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Adding On to the Bottom Line

By: Cathy Christensen
Posted: March 30, 2010, from the April 2010 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
Ruby Room Guest Room

The guest rooms at Ruby Room supply a comfortable place of respite for Chicago visitors who are seeking a less structured, more free-form environment with spa services available.

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If you are considering offering rooms, Warren says the number of rooms will dictate your housekeeping costs, but aside from the rooms’ upkeep, she sees them as an amenity to the spa. As for marketing, although the spa advertises an accommodation package to the Great Lakes region, word-of-mouth has been the best form of advertising for Reverie.

Ruby Room, Chicago. Ruby Room extended its brand by adding overnight rooms to its existing healing sanctuary in the historic Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago. The property consists of two side-by-side buildings, fitting in with owner Kate Leydon’s vision of offering a boutique hotel. “The guest rooms give people a place to come, enjoy the neighborhood, and heal and receive services in a less structured, more free-form environment,” she explains. Ruby Room offers eight guest rooms that can be stayed in without spa treatments or can be enhanced with services. Guests work with a concierge who will help them customize a package of services to accomplish their wellness goals.

“The rooms give us flexibility in what we are able to offer guests. We even have ministry services and can facilitate weddings, so you could have a wedding in the garden or sanctuary, and have services before and after for an intimate wedding experience,” says Leydon, who notes that the guest rooms also open up the ability to host retreats.

As far as revenue is concerned, the rooms definitely add to the bottom line. “They are phenomenal because the overhead on a room is not nearly as much as the overhead of a high-end treatment. It’s an incredible way to offset,” she explains. “In the summer, when the spa experiences less traffic, the rooms are in peak season. They have become more and more popular for people who are coming to the city, but want somewhere hip and groovy they can enjoy. There is a great balance in terms of revenue.”

Although the rooms provide a great revenue stream, Leydon advises that you need to consider your location carefully. “Wicker Park is a great place to come and shop, and it has unique businesses. There’s enough to do in our neighborhood for a weekend,” she says, suggesting you weigh the appeal of your location before considering offering guest rooms.