Seven Considerations When Choosing Spa Software

Spa software is available at price points that range from free to a significant investment. It can be tempting to go with the lowest cost solution, after all many of the descriptions of spa software are similar across all price points.  However, like most things in life, with spa software you get what you pay for.  When you invest in a high quality system it will be reflected in the ease of running your spa business.  Other systems might offer a lower price but, in return, provide a frustrating and limiting experience that takes more time, involves additional staff and requires more work-arounds.

Here are seven considerations when choosing spa management software:

Security – The safety of your guest’s data and credit card information should be top of mind for your entire organization; this is not just a problem for the IT department.  Properties that experience a data breach also experience negative publicity, something that is definitely not helpful for building your spa business!  Point-to-point encryption offers the strongest cardholder data protection available and ensures that you stay out of the negative headlines by avoiding a breach.  Less expensive systems invest less in providing protection for your guest cardholder data, offering only the most basic accommodation for credit card security.

Uptime – Your spa is open 7 days a week, from morning until late at night and is busiest on the weekends.  When you need assistance, it’s not always within the hours of 9am-5pm Eastern Standard Time.  With regional help centers providing support with live people by phone and email, you can feel reassured that your spa system is looking after you.  Other systems can’t afford to offer that kind of support.  You may be restricted to contacting support only by email or limited in the number of times you can request assistance each month.

Continuous Improvement – Innovation, investment, enhancements. With high-end spa software, improvements are ongoing and extensive.  Regular upgrades ensure that your spa system can keep up with new business trends and offer a continuously improving toolset to grow your business.  Other spa systems offer limited bug fixes or pay-to-play upgrades and can leave you behind your competition.

Visibility – There is a lot of pressure on the spa to perform.  Spa Directors need a complete set of accurate reports that they can rely upon to manage the business effectively.  When you choose a high-end spa system, it includes the full spectrum of reports, as well as business intelligence dashboards that make it easy to review results at a glance.  Pulling the same data from other software systems can be a time-consuming, frustrating struggle.

Customization – While many spas employ similar business practices, each spa is unique.  Your spa software should be flexible enough to accommodate the customization needed for your business without requiring uncomfortable work arounds.  The more full-featured the software, the easier it fits your spa.  With other systems you are limited in functionality, restrained on customization and unlikely to be able to develop missing features.

Specialization – There’s an almost unlimited number of appointment systems available on the internet. Every price point is represented, including free.  Each of these systems claims to offer functionality for spas.  The reality is that the software is mostly generic or developed for another type of business and constrained to fit the spa industry.  These systems don’t take into account the specific needs of resort and hotel spas.  With so many discrepancies between your spa business needs and the features that these systems offer, you’ll spend more time trying to figure out how to make the inexpensive software work for your spa than booking appointments and serving guests.

Nickels & Dimes – Watch the bottom line.  At first glance, inexpensive spa software can appear to be a great deal.  However, once you add the fees for upgraded support, email communications, online booking, full reporting and all the other items that you need to actually run your business – you’ll find the cost quickly approaches a high-end spa system without all the great features that make the high-end systems so useful.

These are simply some basic reasons that price should be one of your last considerations when choosing spa software.  At the end of the day, functionality and support provide a return on investment above and beyond the low-price offerings.