23 Sep 2021 World leisure: news, training & property
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Spa Business
2017 issue 1

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Leisure Management - Targeted marketing

Spa software

Targeted marketing

Kate Parker looks at how the latest software marketing tools are transforming the way spas do business

Kate Parker
As technology has progressed, luxury travellers have come to expect a level of personalisation in their lives shutterstock
Today’s technology means that tablets can be used for consultations instead of paper-and-pencil forms
TAC’s software allows users to book from a spa’s Facebook page
The Sparkle Bar’s Leiah Scheibel (left) and Angela Bradberry use Frederick to reach clients

Technology is revolutionising the spa industry, creating new user experiences and ways of doing business, but perhaps nowhere is this more relevant than in marketing, where next-generation tools offer complete automation, targeted communications and detailed tracking.

Taking aim: targeted marketing
Spa software makes it much easier to deliver targeted marketing campaigns. By analysing customer data and learning the trends, operators can easily define their markets, understand guests’ spending habits and patterns, and direct their communications accordingly.

Software company Booker joined forces with marketing automation platform Frederick last year, adding features for customer feedback, online reviews and referrals for spas – and boosting clients’ targeted marketing in the process.

“Frederick levels the playing field for spas by automatically designing and executing the marketing strategies typically implemented by large brands, but without the large investment of time and money,” says Corey Kossack, Frederick’s CEO. “This enables spas to bring back customers more frequently, maximise efficiency and grow their revenues.”

Leiah Scheibel, co-founder of The Sparkle Bar in Arizona, US, says she and her business partner, Angela Bradberry, had been looking for a convenient way to reach out to customers for feedback on visits, and to promote special offers. “We use Frederick to rescue lost clients and to fill slow days,” explains Scheibel. “We have seen success in reaching a large number of clients in a short amount of time.” Scheibel says she’s also seen an increase in referral business through the software.

Such targeted, automated marketing software allows the right message to get to the right people, leading to increased personalisation. Offering attractive, direct incentives also increases the feeling of rapport and close contact a customer has with their spa of choice.

Sociable media
Spas can also take an even more direct, personal approach by using social media – often where busy customers are looking to connect. Software company The Assistant Company (TAC) has a Facebook app that allows users to book and purchase directly from a spa’s Facebook page.

“Your spa software should be able to handle different online bookings, automatically transfer them into the software and avoid double-bookings,” explains Guenther Poellabauer, managing director of The Assistant Company.

ResortSuite Social integrates a real-time web booking engine directly with a spa’s Facebook fan page – a useful tool for capturing customers where they spend time, and for expanding their fan base. “The ability to book services, treatments and classes directly through social media, and share it to a personal page, creates a word-of-mouth marketing initiative driven by the guests themselves – your best references,” says Frank Pitsikalis, founder and CEO of ResortSuite.

Software also helps build a positive reputation through reviews and ratings – most of which are on social media and third-party review sites. Put simply: “Online is how and where people discover your business,” says Saritha Katikaneni, vice president of marketing and co-founder of spa software company Zenoti.

Data goldmine
The features of a spa software solution should support marketing activities at little extra cost, but with great impact. These marketing tools provide spa operators with years of customer data and information, which can be captured in a central database. “Basically, it’s a goldmine of all of the data that spa operators need to be able to market effectively and target guests,” explains Amanda Wisell, marketing manager for SpaSoft. Once captured, guest information and customer demographics can be drilled down to reveal increased detail, and guests can be targeted by attributes such as demographics, purchase history, spending history, or top return guests.

Gaylen Brown, spa director at the Mandarin Oriental in New York, says that she’s used SpaSoft’s tools to generate a history of each guest and gain a better understanding of their preferences – including details like their preferred therapist or treatment room, or even if they enjoy listening to classical music during their spa experience.

“We can also reference their history to make educated recommendations in terms of treatments, skincare regimens or diet or nutrition,” says Brown. “Essentially, technology aids us in learning about our guests, and provides us with the opportunity to personalise each experience for them.”

ResortSuite’s software enables operators to access guest information across the entire resort, including things like how long they stay at the hotel or how much they spend at the restaurant – and how often they use the spa.

St. Anne’s spa in Ontario, Canada, uses ResortSuite to manage its accommodations, facilities, customer relationships and activities, and owner Jim Corcoran says using the system has meant an improved customer experience. “Having all the information regarding their stay – at our fingertips – allows us to respond quickly and appropriately to our customer’s needs,” explains Corcoran.

Automating Communications
For most spas, the days of pencil and paper bookings are long-gone, and traditional print marketing campaigns now take a back seat to software solutions offering comprehensive marketing tools that automate the whole process.

Mark van Santvoort, general manager of IT at Hamilton Island in Australia, says his company moved from pencil-and-paper bookings to using SpaSoft, part of Springer-Miller Systems, about a year ago.

“Technology has become a big part of our business,” says van Santvoort. “iPads were also brought in instead of paper consultation forms, decreasing time and effort. We used to write all the guests’ details in manually, and now SpaSoft automatically saves them in the system for future records.”

The ability to have automated email and text communications with customers has also had a profound impact on customer relations, changing the way spas interact with their guests after they visit.

“Current software affords the ability to nurture relationships with existing customers, promote ongoing conversations and connections with customers – and therefore fuel a larger imprint on lifestyle,” explains Katikaneni.

In the cloud
For spas that use cloud-based software, managers don’t even need to be on-site to access information. One of the greatest impacts of this technology upon operators and customers alike is the freedom and flexibility it offers. Operators are able to access their spa application through the Internet instead of running software downloaded on a physical computer – giving them an instant overview of their business anytime, anywhere.

“Cloud-based software is the new norm,” explains Roger Sholanki, CEO of software company book4time. “If you’re not on-property and need to quickly run a report for multiple locations or send an email directly from the system, you have visibility of the entire operation.”

Online booking
Pitsikalis says that consumers expect personalisation in every area of their lives. “The spa consumer of today expects to be able to go online or on their mobile device anytime, day or night, and book a treatment, service, class, or personal training session in real-time, without having to pick up the phone and call the spa,” he says. “And your guest will actually feel better-served having this option.”

Kate Parker is a regular contributor to Spa Business.
email: kateparker@spabusiness.com

Originally published in Spa Business 2017 issue 1

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