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Today, the spa industry is facing a very peculiar conundrum: traditional treatments mostly depend on high-touch interaction, but social distancing makes our staff's work and our guests’ experience quite challenging, when not impossible, if not supported by the right technology. Understanding how to face this puzzling situation is essential to remain profitable during the COVID-19 pandemic so, here at Concept, we selected five ideas to navigate these turbulent waters.
Technology can and should be used to ensure proper measures of social distancing and hygienic protocols, to guarantee the safety of SPA members and staff, and restore that bond of trust that’s essential in our industry. We recommend the use of mobile apps to handle reservations, staff schedules, and guest profiles anywhere within the facility without the need to share the same computer, mouse, and keyboard.
According to WebMD, coronavirus can survive on surfaces for up to five days, so touchless technology drastically reduces the risk of spreading the disease. Thanks to these apps, moreover, SPA managers can check-in and check-out guests faster, ensuring that they are continuously flowing through the facility and not congregating in a waiting area where social distancing may be difficult to practice.
Spas can adapt to the current situation by expanding their offers, introducing hi-tech, low-touch services that involve almost no human contact, such as isolation tanks and cryotherapy machines. This touchless trend started in the wellness industry way before the pandemic, and facilities that already invested in the technology now have a huge advantage over their competitors.
Vibrational, electromagnetic and sound therapy are perfect examples of treatments that require little to no human interaction, together with whole-body red light therapy photobiomodulation (or PBM) or the less fancy, yet effective, vibration exercise machines to improve one’s lymphatic health.
Optimizing practitioners’ time is also critical, as avoiding down periods between treatments means more profit and better staff management. Yield management software and online booking engines are, therefore, essential allies. Incremental and ancillary revenue, moreover, can be achieved by the use of specific technologies, such as apps allowing spas to upsell while still respecting social distancing.
Thanks to these technologies, in fact, therapists can sell treatment enhancements (or even schedule future ones) to customers while still in the treatment room, keeping them out of common areas and, by doing so, avoiding unnecessary human contact. These applications also remove the need for guests to use commonly touched items like pens, pencils, and clipboards, as they can be used to fill out intake forms.
According to the UK SPA association, when asked survey respondents “What actions should spas be considering in light of COVID-19?” the top answer was “implementing contactless payment.” Another research by Pymnts showed that “40 percent of consumers who prefer to pay with digital wallets would not purchase from merchants that do not allow customers to pay with them while 34 percent of those who prefer paying with QR codes would not pay using any other method.”
So, in the facilities, implementing touchless forms of payment is crucial not only for safety reasons but to boost on-site sales as well. Choose booking and payment partners that facilitate prepayment (including tipping) so that guests are checked out faster and do not have to touch a payment device at the end of their treatments.
Retail, of course, is another way to maintain profitability and cash flow, and technology can help SPAs setting up their own e-shops to sell products online when revenue from facilities is down. Maison and Hotel Sibuet is a perfect example of this trend, as it recently launched its own e-commerce shop on Shopify.
Finally, in a smart-working world, there's definitely some space for some “smart-wellness” as well. The business of Zoom online appointments with therapists and practitioners is booming, and spas can take advantage of this peculiar "DIY" wellness trend by setting up video sessions with their therapists.
Now, more than ever, adopting the right technologies is crucial for the success of spas. If the “new normal” has taught us something is that we cannot keep managing our facilities with pen, paper, and Excel sheets, and we may actually need all that “fancy” technology, after all. Our suggestion is to partner with the right providers, that can assist you, your staff, and your clients, having the best possible experience. At Concept, we developed a full array of products to manage every aspect of your spa operation and help you adapt to the new, unique needs of your customers.
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