Spa travel is at an all-time popularity mark with travelers and for good reason. Spa travel can be an extension of one’s personal journey of expression and personal growth. Spa travel can allow travelers to take off that extra weight, embrace lifestyle changes and re-group from demanding professional schedules. Spa excursions can culturally add to one’s journey of regional immersion and learning. Even when added for one day addition to a ten day vacation, the spa experience is a rich diversion or inclusion to any travel itinerary. Finally, the typical corporate conference or team building trip can be more fruitful, pleasant and enjoyable when sprinkled with the spa.
Just what are travelers looking for in spa experiences? How can a specialty travel agent not only win the sale but create a wealth of happy clients and referrals from booking spa travel? The Spa Association (SPAA) has been polling and interviewing spa travelers to find out just what they want.
Corporate or consumer one of the core needs of the spa-goer is value. They would like effective treatments performed by therapists that are experienced, understanding, client-focused and adaptable to their individual needs and preferences. Value far outweighs visiting a spa facility that is “big and pretty.”
By the very nature of the spa visit spa-goers can be uneasy about receiving treatments at a new spa in a different region of the world. Spa visits are intimate like few other recreational or wellness activities. The spa-goer is required to don a robe and spend time with a therapist whom they have never met. Educating the client on the mores and norms of the region to be visited is paramount. Further, explaining the treatments and why they are indigenous to the country or region is essential in creating comfort for the spa-goer.
The one size fits all option for spa travel is not ideal. Rather, when creating a spa experience look for off the beaten track spa facilities that do one or two therapies particularly well. Visiting a spa that resembles 80% of other spas in the world will be an instant let down to the client. Supplying a brief intake form to the client to cover expectations and health/medical conditions will assist the spa in prescribing complimentary treatments to each individual’s life management goals.
Try to work with spas that understand the corporate dynamic when booking groups. Team building is often a priority among corporate groups and the dynamics of the program for the group should be worked in to the activities and therapies enjoyed at the spa. Designing travel around pertinent conferences will ensure that the group travel is productive on multiple levels.
Like it or not pricing is a major factor in spa booking as a part of travel. Unlike visiting a day spa, the spa traveler is making choices about a facility that they can’t personally visit prior to services. Consequently in choosing spa packages the spa-goer is often viewing options on the basis of price alone. Offer low, medium and high monetary options and then explain to the spa-goer why the treatments are effective and best enjoyed as a package. The more the spa traveler understands what services they will be enjoying the more they will be willing to invest in that experience.
Spa and wellness travel is growing exponentially and is a wonderful offering in a stand-alone travel program that features several days of spa experiences or as an addition to a conference or vacation. Partnering with spas that consistently deliver excellent service and pricing will set your specialty travel agency apart from the competition.