Expert View: Raising your game

Sunny Sahota, marketing and communications director for spa and beauty-focused La Belle Marketing, on how to take the customer experience to the next level

Today, the spa industry is more competitive than ever, which means there is even more pressure than in the past to create an exceptional spa experience in order to attract and retain a loyal customer base.

Both in my current role as marketing and PR director for La Belle Marketing and in my previous position as marketing and communications manager for a London-based beauty and spa bookings platform, I have seen the extent to which spas are now taking their offering to a whole new level in a bid to stand out and grab the attention of the busy consumer.

This can include elements such as introducing marble floors heated to optimum temperatures or offering stylish and unusual décor that gives guests a flavour of international shores  without having to board a plane. 

The exterior and the physical environment is of course important to consumers; the design, the beautiful spa pools, and so on.

However, if you’re searching for the key to what elevates a spa experience from average to superior, you need to look a little deeper.

Firstly, remember that knowledge is power and that clients today are looking for spas to offer expert advice and recommendations.

A great way to ensure your staff really possess that knowledge is to ensure they try out all the different treatments you offer, because the best way to sell any service is to experience it yourself.

All about the team
Offering your staff additional training and creating team bonding opportunities will also, in the long run, contribute to providing customers with an exceptional experience, as it will help keep your team happy and motivated.

That content staff is an essential component in building a successful, profitable business is true of any sector. However, it is perhaps more applicable in the spa sector than in most, as customers are not all only looking for high-quality facilities and treatments but also a tranquil and pleasant environment to spend relaxing, stress-free time in.

If there is discord within your team it’s probable that customers will pick up on that and that they’ll feel less comfortable in your spa as a result. A happy team and working environment is, on the other hand, likely to have the opposite effect.

An example of this that I have personally come across is Keats Medispa in the Hampstead area of London. This business hosts regular team bonding evenings and events to develop a harmonious workplace culture where the team is made to feel part of a wider family – which helps create a great guest experience. 

Implementing these types of measures for the staff encourages them to stay with the company for longer, and that’s important from a business point of view. Familiarity and seeing faces that you recognise and feel comfortable with matters to regular clients. It improves their spa experience and increases the chance that they will keep coming back.

Listen and learn
Like in our everyday life, music is also en essential component of the spa experience.

It’s part of the subliminal messaging you send your guests, encouraging them to unwind and relax in your facilities.

An excellent example of a business that is using the power of music to full effect is Sanook Spa, located in the Courthouse Hotel in Soho, central London.

In this spa, the Asia-inspired décor is beautifully complimented by sitar-based melodies that really help guests disconnect.

Gathering feedback from your clients and acting on that information is also integral when it comes to creating an exceptional customer experience.

Customer comments and feedback can help highlight areas that need improvement and drive change that could really impact on overall customer satisfaction levels in a positive way. It’s a barometer of your strengths and weaknesses, letting you know what spa-goers like about your business, and where you’re falling short.

In an ever-evolving spa landscape, it’s easy to get carried away with the latest technologies and treatments and the way in which they can help create an exceptional spa experience.

However, evidence and experience shows that it’s often the simple things that makes the most difference when it comes to clients choosing which spa is right for them. As in any sector, it’s essential to get the basics right first. 

Sunny Sahota is PR and marketing director for La Belle Marketing, which specialises in marketing, events organisation and PR for the beauty and spa sectors.

Previous roles include marketing and communications manager for a beauty and spa bookings platform in London, and marketing manager within Formula 1.