large groups of exhausted professionals by offering custom packages is an effective way to bring in large groups and fill your schedule weeks in advance.

14. Don’t forget about the locals

We’ve focused on attracting the travel clients but it’s always important to remember your neighbouring clientele. If you’re located in or near a busy metropolitan area, your local, and likely stressed, customers need some TLC too. Customizing your marketing strategies will help you most! What works to entice travelers, won’t work with locals, so it’s important to develop a dedicated strategy to keep your local clients returning to you regularly.

Get started!

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by these 14 resort spa marketing strategies, it’s always best to start by making an actionable plan. I highly suggest taking advantage of #SpaBoss University where you can access ALL of the resources you need to take your biz to the next level for only $49.95/month! 

When it comes to marketing to potential resort spa clients it’s important to maximize the limited time they have while passing through your venue.

And as always, the best marketing toolkit around won’t return the highest return on investment if you haven’t laid a high-quality foundation of value and customer service from the get-go.

But above all else, remember to be SO good that travelers won’t be able to wait for their next visit — whether it’s in a year, a month or even next week!

About the Author: Susan O'Sullivan

Susan is a spa owner and a self proclaimed serial entrepreneur. She chases dreams full time and aims to empower the people around her to do the same. She has been through all of the highs and lows that this crazy spa industry has to offer and it is her mission to smooth the path for other spa owners and pro’s on a similar  journey.

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