Today's consumers might be wary of disclosing personal information and too busy to fill in lengthy paper forms, but increasingly they expect a hyper-personalised experience at every stage of the customer journey, a tricky dichotomy that spas must navigate in order to reap the rewards of the high-value return customer.
And the good news? The leisure industry has an enviable quantity and variety of data at its collective fingertips with which to work. A data trail of information from treatment booking to check-out can be mined and analysed for all its worth, providing the software systems are in place to gather the right data and come up with focused, actionable insights.
Yeniffer Padrino, marketing manager of Book4Time, explains: "Data capture must be a key component of any spa software system and should be present at every step of the customer journey.”
But what sort of information should spas gather? The short answer: everything! Padrino says: "Book4Time captures the entire customer profile. We keep track of all treatments the customer has taken, what products he/she bought, which technician provided the treatment, what locations of the spa the customer visited, if he/she prefers a particular therapist. All of this information will make the customer's future visits even better.”
Balancing the needs of time-poor customers who want 24/7 accessibility alongside a super-personalised experience is a difficult juggling act for spas to execute, but the software is there to support both sides of the relationship. ResortSuite's founder and CEO Frank Pitsikalis believes that the key is to empower guests to manage their own information via a number of different channels. He says: "The rise of online and mobile app booking allows the guest to be in command of their own experience and provide information about themselves as well as the types of services they enjoy.
"ResortSuite's Spa Check-In App is an easy and streamlined way in which spas can obtain mandatory health information and consent from their guests. The forms and waivers are digitally stored on the guest's profile which eliminates filing cabinets filled with paper.”
The result is a fast, convenient process for both the customer and spa. For ResortSuite client Laurence Raptus, spa and health club manager at Fallsview Casino Resort, Ontario, the most significant impact of the software has been on day-to-day operations. She says: "It allows us to process guests more efficiently with clear information, allows for better communication between therapist and guest, and creates an exceptional standard of service that guests have come to expect.”
Simplicity might be key to the user-experience, but it's what spas do with the captured data that can make the difference and it's in this space that a spa software system's advanced analytics solutions can help deliver that competitive edge.
The Assistant Company's (TAC) offers over 1,000 different report options in order to inform spas of all processes in their business. Managing director Günther Pöllabauer explains: "Spa software companies need to understand that there should be different levels of data analysis such as interfaces with high-level business intelligence tools to connect all data, reporting and KPIs for spa managers and customised reporting like performance management for spa employees. Daily business reports, commission analyses, and examination of resource utilisation should also be available as well. This way, staff members will always have the most important data ready to use in their mailbox.”
However, what challenges do spas face in contending with such a vast amount of personal data? With privacy laws like the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into force in the European Union in May, and similar laws in operation across 80 other countries, it's essential for spas to be compliant. But rather than be daunted by the raft of regulations surrounding personal data, spas should view them positively, for the protection they afford and the opportunities they present.
Leonie Wileman, COO of Premier Software, asserts: "Whether you're an independent boutique spa or part of a large group, ensuring you're GDPR compliant will protect you across countries and time-zones. Achieving compliancy is relatively straightforward, you just need to be transparent about the data you keep, how long you keep it for and how you will use it.”
For Premier client Ian Mitchell, sales and operations manager at The Woodland Spa, UK, GDPR compliance offered via the Core system provides peace of mind: "Core is fully secure and knowing that our client information is safe makes a huge difference to the business. The data is encrypted and only accessible to staff with permission. GDPR affects everyone, but it's been a good opportunity to cleanse our database, review our data and privacy policies as well as ensuring we are, and will remain, compliant.”
So, the data is captured, it's compliant and it's been mined for information. This allows spas to dig deeper into customer behaviour and leverage it for more personalised marketing campaigns and data-driven business decisions.
Sudheer Koneru, CEO of spa software solutions company Zenoti, says: "Because Zenoti is a centralised system, each customer has a single profile even if they visit multiple locations. This allows service providers to leverage insights from other locations and enables providers to really personalise every aspect of the guest experience, from greeting them with a question about a recent event in their lives to bringing them their favourite beverage to enjoy while they wait.”
However, a spa's software system can go one step further, beyond the on-site experience and deep into smart marketing territory. "Smart marketing is integrated into the complete Zenoti solution, so it uses appointment book data to predict and fill slow days to help spa owners meet their designated weekly revenue goals. It even learns from customer responses to send more compelling follow-up offers over time,” Koneru adds.
Zenoti customer Denise Keeler, COO of US aesthetics chain OrangeTwist, agrees: "We allocate a fair amount of money to marketing, so we measure obsessively! Zenoti's dashboard and analytics helps us understand the customer journey and gives a snapshot of our business at any given time, so we can forecast as well as learn about opportunities. The analytics page helps us see client behaviour and gives us a call-list to get clients back in.”
The future's personal
According to Koneru, there's no such thing as ‘too much' personalisation, with every aspect of the spa experience expected to become hyper-personalised in the coming years. Likewise, Book4Time's Padrino believes the incorporation of technologies like artificial intelligence to automate even more processes will not only optimise operations but will "heighten the customer experience to the max.”
One thing's for sure, armed with systems delivering big data analytics, spas can only get smarter at keeping their customers happy.