How Spas are Using Technology to Elevate Guest Service

How Technology and the Generational Shift Affect Guest Service at Luxury Spas

There is both an art and a science to providing guest service, particularly for hotel and resort spas where guests have high expectations. While remaining focused on classic guest service, many spas are deploying technology to assist them in executing their high-touch service efforts. As the dominant generation shifts away from the Baby Boomers towards Millennials, embracing technology to support guest service is one way that spas can be relevant and welcoming.

“In a digital age where everything is instant and high touch is unexpected, we exceed expectations by providing a face to face and hands-on, classic and timeless approach to guest service,” commented Maureen Vipperman, Director of Spa Operations for Ocean Properties.

Spas need to build their operations upon a solid platform of guest service. Behind the scenes, their spa management system can help them to track guest history and preferences.  It is then up to the spa to execute and operationalize the data underpinning their performance.

At the Woodlands Spa at Nemacolin Woodlands in Western Pennsylvania, they’ve established guest service protocols and guidelines for all aspects of the guest experience. “We read our guests and follow their lead to provide the desired level of attention,” commented Miranda Hemming, Assistant Spa Director for Nemacolin Woodlands.

Apps and Guest-Facing Technology

Some spas are adopting guest-facing technology to improve the guest experience. Ocean Properties has developed an app through which guests can make service requests in real time. “Some guests use the app,” commented Maureen Vipperman from Ocean Properties. “However, some still prefer to talk to us face to face, which we love. We train to serve in a genuine and relational way.”

The Spas of Kalahari Resorts have found that guests appreciate their move to electronic intake forms. Guests of the Spa Kalahari have been very receptive to the tablets. For a few elderly guests that have been resistant or unfamiliar with the technology, Spa Kalahari walks them through the questions step-by-step.

“It’s been a great addition to our spa and lets our guests know that we’re taking things to the next level,” said Nikki Severson, Corporate Spa Director for Kalahari Resorts.

One of the most effective forms of guest-facing technology is online booking. This allows guests to make reservations at their convenience and with their own device. Online booking is particularly attractive to younger guests who are more comfortable using their computer to book than picking up a phone.

“Millennials expect technology to work easily, be accessible on their mobile device and work in a guest-facing mode,” commented Tracey Welsh, General Manager of Red Mountain.

Leveraging Staff Facing Applications to Increase Efficiency

At Nemacolin’s Woodlands Spa, staff utilize Skype for discreet messaging. Using this tool, the front desk can react to guest’s details such as robe size without the guest overhearing the specific instructions.

Those same electronic intake forms that make it easier for guests to complete their registration paperwork, also make it easier to share information with the therapists.

“The process flows better with SpaSoft Wellness Forms,” commented Nikki Severson, Corporate Spa Director for Kalahari Resorts. “Before, for guests with packages of multiple treatments, it was difficult to filter the paperwork to each provider. Now, all the providers can jump on the computer to check the personal information and away they go. It just makes things easier.”

While hotels and resorts present a complex operating environment for a spa, many spas are finding that technology helps them integrate all of their different offerings so that staff members can better serve their guests.

“We train our staff to utilize our PMS, SMS|Host, and our spa management system, SpaSoft, to offer one stop shopping and a seamless guest experience,” commented Tracey Welsh, General Manager of Red Mountain Resort.

Technology will continue to play an important role for resort and hotel spas. Utilizing core spa technology and peripheral applications, spa staff will be able to offer faster, more personalized service with fewer miss-steps. However, as much as tech can offer to spas, it will never replace classic, hands-on guest service.

Contact SpaSoft to learn more about using technology to improve guest service at your spa.