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SpaFinder Releases Research on Industry Strengths

Posted: April 21, 2009

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Additionally, preliminary ‘09 data currently being amassed at SpaFinder Research indicates day spas should continue to outperform resort/hotel spas across 2009—and within the ‘stay’ spa category, urban hotel spas will perform best. Ellis noted, ‘As more consumers forego travel and seek breaks closer to home, the ‘daycation’ has moved from a trendy buzzword to reality. Urban hotel spas will lead the resort spa category, as they’re uniquely poised to attract the day spa consumer. Given recent research that the wider U.S. hotel industry’s revenue-per-room is down 17%, we’re finding welcome evidence that a spa component is providing much-needed revenue for hotels—particularly in larger markets.’

SpaFinder’s Spa Performance and Strategies in the Economy surveys were conducted with more than 500 spas in February 2009. Key findings include:

Financial Performance and Staffing Plans:

  • 51% of day spas clocked revenue gains in ‘08 over ‘07, reporting relatively strong performance across each sales channel (with treatments strongest, followed by gift certificates, and retail). Comparing January 2009 to January 2008, 57% of day spas maintained or increased treatment sales.
  • While 54% of resort/hotel spas reported revenue declines in ‘08, their spa facilities are generating a rippling profit-effect. The significantly largest bloc of respondents reported that guests using the spa spend more in other areas of the resort than non-spa guests—with more than half reporting that spa-users now spend more than 15% more than non-spa guests.
  • Day spas’ strength is reflected in their staffing plans: 60% report they’ll maintain staff levels in ‘09, with roughly 20% reporting they will increase—and 20% cut—personnel. Not surprisingly, resort/hotel spas plan somewhat larger cuts: 55% will stand firm on staff in 2009 and 5% plan increases, but 38% plan cuts.

The Deal Weapon in the Recession:

  • Day and ‘stay’ spas strongly concur that deals and value-added discounts represent one of their top two marketing strategies for 2009.
  • 66% of day spas plan to increase deals/unique promotions in ‘09 over ‘08, with 30% maintaining at the current level, and only 3% planning any decrease. Dedicated ‘deals’ trump wholesale treatment price decreases: only 14% of day spas plan to decrease treatment prices in 2009.
  • Similarly, 76% of resort/hotel spas plan to increase deals/promotions in 2009, with 22% maintaining at the current level, and virtually 0% planning any declines. Resort/hotel operators report that discounts are far and away the No. 1 way to attract new customers.

Internet Marketing Crucial for Spas in ‘09:

  • Day and ‘stay’ spas further concurred that Internet marketing is poised to make serious gains against traditional advertising this year.
  • More than four out of five spas are upping, or standing firm, on their Web marketing spend in ’09, while roughly half plan to slash traditional advertising.
  • 82% of day spas plan to increase or maintain their online marketing spend (i.e., display ads, listings with industry Web sites, etc.) in ‘09, with 42% planning significant increases. But only 12% plan to increase their traditional advertising (print magazines, newspaper or TV), while 47% plan to make cuts.
  • Similarly, 83% of resort/hotel spas plan to increase/maintain their online marketing budgets, with 43% planning significant increases, while only 20% plan any increases for traditional advertising, and 44% are planning cuts.