The quality of the guest experience is and should be the top priority for any spa decision-makers, but sustainable practices need not be sacrificed in order to deliver. In fact, consumers want to visit spas that are more natural and that use fewer resources. They want to feel they are making a difference while taking care of themselves, not indulging, but receiving holistic self-care while caring for the environment at the same time.
Clients have numerous choices and want value for their dollar, and it is up to spas to provide valuable options for customers. Consumers also want to spend money in places aligned with their values. These potential clients are Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS) consumers. There is an estimated “$290 billion dollar US marketplace for goods and services focused on health, the environment, social justice, personal development, and sustainable living (2010). Approximately 20 percent of adults (41 million people of the 215 million adults in the US) are considered LOHAS consumers.” This is one in five Americans.
Transparency and authenticity are two additional elements discussed often regarding green business practices, and they affect the guest experience as well. Honesty about business practices is known as transparency. An example of transparency is reporting the actual impacts on the environment. Real, or authentic, practices are what a business truly represents. Honesty in business is respected and valued, and builds trust with conscious (and hopefully repeat) customers.
Stimulating the Five Senses
The beauty and spa world is all about the five senses. Touch, smell, sight, hearing, and taste buds are all stimulated in an ultimate client experience. Creating the mood and the experience during the service will depend on the menu design as well as the atmosphere. The attention to details in the building design, décor, staff attentiveness, scents/aromatherapy, music and waterfalls, and additional touches such as tea or fruit all influence the atmosphere. Are you creating an atmosphere of health and wellness or a salon full of fun and excitement? The atmosphere reflects what you are offering and this also relates to indoor environmental quality.
Holistic Health and Beauty Services
Health and wellness focused services are very popular. These services lean toward the green aspects of supporting the client’s well being. Many facilities offer wellness seminars and services such as ayurvedic treatments. This not only cares for clients, but also captures attention and brings in additional business. Clients want real therapeutic benefits from their services beyond the beauty aspects. For example, detoxification and specialty foot treatments are two services that address this need. Wellness services promote a healthy lifestyle.
Highlighting Local Culture
A sense of place speaks to people. Using local treatments focused on the place, or geographic location, is a popular practice. By promoting the local flavor, the region is highlighted and respected. For example, in the Southwest, the Indian spiritual culture and plant ingredients are used in a number of spas. In Hawaii, the Island culture and tropical plants are used in designing treatments. Using local ingredients such as clays and herbs found in different regions supports the local economy. Going local also cuts down on shipping costs and fuel. Additionally, buying from local vendors keeps more dollars circulating back into the community. Honoring the local culture and tradition creates interest and distinguishes the unique features of your spa.