Tips to increase room occupancy and therapist utilisation
Sharon Barcock shares some creative ideas to boost your treatment room and therapist utilisation rates
Research suggests that on a global basis, both treatment room and therapist utilisation have been on a gradual decline year-on-year.
Statistics show that the average treatment room utilisation sits between 18–25%, with the average therapist utilisation sitting at 50% and below. With the average resort spa having 19 treatment rooms, and the average urban spa having seven, operators not only face the challenge of providing a unique guest experience, but also of improving the utilisation of inventory.
The main challenges facing spas is price sensitivity, growing competition, and the impact of changing trends. However, if we flip this 360, these factors could also be our benefactors.
What is apparent is that newly opened or opening spas and wellness facilities in general attract more new business than existing operations due to the newness of the facility and offering. This reflects our guest’s desire for evolving concepts, treatments and services. Contemporary customers are seeking a more diverse offering from the facilities they visit, with the desired outcome of improved wellbeing.
As guests seek to find a balance in their lives, a way to disconnect from the everyday and an alternative to medical care, spas are presented with new opportunities to provide revitalised guest experiences, try alternative uses for spaces, and create a connection between the spa and fitness facilities to drive improved revenue and improved utilisation, as well as guest and team member satisfaction.
Spa design typically follows a standard layout approach, and this invariably results in under-utilised spaces. As the purpose of spas is gradually shifting, the design needs to follow the same. You do not have to be a destination spa or wellness centre to start incorporating wellness and wellbeing elements into your facilities and services.
A treatment room is a fixed asset whether we use it or not, but typically we do not have sufficient team members or business to occupy it. This is a space that could drive additional revenue. One option is to consider what you could use the room for, especially if you are limited for space in other areas of the spa and fitness facility.
One use for empty treatment rooms is to incorporate a wellbeing element, especially in locations where there is no fitness studio or external space available. By moving the loose furniture and leaving the room space free, you could implement a personalised one-to-one yoga or meditation session, or fitness focused PT sessions such as core strength or stretching, connecting the fitness and spa spaces and cross promoting the services. The treatment room already provides a suitable ambience and only requires the addition of small elements such as essence and candles.
Another space that is under used is very often the relaxation lounges. Sleep deprivation is a modern-day complaint, and spas can assist by providing short bursts of deep sleep by enhancing the relaxation space, turning it into a truly quiet sleep zone by creating a dark room concept – removing distractors and introducing aromatherapy, eye masks, sleep sounds that encourage guests to continue their relaxation time post-treatment, or even visit the spa for a power nap. Taking this further, we can consider the possibility to section the relaxation lounge into private sleep rooms, or incorporate sleep pods into empty spaces.
From a hotel room perspective, travellers are embracing wellness in every aspect of their lives, and Hilton has introduced a new in-room concept to bring wellness into the guest room. Five Feet To Fitness has been launched as a global concept – a unique system providing a range of fitness equipment and digital content that provides a unique solution to time poor travellers, and also to satisfy restrictions such as gender segregation in some countries. This crossover between the room space and fitness space also allows us to encourage our guests to try spa and wellness services to support the fitness component of their stay.
In other cases, we are able to compliment the gym offering by converting guest rooms into the five feet to fitness rooms. This answers the problem of limited space gyms or single gender gyms. We’re looking to now implement a similar system into the gym space as a way of providing interactive fitness solutions to guests, as we see more virtual reality-based fitness solutions, particularly where we do not have the team members available.
A renowned speaker and industry expert, Sharon Barcock is director of spa and fitness operations and development, MEA, at Hilton. She has extensive experience in financial services, fitness and spa operationsin both the UK and Middle East, where she has lived for more than 14 years.
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