The spa-goer next door: Attracting local customers to your hotel spa

The spa-goer next door: Attracting local customers to your hotel spa

There’s a great potential market waiting just outside the door of your hotel spa. In urban locations in particular, a local following can be the key to maximizing spa revenue, giving your business a significant boost on traditionally quiet weekdays. 

It’s not an easy task, however. Hotel spas are hard-pressed to match competitive day spa rates, and at the end of the day, where one chooses to get a massage is driven by price more than loyalty. In my own experience developing The Spa at Trump concept, I’ve found the best strategy to attract local customers is to create a destination for the community.

Think one-of-a-kind 

Give local spa-goers an experience they simply cannot find anywhere else in the neighborhood. The key here is authenticity, something that was fundamental to the development of the hammam ritual at Trump Soho New York. In the United States, the term hammam is applied rather loosely and often represents no more than a glorified steam room. Yet a true hammam is far more than that — a finely choreographed bathing ritual that, in Turkey and Morocco, is central to community life. 

I first experienced hammam during my business travels to Istanbul, which coincided with the development of the Soho hotel, and I was determined to recreate the ritual for our New York spa guests. Thanks to importing authentic Turkish and Moroccan materials and thoroughly training our specialists in traditional techniques, our hammam has proven to be not only a great publicity tool for the hotel and spa but also a successful driver of local business. 

Keep it short, sweet and social 

Taking a page from the ever-popular happy hour concept, consider a promotion that pairs abbreviated versions of spa treatments with a social component. At our Soho spa, this has taken the form of Tapas Tuesdays (great for post-work gatherings), featuring a “tapas-style” sampling of 15-minute mini-treatments, combined with wine and appetizers, all for a US$45 price tag that compares favorably with area day spa rates.

Make connections 

When you’re considering the demographics of your neighborhood, think beyond the obvious to the vibrant sub-communities that thrive there. For instance, all four Spa at Trump locations — Chicago, Las Vegas, Waikiki and Soho — are near at least one institute of higher learning. With that in mind, we created a Student Spa Menu that gives existing treatments new names (for example, the Classic Trump Massage becomes “The Study Break”) and offers them to local students and educators at back-to-school discount rates. This is a great, low-cost way to connect with a particular group within the larger community, requiring little more than creative thinking. 

These are just a few strategies that have proven successful for The Spa at Trump. I hope you’ll share your own ideas for boosting local business. How does your hotel appeal to the spa-goer next door?