Luxury travel advisors know it’s a best practice to set up spa appointments for their clients before they arrive at their hotel, but I’ve got some new intel that might help you make their experiences even better.

Our sister publication, American Spa, recently hosted a roundtable in our Manhattan office with the spa managers of five new hotels in the city and its surrounding area. They included Aman New York; The Ritz-Carlton New York, NoMad; Miraval Berkshires Resort & Spa and The Opus, Westchester.

Ruthanne Terrero
Ruthanne Terrero, VP/Head of Content Questex Travel and
Wellness Group

A common theme was that clients are now looking for longer treatments. The rush in to get a 50-minute massage or facial has evolved for many travelers into a desire to stay longer at the spa and to book a 90-minute experience that include the massage but add-on treatments, such as exfoliation or some sort of detox treatment as well. They’re staying to use the spa facilities longer because self care has become a priority. 

Welcome to the post-pandemic affluent traveler. 

This means you need to check in with your clients about their spa intentions well before their trip. You don’t want them to arrive on site, only to be told all the time slots are sold out for weeks. You also don’t want them coming home, saying they wished they’d known their resort had great spa with interesting programs that they didn’t allow time for.

“I think the pandemic gave everybody pause to figure out what their new routine is, what is wellness?” said Christine Mariconti, spa director, Miraval Berkshires. For that reason, she has put a focus on “really meeting each person as they stand where they are now. It’s really about developing individual programs for them,” said Mariconti. 

A tip for you? When your clients settle back in from their first slew of vacations out in the real world, post pandemic, speak with them to assess their current mindset so you can chart out trips that matter to the “new them.” 

Don’t be shy about asking your client to speak with you. Lori Kruk, spa director of Aman New York, said clients are looking for connection and to interact with her colleagues. “A lot of people are very chatty on the floor. They want to talk,” she said.

Detox, slimming and overall fitness are other aspects of what affluent customers are looking for.

“Guests are very educated, they are very willing to spend lots of money, but they want to understand the benefits [of a program] even before they arrive,” said Rita Rroku-Berishaj, director of spa for The Ritz-Carlton, New York, NoMad.

Good to know: Many hotel spas are creating sophisticated, integrated programs to remain ahead of the many day spas in their regions that are also catering to this clientele. 

Jasmine Warren, spa director at the Opus Westchester in White Plains, NY, counted 30 day spas in the Opus Spa’s comp set within a five-mile radius of the hotel. Nutritional consultations and acupuncture programs have been added to the Opus mix as a result.

“We’ve made the spa a kind of wellness retreat so that our guests can essentially have a one-stop shop when they visit,” said Warren.

On a last note, Mariconti of Miraval Berkshires said that when she sees her guests have booked back-to-back appointments (much as they might fill their agenda on a work day), she says, “Why don’t we carve out some time for nothing? When is the last time you took a nap? When is the last time you closed your eyes?”

There’s another tip: As you’re mapping out FIT itineraries for the client who wants to see it all when they visit a world-class city, suggest some mindful resting time for them to simply relax and absorb what it’s like to be in Paris, London or Rome.

They may likely also want to reflect on what it’s like to be them in 2022; they might still be trying to figure that out.

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