Spas and digital marketing: Did we miss the train?

Global online travel sales are projected to reach US$671 billion in 2018 (World Wide Digital Travel Sales, eMarketer Dec 2014) and investments by companies such as industry titan Priceline Group and Expedia are investing billions in the market.

With Airbnb offering more hotel rooms than any other hotel company, including Hilton, Marriott and InterContinental, I cannot help but wonder when Spabnb or similar is to happen on a larger scale. Instead of gifted therapist going to work at a spa, why not create their own, have a following and ratings that will have the Airbnb guest in the city flock.

Mobile booking services in hotel is the norm, but way too few spa in comparison has it as a standard. Most are using digital marketing in forms of new letters, but it is a bit dinosaur – at least the ones I get. Social media is often down to Facebook, in the absence of Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest and YouTube. The sites tend to have nice picture, but it is not easy to find the menu and at best there is a downloadable pdf version. Then casting the eye on spa web site languages, I see that they cater mainly to English and local language if applicable. But what about the Chinese, German and French?

The point I am making is that we are one of the fastest growing industries on earth, yet we are letting go of one of the lowest hanging fruits that accelerate that growth rate exponentially. While social media is important, it is not merely as important as being mobile, digital marketing and e-commerce, according to L2 Business Intelligence for Digital, a firm that releases a Digital IQ Index on how well hotel companies market themselves and build brand loyalty and sales. Spas seem yet to be build up their Digital IQs.

Who knows, one of these days we might see Spabnb surpass us on number of treatment rooms….