Spas are known as a refuge for hands-on, personal service, and a haven from the constant connection of today’s technology, but spas are discovering that they too have a need for high-tech. From offering the latest modern treatments to connecting with guests on social media, technology is a part of almost every aspect of the spa experience. These hospitality and spa professionals discuss the new technologies that spas are incorporating into their treatment offerings and how traditions continue to have a place in a high-tech world.
Many spas are still trying to keep their focus on traditional services and techniques that rely on human touch. “I have had treatments with the most modern technology that did not have as much of an effect on me as some basic treatments in a hut overlooking a rice paddy in Bali,” says Christopher Clark, general manager for The Ritz-Carlton, Osaka.
Other spas look to balance the hands-on treatments focused on healing and rejuvenating with newer technologies that can provide immediate, youth generating results. Guests are also attracted to new and cutting-edge treatments, which in turn, drive interest in spa treatment technology. “In this ever-changing industry, it’s great to be able to offer your guests the latest treatments at the same time staying true to what spa was originally about, which is hands-on touch for healing and rejuvenating,” says Helen Bryan, spa manager at La Serena Spa at The Reefs Resort & Club (Southampton, Bermuda).
Spas are also continually focusing on staying on top of trends, whether they are the newest high-tech approach or driven by wellness and health aspects. By constantly updating the spa menu, training your staff, and educating clients about new technologies, these techniques will help drive guests into the spa. “A holistic approach won’t just mean adding yoga, meditation, or nutrition to massage, it will mean adding high-tech beauty to the spa menus,” says Lenka Rogerova, director of communications at the Mandarin Oriental Prague.
Many spas today also politely request that spa guests unplug and leave mobile phones and other electronics in the locker room. However, these technologies are also finding a home in the administration of the spa through mobile check-in, as well as electronic wellness forms, which guests can complete on a tablet. Using spa technology also helps staff to be more efficient and focus less on management tasks and more on delivering personalized guest service. “We brought in iPads instead of paper consultation forms,” says Mark van Santvoort, IT general manager at Hamilton Island Entreprises. “This decreased the time that we used to manually write all the guest’s details and automatically saves them in the system for future visits.”
Guests also have certain expectations with regards to technology. They’re influenced and inspired by social media. They also want and need to be able to book spa reservations online anytime and anywhere. “We don’t have enough time in the day to be proactive enough to book things, so we, as spas, need to make ourselves more readily available to book services online to get firm commitments out of our customers to come in for services,” says Sarah T. Carroll, assistant general manager at Cooper Fitness Center and Cooper Spa (Dallas, TX).
Many guests never see the management technology that runs behind the scenes, but they experience the effects at every step of their spa visit. From booking to scheduling to service delivery, the spa technology provides the backbone, which supports all operations. “Technology aids us in learning about our guests and provides us with the opportunity to personalize each experience for them,” says Gaylen Brown, spa director at The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, New York.
As technology encompasses more and more of our everyday experience, spas will continue to offer a space to disconnect from technology and the ability to connect to deeper, human experiences. However, spas must embrace some forms of technology in order to provide modern, results-driven treatments. Technology also bridges the gap between consumers and the spa, and provides a direct way to book appointments or complete wellness forms, which allows for the creation of a seamless and relaxing guest experience.
Research compiled by Springer-Miller