The spa robe is among the most important aspects of a client’s spa experience. It’s one of the first things clients encounter when they enter the spa, and it’s a source of comfort throughout their visit. Plus, a great robe can serve as a revenue booster if it is also available for purchase in the spa’s retail area. “The trend in the bathrobe area is to offer the guest a robe that provides the ’OMG’ experience,” says Steven Salhany, partner at The Mansfield Robe Company. “While super-soft cozy interior robes may require a little more care, they are worth the effort as retail revenue goes through the roof simply due to the enhanced guest experience.” For example, at Allegria Spa, the Wrap Up Robes by VP, which are available in the spa’s retail area, have been the best-selling apparel item for the past five years. Here are some useful tips on selecting a robe to complement and enhance your clients’ spa experience:
“You want every detail to be relevant to your brand, so it’s important to consider the atmosphere and environment of your spa. Choose a robe that complements the climate so your guest is always comfortable. For example, if you’re in a warmer climate, a lightweight, breathable robe is ideal. Not only should the robe look inviting and have a luxurious drape, but ease of care is also essential. Ideally, you can pick a fabric that is durable, wrinkle-free, stain-resistant, and can be laundered quickly and easily.”—Jessica Carrington, director of sales, Comphy
“Choosing the perfect robe for your spa requires many questions to be answered such as: Is the laundering done in-house or by a third party? Does your spa run hot or cold in the summer? Are people nude underneath in the lounge areas of the spa? Is the client often putting the robe on wet? Do you fold the robes and put them into lockers? Do you have retail space to take advantage of a superior guest experience?”—Steven Salhany, partner, The Mansfield Robe Company
“While comfort is key, choosing a robe that is both soft and durable is essential. It should be able to adapt to laundering in the appropriate conditions and be able to withstand repeated cleaning to address oils that are found in the industry. A fabric that is designed to hold the value of a robe shows over its longevity, continuously providing clients with the same great feel and comfort. Also, address the issue of rancid oils with the supplier so you have the appropriate washing conditions.”—Noel Asmar, founder and creative director, Noel Asmar Group
Today’s spas offer more than just candles, skincare products, and essential oils. From robes and slippers to yoga apparel and loungewear (and even scarves and swimwear), a spa’s retail area is a reflection of the trend toward total wellness that many of today’s spas are embracing. “Spa retail is growing,” says Noel Asmar. “The trend is to now offer a wider range of retail goods, not only skincare and wellness products, but also lifestyle items including candles and fashion.” Here, spa directors reveal their top-selling apparel items:
“Our top-selling spa apparel item is the Lexi York Bamboo Poncho. We carry more than 15 colors—summer colors like teal and coral are popular, as well as staples like black and cream. We promote the bamboo poncho by having them on mannequins and asking our front desk staff to wear them for events like Girls’ Night Out and Spa After Dark.”—Kali Gumprecht, spa retail specialist, The Spa at PGA National Resort & Spa (Palm Beach Gardens, FL)
“Our top-selling item is Oka B. shoes. The styles change each season. Now we are selling a lot of the ballet flats in jewel tones, as well as the classic black and nude colors. Our guests experience this brand in services in our relaxation space and fall in love with the comfort. They are always excited to find out that they can purchase the same shoes in our boutique in a variety of colors and styles.”—Jana Powers, spa director, The Spa at Ballantyne at The Ballantyne Hotel
“We have just launched our exclusive Six Senses Yoga Line in collaboration with Ana Heart. Our top-sellers are the Moss Ballet Legging, available in charcoal and indigo colors, and the Peace Long Sleeve T-shirt, which is available in off-white or indigo color.”—Marie-Eve Macgoey, director of retail, Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas
“Two of our top-selling apparel retail items are our robes and wraps from Wrap Up by VP, particularly during the winter and holiday seasons. During our busy summer months when our guests are visiting our resort pool in addition to using our sauna and whirlpool, our ladies swimwear by Helen Jon can’t seem to stay on the rack. Our guests visiting our resort spa also love Oka B. spa sandals and always want to take a pair home.” —Michelle Pasley, spa director, The Spa at Barnsley Resort (Adairsville, GA)
Looking for unique retail? Check out the top-selling items from these companies.
Wrap Up by VP
Maximize your spa’s retail apparel space and boost revenue with these helpful tips:
1. Offer a variety of colors and sizes.
2. Promote new items in a catalog or pamphlet, which is placed in guest rooms.
3. Create eye-catching displays by grouping together items of the same color in a gradient or dark colors on the sides of lighter colors. “Sometimes, if the retail mix permits it, we also develop themes around a color where we mix, blend, and match different categories but with the same color shade, such as the blues with a blue hat, blue meditation necklaces, and a blue top,” says Marie-Eve Macgoey, director of retail for Six Senses.
4. Add signage, which tells the story behind the designers or local artists featured.
5. Integrate the retail offerings into the reception area so clients see the items upon entering and leaving the spa.
6. Offer items that can be used during a client’s visit to your spa or the resort. For example, The Spa at Barnsley Resort (Adairsville, GA) requires swimsuits for its coed whirlpool and sauna, yet some clients forget to pack a swimsuit. Therefore, the spa sells swimwear in its retail area.
7. Make sure the retail area is always clean and organized. For example, Allegria Spa keeps a back stock of alternate sizes in well-labeled drawers so that the floor is not overcrowded with apparel and changes its displays weekly.
8. Use social media to promote brands and products available for purchase at the spa.
9. Keep items at eye level so clients don’t have to reach up or down to take a look at them.
10. Educate employees on the new retail items and apparel so they can engage with guests and inform them about what is available.