Spa Reception – Are They Making You or Breaking You? (Part One)

(Insparation Management)

4 Steps to Building a Successful Spa Reception Team


If you were at the IECSC show in Fort Lauderdale last year you might have attended the Spa Reception and Profit lecture I did.   One of our clients Natalie Spencer was among the many who attended.  (Make plans to attend the IECSC trade show this fall).   I was speaking with Natalie last week and we were talking about her receptionists’ and call center.  She said “since I’ve implemented the Reception & Profit DVD content my reception department and call center are experiencing a 30% reservation rate increase”. Wouldn’t you like to experience this type of growth?  If Natalie can do it so can you!  Natalie is the General Manager for the Renaissance European Day Spa in Fayetteville, North Carolina she oversees two large day spas and manages over 100 team players; needless to say she stays very busy.  So I ask you, how effective is your reception center? In this blog I am going to share with you mistakes to avoid and 4 steps to help you build a successful spa reception team.

Do you recall the last time you called a spa to reserve a spa experience and the person who answered the phone was so knowledgeable and professional that you said, “WOW” That was a great first impression!   I don’t know about you, but I wish I would experience a “wow” more often.

After a long and busy business trip, I decided to extend my stay and visit the spa for some treatments. My hotel room did not have a spa menu (mistake # 1), so I had to call the spa to discover treatment options.

The person answering the phone greeted me with “Hello, thanks for calling xyz spa. Can you please hold?”  There was not a hold message informing callers of spa menu options (mistake #2). After holding for a while, she came back and said “Thank you for holding. How may I help you”?  So very ordinary…

I asked the person (she did not give her name, mistake #3) to tell me about some of their treatment options.  As many receptionists do, the first thing she mentioned was “massage”, facials and body treatments. Then I asked, “What body treatment would you suggest to relief stress and dry skin?”  “Probably our mud body wrap” she replied.

“Can you tell me a little more about it?” That’s when every other word in her conversation became “um”, “like” and “you know”. Her lack of communication skill and treatment knowledge was obvious (Mistake # 4). I could tell that this person was not properly trained nor experienced any of the spa treatments herself (mistake #5). Her descriptions and verbiage were not spa driven.  She had no structure for handling the call or the ability to describe the treatment benefits to entice the caller to reserve an experience.  Her recommendations in selecting treatments and promoting the spa menu were very limited (mistake #6).

Who is accountable for the delivery of this type of experience?

Isn’t it a shame that one of the most important positions in the spa is often held by inexperienced, lower-paid individuals?

As spa leaders, it’s time to give the spa reception position the importance and training it requires for success!  Is Your R & R Department Making or Breaking You?

Sad but true, this is not the first time I’ve experienced this type of call.  I am sure you have experienced the same.  Maybe it’s time to re-assess your Spa Reception and Reservation department.  How does your customer service staff contribute to deliver a great guest experience and maximize your reservation rate?

Fact: In most spas, the Reception and Reservation department is usually regarded as entry level or a lower level position within the spa structure (mistake # 7); even though both of these departments are key revenue generating centers.

Shift philosophy and place greater emphasis on selecting and training your spa reception/reservation team (R&R).  Recruiting and maintaining skilled professionals will result in maximized revenues and increased profits!

In the meantime, assess your reception process.

Shop your receptionists and listen to what they are saying to your clients.  How effective are they?  During InSPAration Management’s “Reception and Profit” (available on DVD) training seminar, we always call a spa for the attendees to experience what I am describing. Everyone is always amazed as to how the call is handled.  Most importantly, how rare it is when the spa receptionist actually asks the caller for the reservation. (Hardly ever!)  They need to be saying, “When you would like to come in for this experience?” If you will just teach your team to learn this one phrase, you will increase your call to reservation ratio by over 20% by simply asking for the reservation! The magic word is WHEN!

I want to share with you 4 Steps to Improving the R & R Team Productivity to increase your reservation and revenue rate.  I am simply going to name them in part one you will need to come back next week for Part Two to get the details.

4 Steps to Building a Successful R & R Team

1. R & R Role Identification –  Position Description -  Finding the Right Fit

Identify the ideal person for this important position.

2. Spa Reception Compensation Structure - Selecting a Motivating Compensation MIX

Convert your team from order takers to revenue generators!

3. Spa Reception Structure and Positioning

Develop a call management structure.

4. Spa Reception Department Training

Invest in training your reception/reservation department.

Make sure you come back next week for Part Two!