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The spa industry is a competitive one where awards and star ratings make all the difference to your reputation. And though everyone will try, only a select few will rise above the rest and earn these accolades.

There’s no magic formula for what makes a spa stand out (read our interview with Forbes Senior VP of Ratings about how to get a five-star rating here), but there are certainly a few things that all award-winners do to elevate the guest experience.  

And while it’s not easy — if it were, everyone would be doing it well — recent technological advances can make it easier. Tech’s role in the wellness space is a changing one, but one place it always belongs is behind the scenes, making your life easier so you can concentrate on your guest experience.

We looked at four qualities shared by all award winning spas, and asked Roger Sholanki, CEO of cloud-based spa software company Book4Time, to provide some insight on how your tech should be helping you achieve them.

Your tech should check all these boxes. If it doesn’t, you might consider an overhaul.

Four qualities of award-winning spas:

They’re already ahead of the game when the customer arrives

A truly elevated experience starts from the moment your guest arrives and is made to feel that their arrival is not just welcome, but eagerly anticipated. But your front desk staff is busy, and it can be easy to overlook details.

Here is where tech can play a key role as your behind-the-scenes “butler,” says Sholanki.

“The software should ensure that your team is automatically alerted to action items and notes when the guest arrives.”

He adds that, “Equipping your therapist with their own personal calendars and bookings can help them quickly access guest information and appointment details without having to run up to the front desk.” This streamlines the process and eliminates bumpy interruptions.

They make the guest feel special

Regardless of the purchase type, consumers expectation is always higher for a premium or luxury product or service — and failure to personalize is regarded as a failure in customer service in today’s market.

“Technology can play a role in a few ways here,” Sholanki explains. “Equipping your staff with access to pertinent information on a mobile device is very common today. Another big innovation in the industry is software incorporating Artificial Intelligence to guide the experience. For example, if your guest is coming in for a massage, your intake form system should have the intelligence to ask only questions pertaining to massage, and not waste the guest’s time filling out other non-relevant questions.” This is assuming you are not still using paper forms, of course.

They get into the minutiae

A consumer also has higher expectations of your staff paying attention to detail when booking a service in a luxury spa. Award winners think big – but they also think small. No detail is unimportant.

“Technology should facilitate this,” says Sholanki. “For example, by informing your staff of preferred therapists based on past history, or not letting them accidentally book a male in a female restricted room, which happens.”

Your software should be storing pertinent health information, but also details such as preferred scents and beverages (sparkling water over flat), and music preferences (Brian Eno over Yanni).

They go above and beyond

Award winners don’t stop at good enough. But you can’t focus on elevating the experience when you are distracted by mundane tasks.

And your relationship with that guest shouldn’t end when they leave the spa. Follow up is crucial. Some more things to consider allowing your tech to take care of for you:  Personal product recommendations based on previous purchases, service reminders, incentives for returns and referrals, and loyalty points and discounts.

“Guests appreciate it when you pay them extra attention,” says Sholanki. “Invitations to special events for members only, or VIP rewards and services go a long way towards making people feel that they are important to you.”

Your technology should take care of the details, so that you can focus on the customer.

“It should allow you to free your mind of clutter,” says Sholanki, “and concentrate on the things that can’t be automated, like interaction and guest relationships.”

That’s what will set you apart and put you in a class among the very best.