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Only on SkinInc.com: How Your Spa Can Cash In On Increased Spa Travel

Posted: December 7, 2011

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For agents who are mid-level producers or ones you wish to develop relationships with, you may want to offer special FAM (familiarization) trip rates, which are discounts that should include spa treatments, as well. Remember, you want the agent to experience as much of the spa (and wellness offerings) as they can so that they can sell every aspect of the property effectively.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that being listed at SpaFinder and working through the SpaFinder network is a good, unique way to reach agents. SpaFinder has a database of close to 20,000 travel agents; it trains agents to be "spa specialists," and more generally educate agents on spa travel and destinations through frequent webinars and newsletters.

Know that what typically matters most to agents is one thing: money. Offering a slightly higher commission rate than the usual 10% can really help to send more business to your spa. Another way to ensure a long-term relationship is to reward the agent for repeat customers, even if they book through the property directly. This shows them that you value the business that they've sent you, not on a one-time, but on an ongoing basis. Finally, it's important to offer commission on the spa treatments, as well as the room-booking whenever possible.

Get the basics squared away. Spas can get quite sophisticated in their marketing strategies, and forget some of the highest-impact basics. You need to be listed on the top online sites/channels that spa travelers use to research and book spa vacations, and those listings need to be up-to-date, robust and in order. According to Coyle Research’s 2011 report, the top three online resources spa-goers use to select spas are search engines (such as Google), SpaFinder.com and Groupon.

Make sure your Google Places (and Bing Business Center) listings are claimed, and totally optimized. Make sure you fill out all the info at your Google Place page, including phone number, address, link to your website, hours of operation and more--anything that puts your spa’s best face forward for the searching spa traveler. Google lets you upload 10 photos and five videos, so try to put up as much great imagery of your spa up as possible, because with travelers a picture says way more than 1,000 words. One or two videos could be a guest testimonial, because real-world recommendations are especially powerful. But you want them to be able to see, feel and understand your spa and all your wellness offerings.