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19 Jan 2018 Spa Business Handbook
 

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Spa Business Handbook - What Customers Want

Europe Research

What Customers Want


Facilities are the most important factor for UK spa-goers and hydrotherapy experiences are top of the list according to a new survey by The Good Spa Guide

The top reason why UK consumers visit a spa is “to get some down time and unwind” the study found photo: y spa, wyboston lakes
The State of Spa Report Winter 2014/15
Most women prefer treatments without their partners photo: Chuan Spa, Langham London
Heat experiences are the second-most popular spa facilities photo: Lucknam Park Spa
Metland founded the UK’s Good Spa Guide
Ninety-two per cent of UK spa consumers want water facilities, such as those at the Thermae Bath Spa, according to the report

Spa designers and consultants who don’t set aside enough space for communal facilities could be limiting the success of the business before it even opens if results from a UK spa consumer survey are anything to go by.

The State of Spa Report Winter 2014/15 by the UK’s Good Spa Guide found that 93 per cent of spa consumers in the UK feel that facilities are what make the “most perfect spa day”, they value them even more than good customer service (87 per cent) and being well looked after (82 per cent). In spite of this, however, treatment rooms are often given precedence because they generate more money per square foot.

Given the option, most visitors (92 per cent) want to see water facilities – pools, hydrotherapy and experience showers (see Diagram 1). Meanwhile, 87 per cent would be enticed by heat experience rooms such as saunas and steamrooms and 77 per cent prioritise relaxation areas. “Public opinion really reflects the idea that a spa is not a spa without water,” says Daphne Metland, founder and MD of the guide. “People like plenty to do and try during a spa day.” That said, only 9 per cent of customers were interested in having a good gym.

The survey was based on the opinions of 530 spa-goers in the country, who answered 15 questions in total. Results were released in February.

Tempting deals?
When asked “what ‘extras’ tempt you to book a spa day”, the two most popular answers were money saving promotions – namely a two for one deal, which 85 per cent of respondents would be tempted by; and a percentage discount which 72 per cent of spa-goers said they would be interested in (see Diagram 2). Customers are far less concerned with extras such as an additional treatment (37 per cent) or free products (23 per cent).

More than 66 per cent of spa-goers are loyal to a favourite local spa but the survey showed that men and people under 40 are slightly less loyal than their demographic counterparts. A total of 70 per cent of over-40s said they have a favourite spa near their home, compared to 56 per cent of those under 40.

Treatment preferences
Men and women aren’t always on the same page when they go to a spa, in fact, the survey showed that their tastes can be very different. Nearly 60 per cent of men want to spend time with someone they love at a spa and 41 per cent of men prefer couples’ treatments to individual therapies. This compares to only 18 per cent of women who prefer treatments with their partners in the same room.

Yet on the other hand, when asked “why do you go to a spa”, the highest ranking answer for both genders, at 82 per cent, was “to get some down time and unwind”. Only 11 per cent of respondents selected the answer: “so I can look good”.

Age also seems to be a factor in terms of whether to spa with others or alone. Over-40s are more likely to take friends or spa alone, but those under 40 are much more likely to go to a spa as a couple.

Massage is the treatment that’s most favoured by UK spa-goers, selected by 93 per cent of people, while facials come second, at 65 per cent. New and unusual treatments are also popular, winning approval from 50 per cent of respondents.

Yet it only takes one bad member of staff to leave a sour taste in the mouth. Eighty-nine per cent of customers selected poor customer service when asked: “what ruins your spa day?”.

Noise levels were the second most likely factor to ruin a spa day, at 88 per cent. Metland concludes: “Many spas are introducing quiet zones or signs. This is appreciated by customers and can help to tackle problematic noise levels. Anything to pull a customer back is a bonus and if quiet signs are needed then they should certainly be used.”

Diagram 1:

What Facilities Do You Most Want at a Spa?

 



Source: State of Spa Report Winter 2014/15, Good Spa Guide
Diagram 2:

What ‘Extras’ Tempt You to Book a Spa Day?

 



Source: State of Spa Report Winter 2014/15, Good Spa Guide


See p80 for inaugural benchmarking figures for the UK spa industry

Originally published in Spa Business Handbook 2015 issue 1

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