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How the right spa design can push revenue to the bottom line

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Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort, Aji Spa

Profitability and functionality are the keys to today’s casino, hotel and resort spa creations. Therefore, the drive to add spas to an existing casino, or developing a spa and fitness component in a new build, continues.

Susie Ellis, president of Spa Finder (a spa media, marketing and gifting company) said “casinos and spas are a good bet,” and listed this partnering as one of her Top Ten Trends for 2009. Placing a high-end spa in a casino hotel was once a long-shot idea, but now casino spas are among the most profitable spas in the world, according to Ellis and Natural Resources Spa Consulting, Inc. (NRi).

It has been long understood that hotels and resorts globally need a spa, or access to spa services, to remain competitive, even in times of economic difficulties. While it was once thought the spa would simply be an amenity for the hotel property, many hotel spas are generating enough income to be profitable on their own. In casinos, according to Ellis, world-class facilities cater to a free-spending clientele who value high-octane indulgence and recharging, while also pursuing healthy activities. Hence, the combination of gaming and spa is an excellent consideration.

NRi has developed several casino spas within hotels and resorts, in markets where spa-going is not as common as in larger gaming areas (such as Las Vegas, for example). Casino operators are finding that the addition of a spa to a casino project helps boost business overall.

Some of the casinos developed, or that are currently under development, by NRi are being designed with colorful, fun, comfortable, and more approachable facilities catering to first-time spa-goers, thus creating a halo effect and increasing casino and hotel marketability and cache. There is a misperception that a spa facility must be large and lavish in order to be successful. While there certainly is a supporting market for the lush spas in the grander casino hotels, NRi has found that smaller spa facilities within smaller gaming properties, when designed appropriately, have the potential to be extremely attractive and successful. Making these spas approachable and comfortable invites gamers and guests that are not already familiar with spa services.

The training program for casino spa staff takes a slightly different approach. The spa team needs to simultaneously encourage new treatments and products, create the right atmosphere for the high roller or top gaming club member, and provide expected service levels to the seasoned spa-goer and non-gamer.

 

 Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort, Aji Spat-face
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Given today’s decline in the numbers of hotel travelers, a decreased length of stay, and (according to Smith Travel Research’s Spa Study) a decline in average daily rates of more than 13 percent, it is more important than ever to create elements of the casino property that are profitable and encourage repeat visits. NRi has found that, even in the current tough economy, having a spa in a casino property will:

  • Provide an additional profit center
  • Provide an additional fun and luxurious amenity

  • Provide an escape for non-gamers (Gamers will bring non-gamers for the visit)

  • Increase

    Revenues per room Repeat business and longer stays Word of mouth advertising (number one source in spa industry) Average Daily Rate Average length of stay Increasing hotel revenue Increasing time at gaming Revenue per Average Room Hotel occupancies Hotel marketability through additional food and beverage catering services meeting room rentals Group Business Spas play an important role in group business Meeting planners are attracted to hotels with spas Spas are “weatherproof” offering an alternative when other activities get rained out or when booked initially, guaranteeing the group activity won’t have to change at the last minute Social business Weddings and spas go hand-in-hand Meeting attendees may bring spouses
  • Create additional media attention

 

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NRi provides expertise when determining appropriate facility size, spa components, operational and guest flow. Together with brilliant architects and interior designers, NRi has created stunning spa facilities that are profitable and functional. Casino hotels with spas have a competitive edge, and casino owners and operators continue to contemplate adding spas to existing properties, which is sure to help drive business to the property.

With a thoughtful and well-researched feasibility study conducted by an experienced spa consultant, the extra time taken by owners, operators, designers and the spa consultants to contemplate area placement and the ability to provide exemplary service will result in an appropriately designed spa, which will ultimately:

  • Create exceptional operational flow for spa management and staff, thus reducing staffing, training and turnover, and eliminating an unnecessarily high payroll due to overstaffing;

  • Ensure guest experience integrity by maintaining fully stocked public areas and keeping the back of house activity completely away from any guest contact;

  • Create loyal guests who know they will enjoy efficient and relaxing arrivals and departures as a result of a correctly designed reception area;

  • Make guests feel so comfortable they will want to stay and play. … an important aspect of the spa experience;

  • Increase profitability by reaping the benefit of word of mouth advertising, repeat guest visits, and increased revenues to the hotel as a whole, because the guest chose the hotel because of the spa.

A well-programmed spa, along with seamless connectivity to the accompanying components of retail, salon, fitness and outdoor adventure, will result in higher profits and an elevation of stature for the entire casino property.

Lynn Curry is the senior vice president of Natural Resources Spa Consulting, Inc. (NRi). She has been an NRi associate for 12 years. The firm is one of the most highly regarded spa consulting firms worldwide, and has expertise in many different capacities of spa development and profit improvement programming. NRi is based in New York. Lynn can be reached at lynncurry@nrispa.com, or by phone in Sonoma Valley in California at (707) 933-0408.