Catskill Charmer

Serving as a tranquil oasis in the heart of New York’s Hudson Valley, The Emerson Spa at Emerson Resort and Spa (Mount Tremper, NY) provides the perfect getaway for those looking to escape New York City. Located just outside of Manhattan, the resort provides easy access to the legendary Catskill Mountains. Although a fire destroyed the original inn in 2005, the property got a new lease on life not long after with new accommodations, an expanded meeting and conference space, and a new spa facility inspired by the valley’s surrounding Buddhist monasteries and spiritual centers. Opened in early 2007, the 10-treatment-room spa faced an uphill battle as the economy began to falter the following year. Fortunately, a winning location and a talented staff, which now includes 30 employees, have made the spa a popular option among guests and locals alike. In addition to getting back to nature, they can also experience a taste of the exotic with a variety of popular Ayurvedic rituals. Thanks to the unique menu and more, the spa has experienced a 12 percent increase in revenue in the last three years. Here, spa manager Lori Fulford shares her thoughts on what makes the spa such an enticing retreat.


How has Emerson Spa continued to succeed over the years?

A. The Emerson’s success is due to our therapists meeting and exceeding customer expectations. Our therapists are concerned about resolving the specific issues of each client. For example, when clients come in with a muscular imbalance caused by their daily work environment, our therapists make sure they walk away with the feeling of being healed. Because most of our therapists have years of experience, they understand the importance of connecting with clients and facilitating a proper treatment program.


What does the spa do to stand out from the competition?

A. Besides having very talented therapists on staff, our reservations department is extremely knowledgeable about our spa menu. Our reservations staff helps to create the best possible experience for each guest based on their individual needs.


How do you attract new and repeat clients and encourage them to visit?

A. Our guest loyalty program and our ability to exceed guest expectations is the cornerstone of our repeat business. A strong percentage of our new business is predicated on word-of-mouth referrals.


How do you use digital marketing and social media to boost business?

A. Every month, we advertise our spa special via digital marketing on local websites and through email blasts. We also conduct an aggressive campaign involving giveaways and contests using social media to increase business. Most recently, we ran a Facebook giveaway for our Peppermint Scalp Massage. The special included a 25-minute Peppermint Scalp Massage for $25 with the purchase of a 50-minute treatment. It reached 45,600 people through Facebook, and as a result, we sold more than 100 treatments.


How do you keep the menu fresh and relevant?

A. As the seasons change, the menu evolves to reflect the feel of the changing year. In the past, we have sold a seasonal spa treatment, such as the Peppermint Scalp Massage. Our most popular promotion is our buy one, get one special, which changes according to the treatment we’re looking to promote.


What plans do you have for the future?

A. We would like to expand our hours and will be incorporating our wellness program and fitness classes into our spa regimen.


What have you learned from surviving the recent recession?

A. The recession dramatically changed how people planned vacations. Limited time and consumer discretionary dollars played nicely into our market plan, as they created the need for staycations and vacations close to home. The Emerson Resort and Spa is located two hours from New York City, which positioned us to take full advantage of these new travel requirements. Moving forward in a better economy, we believe that consumers will still travel in the same manner. Creating new and fresh marketing strategies that take into consideration New Yorkers’ busy schedules and their concern for value will guide us into the future.