Identifying Challenges and Risks that Create Gaps in the Hotel Spa

When it comes to creating program success, identifying impending challenges can be one of the most efficient ways to eradicate gaps in performance and profitability. Some of the most common challenges stem from disjointed department overlays, noncompliance with industry benchmarks and lack of employee training. These areas can either create ripples of proficiency or dilute efforts and operating efficacy.

As liability and risk remain in the forefront of industry concerns, establishing systemizations that properly support new policies and procedures have become an essential integration. While, there are a number of organized, regulations and compliancy standards in place to mitigate public health risks, design and occupational safety, etc. i.e. OSHAADA, insurances, and so on. These systemizations do not review the operational nuances of patterns, employee behavior or examine the functionality of spa or wellness fiscal or target performance.

People thrive on positive reinforcement and supportive feedback. While constructive criticism is still an important facet of the employee review process. The frequency of feedback preferences is accelerating. “According to Forbes, 58 percent of millennial leaders engage in weekly performance conversations versus only 39 percent of their baby boomer counterparts. ” The increasing regularity of new and different performance reviews and acute inspection styles hold untold advantages for the implementation of advancing reliable benefits for everyone.

Spa and Wellness Inspections

It’s common for hidden opportunities to increase revenue through unique department overlays to go unnoticed in the course of managing clients, staff and busy daily schedules. The intervention of qualified reviews can offer a full-lens overview with the ability to also inspect the granular functionality and distinct compartmental or constant challenges. Whereas, to some degree compartmentalization has specific paybacks, substantial breakdowns can often become holes in quality and functionality.

Spa facilities must be evaluated on a regular basis. This should to be considered a regular part of spa business maintenance on a monthly, quarterly, or bi-annual schedule with budgeted time and funds to enable accordingly. Some spas will need more assistance than others and many times spas will require different levels of discovery and review. Having a fixed review process can dramatically lead to important and relative perspectives that advance the success of the business.

For example, a spa that has been under-performing for a long period of time, may not show major signs of being in need of an analysis. A spa like this may even be considered generally in good financial and operational health. However, just because the trajectory of success has been trending steadily, doesn’t mean the business isn’t performing well below its prime capabilities. Imparting an objective outlook, can shed light on these areas and provide powerful and constructive feedback.

A comprehensive spa inspection should include an array of different areas such as customer care and service skills, industry benchmarks, retail and sales performance, treatment protocols and general facility maintenance. This process should also include proper employee interviews, a thorough program critique, and in-depth occupancy and financial analysis. For example, if the average hotel occupancy rate is 72 percent, the spa capture rate should reflect an appropriate utilization margin. If this is under performing, a series of inquiries would discover why.

Methods and Management

Social media platforms like Yelp, Trip Advisor, and other resources provide excellent insight into the guest experience in real-time. This has expedited the need for increased routine scrutiny, and diligence to perform timely internal reviews. These consumer review channels are updated daily, publishing all types of guest reviews and levels of experiential satisfaction. In turn, this process provokes instantaneous gratification as well as business and employee accountability, triggering a call for industrious management.

Whenever a new hotel or spa is set to open its doors, there are a series of assessments made in order to open with the greatest service and sense of preparedness as possible. After opening day, this often trickles into periodic reviews and the urgency of insight reduces significantly over time. What if multiple times a year it was a general practice to establish fresh milestones, close gaps in fragmented services and ramp up revenue pipelines?

Many companies create internal systems to evaluate general employee performance through executive management teams based on company standards. This is a familiar practice to many people. However, this in-house process isn’t designed to identify hidden risks or long-standing operational challenges. A review process that examines the facets of profitability mixed with performance can help mitigate blind spots, missing opportunities to generate revenue or reveal unproductive general biases.

Self-Assessment Strategies

For those who choose to assimilate their own assessment and review process, there are some effective ways to structure this and generate a worthy process. One approach to this is to divide and conquer. Dividing various departments in need of inspection is one way to narrow down potential liabilities and risks. These can be broken down into services, retail, membership reviews and so on. Once allocated into segments and prioritized, the effort to examine each area may seem less overwhelming.

6 Tips to Creating an Effective Internal Review Process

  1. Identify specific departments in need of review
  2. Understand industry benchmarks, policies and procedures
  3. Make a list of pertinent concerns in advance
  4. List operational breakdowns or ongoing staffing issues
  5. Delegate secret-shopper experiences to trial services
  6. Examine hotel occupancy and spa capture rates for viability

The upside of having an in-house system to manage this process is, it can be deployed at will or as executive team members feel necessary. It can also become a recurring process in higher frequency and scheduled somewhat spontaneously. The downside of an in-house review system is harvesting disjointed data without objectivity and wide range view.

Having an expansive view introduces a new dimension. If a review is congruent to an overall strategic brand plan or the global market at large, it requires an expert analysis and review that can recognizes these specific and expanded viewpoints; in addition to the singularity of one location.

Invest in Expertise and Proficiency

If you decide to choose an outside consultant to conduct a hotel spa review, be certain they are specialized, qualified, credible and understand the entire scope of the inspection process. Make the investment in someone who has the financial aptitude necessary to complete a full high-level review and is proficient in benchmarks, protocols and program development.

Hotels and resorts have unique demographics and customer profiles. It’s critical to understand these demographics as a part of the property attributes and review process. Enlisting expert support to conduct a review, doesn’t have to be a long-term commitment. This process generally takes only a few weeks. Whereas, an engagement like this should provide significant tools and a comprehensive, critical path with directives to navigate any gaps found in productivity or business performance, in a short amount of time.

Stability and Growth

Spa and wellness programs are expanding, and new demand is growing every day. In order to keep up with this highly engaged and evolving market segment, the review process is a proactive measure to help eliminate unnecessary challenges and future risks. These components, known or unknown may hinder strategic planning and growth based on ongoing routine procedure. Addressing uncertainty, low occupancy or poor performance are is an imperative aspect to creating new solutions.

Furthermore, as spa and wellness features are leading motivators across the hospitality and travel sector, knowing where the gaps are has become more important than ever. Guests expectations are rising in stride with elevated guest and service presumptions. Knowing how to balance customer feedback with operational and in-depth consciousness is key to streamlining operations and generating consistent profits.

Final Thoughts

Empowering businesses to understand what the challenges and risks are can go a long way to foster stability and enhance sustainable long-range planning. These inspection and review methods can nurture new business cycles and instigate important changes to optimize operational and financial performance. I like to use the analogies of, “going to the doctor” or “taking your car in for service.” Everything needs maintenance. Uncovering unknown challenges and risks can provide invaluable insight and direction to building quality systemizations that maximize the level of hotel spa and wellness performance.

By Mia A. Mackman

Published on Hotel Business Review- Hotel Executive on June 17, 2018


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