Should mobile phones be banned in spas?
While on a recent commute into London I was fully engrossed reading the news on my phone, a ritual I do every morning. It wasn’t until I looked up to scan the train carriage that I realised that 99% of my fellow passengers were transfixed by their phones too.
This situation got me thinking about the age-old question of whether smartphones should be allowed in spas. The more traditional view is that it can be distracting for guests, especially those who want a digital detox, while others believe that the technology, used in the right way, can help raise a spa’s profile.
I believe that spas need to embrace the smartphone movement and quickly. Yes, there’s a stigma associated with mobile phone use within spas, and rightly so in some scenarios because you don’t want clients having loud calls in relaxation rooms or distracting others with their screens in sleep rooms. However, this stigma exists because the right etiquette hasn’t been set out and the rule isn’t the same in spas across the UK.
Let me give you an example. On a recent spa trip I saw an Instagram board in the facility promoting selfies and group shots, but this was located only five yards from another sign prohibiting phone use. It was confusing to say the least and this is why clients don’t know what’s acceptable and what’s not.
Most spas are using social media to market their products and facilities and I have yet to come across a business not trying to sell a package or treatment through it. Plus, with more spas using influencers to promote their business, these social media aficionados need to be able to share pictures of their stay on social media, which will be seen by, potentially, thousands of followers.
Spa-goers largely want to share their experience in real time by checking in or creating stories to show off their luxury surroundings. We need to embrace this culture, encouraging clients to take pictures of their visit but making sure that they tag your spa’s handle and use the relevant hashtags you’ve created.
But you also need to educate guests on smartphone usage around your facility, especially in terms of respecting other guests, for this to work. Spas need to be creative around their delivery of such rules and guests welcome with reception check-in is pivotal in delivering this. Also, using a pre-arrival call or email outlining usage can work well.
If achieved, smart “non-corporate” style signage backs up an already delivered message, but all the aforementioned requires support from regular interaction with clients by spa hosts, as well as carefully monitoring the facilities and relax areas.
So, why not ditch the stigma and help guests create Instagramable moments which will help enhance your client’s stay and boost your spa’s reputation.
Phil Murphy is director of leisure and spa at Hoar Cross Hall in Staffordshire, which can open 35 treatment rooms on any one day. He looks after a team of 50 therapists.