21st September 2018

Spas within hotels across RBH’s luxury QHotels portfolio have been enjoying year-on-year growth. But this has been no stroke of luck – instead, a very special treatment has been applied.

Now, the Head of Leisure and Spa at the leading independent hotel management company, Dave Heap is sharing the secrets of their success.

Dave said:

We have a portfolio of stunning spa hotels across England, each with its own unique identity, but united in their spa excellence.

From Oulton Hall to Ashford International Hotel, visitors can expect first class treatment from the moment they step into one of our spas.

Secure in our operational and experiential excellence, we implemented a strategy to grow both our spa audience and our spa bookings.  And from 2015 to 2017, volume growth approached 15 per cent, with profits climbing more than 25 per cent.

Maybe your spa business is in its infancy or you’ve been trying in vain to boost your bottom line – whatever the case, there are practical steps you can take to support your spa’s growth:

1. Understand your market

Before you adopt a growth strategy, you should know your market inside out. It’s not rocket science, but skip this important step at your peril.

Study the peaks and troughs in your traffic and know what sells and when. For example, how do the school holidays impact on your traffic and your audience’s demographic?

Identify where there is room for further growth and where there is space to add value for your already captive audiences.

We recognised there is a natural increase in the number of leisure guests within our hotels during the summer months, and that helped inform how we could add value to their experience by incentivising spa treatments.

Likewise, mid-week spa audiences were identified as key for us, helping us target them accordingly with a voucher sales strategy and the creation of our own voucher platform, One Big Deal.

Continue to study your trends to be ready to move with the market, never underestimating the fact that small changes can make big differences.

2. Tailor your offering

When you know the landscape, take the time to tailor a targeted offering.

As spa hotels, you’d perhaps imagine we would focus primarily on residential packages. Yes, this is an important revenue stream for us and we launch core spa packages quarterly, drawing on the wider offerings within our hotels. And in fact, our most recent summer campaign was our most successful yet.

But, conversely, through our strategic plan for growth, we’ve also been able to effectively target and grow our non-residential offerings. So much so, last year it accounted for almost 60 per cent of our spa revenue.   

Our approach varies for each. People travel from across the UK and further afield for hotel breaks with us, but our day spa audience is closer to home.

Are you covering all the bases, targeting existing spa users and getting the exposure you need in your customer radius?

3. Think outside the box

Contentment breeds complacency. Always look for new opportunities to grow your spa offering and audience.

We’re currently piloting a scheme in one of our properties to enable parents and children to enjoy day spa experiences together. Thinking outside the box with mini manicures and mocktails, we’ve been able to work around the restrictions we face in welcoming younger visitors.

Who isn’t visiting you yet and what can you offer them?

And don’t forget that growth can only be achieved if you continue to nurture your existing customer base. Remember to refine and reinvigorate your offering regularly to keep them coming back for more.   

The luxury QHotels spa portfolio is operated by the UK’s leading independent hotel management company, RBH.

Read Dave's top tips on spa recruitment and rentention here.