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Coyle Hospitality Group recently conducted 200 reservation calls to upscale spas throughout the United States in an effort to benchmark the quality of the initial encounter many guests have with a spa. Forty-four states were represented. All spas were scored using 24 service benchmarks designed by CHG staff. These service benchmarks indicate performance in Service, Hospitality, Attention to Detail, and Revenue Generation. Results are available in aggregate form only, with individual spa data remaining confidential.


Calls were placed during normal business hours and a CHG representative, posing as a typical guest, made a standardized inquiry for a treatment, and completed a booking. Immediately after the interaction, a scorecard was completed, and the appointment was cancelled.

Data was collected and analyzed in the aggregate to determine what opportunities (if any) existed for those spas looking to gain or retain market share during the important inquiry/booking process.


A sampling of the standards tested include:

The phone was answered before the fourth ring.
Staff was able to describe treatments in detail.
Staff mentioned specialty treatments before basic services.
If a basic service was selected, an attempt to upsell was made.

Staff used guest's name, once learned, in a natural manner.
Staff member tone of voice was positive, not neutral.
Staff asked gender preference of therapist for all body treatments.
Payment method is secured.


To properly evaluate the performance from the guest perspective, each standard was cross-indexed into one of the following categories:

Attention to Detail
Revenue Generation

Revenue Generation

Revenue Generation was by far the poorest performer with a total attainment of 44%. Key contributors to that score were 25% attainment for 'staff mentioning specialty treatments before basic treatments,' and 28% attainment for 'upselling' after a basic treatment was selected.

With attainment of these salesmanship standards at less than half the time, potential revenue was often not being optimized during the initial inquiry. A more proactive approach of making guests aware of a variety of treatments should lead to a higher average transaction. Moreover the spa may exert more control over the use/occupancy of their complete capabilities (multi-purpose and wet rooms), increasing room usage and overall occupancy during all periods.

On a positive note, 87% of the staff members CHG reached were specifically 'knowledgeable' about the spa's offerings.

It can be reasoned that in general, reception staff were capable of creating a profitable and collaborative booking, but that far less took the lead in shaping the sale.

Attention to Detail

Attention to Detail was the second lowest performer with a total attainment of 77%. A major contributor to this score was 62% fulfillment in asking therapist gender preference on all body treatments. Another contributing factor to the lower score was that 36% of the callers were not 'provided specifics' about the upcoming treatment (what to bring, when to arrive, what to expect). As spa directors know, surprises and disappointments that occur upon the guest's arrival or early in the delivery of service will shape the guest perception of the entire experience.

Another 'attention to detail' notable was that a payment method was secured 88% of the time. This points to two things: First, obtaining credit card information is a widely accepted practice amongst spas, and second, that a small group (12%) remains exposed to lost revenue on no-shows or late cancellations.


Hospitality was generally very good, showing 87% total attainment. Calls were generally friendly and positive. The lowest performing benchmark was using the caller's name (61%).

Staff provided a sense of expectation with a "positive farewell' and created a "sense of expectation" 84% of the time. Interactions were described as 'unhurried and free of background noise' 81% of the time.


Service standards were the top scorers with 91% total attainment. Interestingly, staff was able to describe treatments in detail only 79% of the time. Encouraging results were that calls were answered before the fourth ring 93% of the time, and callers were not placed on involuntary holds 95% of the time. Average hold times were minimal and common telephone courtesies were in place.

Summary of Findings

The data suggests that most spas are very capable of presenting a positive first impression with very high scoring in service (91%) and hospitality (87%) during the reservation call. The data also indicates that spas can improve the process to maximize potential revenue by having staff engage in basic upselling techniques. There is also an opportunity to more consistently shape the guest expectation and ensure guest satisfaction upon their arrival to the spa and receipt of their service.

Full Survey Results are available upon request. To sign up for a free reservation call to be compared to the data set, please e-mail [email protected] or visit us at the ISPA conference from September 30-October 3 in booth #128.

About Coyle Hospitality

Based in New York City since 1996, Coyle Hospitality Group is a market leader providing mystery shopping and brand quality assurance services exclusively to hotels, restaurants and now spas worldwide. A selection of current Coyle Hospitality Group hospitality clients includes Little Palm Island Resort & Spa, Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts, Morgans Hotel Group, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, Starr Restaurant Organization, Affinia Hospitality, China Grill Management and Daniel Boulud Restaurants. Since 1996, CHG has completed over 20,000 quality evaluations exclusively for hospitality clients. For more information please visit

CHG has developed SpasQore, a customized measurement program that enables spas of all sizes to set standards and measure performance over time. SpasQore is delivered to clients online via CHG's proprietary SQL database that enables client-driven set-up and output; on-the-spot trending analysis; customized roll-up reporting; multiple brand platforms; dynamic archiving (reports, pictures and recordings). This ease of reporting allows management to access any part of the report, at any time, through a web browser.