A great guest experience starts before a guest ever walks into your spa. They’ve undoubtedly checked you out online, browsed through photos on your social accounts of your amenities, looked at what others took photos of as well, and read plenty of reviews. Then they booked a service, either by calling or scheduling online. They’ve had multiple touch points with your spa and they haven’t even walked in the door yet.
The guest experience is all-encompassing, from browsing your website and booking services online to the experience in the spa itself.
Treat your website like the face of your company
A simple website isn’t good enough anymore. Everyone has a website. To make your spa stand out, your website has to stand out. It has to be informative, respond to all screen and device types, and easy to navigate.
This is where your guest experience begins, so give your guests the same friendly, helpful service they are going to get when they are in your spa.
Most people are coming to your spa’s website to do two things: look up information about your spa and book services.
Your Services Menu and Website Content
Start with an informative menu (that’s not in PDF format please!) that gives details about your services.
When we say details, we mean key information that is pertinent to someone booking the treatment. In other words: what will you do and what are the benefits they can expect. Fluffy-sounding marketing add-ons have no place in your key information. These are things like: sugar or salt scrubs, light or firm pressure, Vichy shower or standard, essential or unscented oils…
You can include this information about these additional services elsewhere on the services menu, address them in your spa’s FAQ section, and let your therapists talk to your clients about the type of pressure they prefer (truly, if your therapists were worth their salt scrub, they’re going to check in on type of pressure throughout the massage anyway).
Also, always provide how long the service is. And when we say how long, we mean “How long your guests can expect to have hands-on time with their technician.” As we’ve said before, transparency is crucial to building trust with your customers. We’ve noticed some spas have a distinct difference between their listed treatment times and the actual time a guest is experiencing the service she paid for. There’s nothing worse than thinking your massage is an hour long and only getting 40 minutes of muscle work.
Finally, please (pretty please with sugar scrub on top) include your spa’s location on your contact page, in the header and footer of your website. Not only does this help with local SEO, it also can make all the difference in spa-goers’ stress levels and getting to appointments on time if your spa is hard to find.
Booking System User Experience
Treat the online user experience as a conversation with your guests and answer their questions on your website. The booking process should be natural for your guests and exhaustive of all the questions they may have.
The point of online booking is convenience for your clients. Be thorough so guests don’t have to call you with questions. What’s the point of online booking if that were the case?
When designing or considering a new booking system, talk through a typical conversation you’d have while you’re booking a client over the phone.
You’d probably ask:
- What kind of treatment were you looking for? This corresponds to your spa menu.
- When did you want to come in? It’s pretty obvious, this is a clear calendar feature.
- Did you have a therapist preference? Allow them to select a therapist or enter more specific information in the notes field. For example, I always ask for the most experienced therapist available at my preferred time, but most spas never make a place to enter this request in their online booking app.
- Do you have a specific therapist that you want to book? Allow guests to search by therapist.
- Did you want to book any other appointments for that day, or for another day? Again, obviously this would allow guests to schedule multiple appointments.
- Did you want to book an appointment for yourself or for another person? Finally, you want them to be able to add guests to come with them in your booking software.
For a great customer experience, consider using email automation after the guests have booked. If you’re plagued by guests who reserve an appointment slot and constantly call to ask questions, reschedule, or worse, don’t show, this is the first automation you want to set up. (Here are a few tools we recommend to our clients in need of automation!)
When someone reserves an appointment and clicks “Schedule” in your booking software, they go into a funnel where they get an email with instructions for the day of their appointment, FAQs about your facility, and reminder emails of their appointment.
What should go in those emails? Well, think of the questions you get asked most often:
- Do you have a shower?
- Do you provide lockers for belongings?
- How much should I tip?
- Where do I park?
- If I have a gluten allergy, can I enjoy the snacks you provide?
- Do you have a dry sauna/steam room/whirlpool tub/quiet room?
You get the picture! Answer it in a clear, helpful email.
Then, you can follow up after their appointment with a thank you email including a special reward for their next visit and a reminder of their status in the loyalty program your spa offers (you do have a loyalty program, right?).
Avoid these online user experience issues at all costs
There are, naturally, pitfalls to avoid. The biggest pitfall is making your customer work too hard. They’ll be frustrated by your website and booking software. While you may want to stress them out so they need a massage, this is kicking off the user experience on the wrong foot. Remember, a fantastic guest experience starts before they’ve even entered your building.
On your website, do not: make your content hard-to-find, difficult to read, difficult to access or take more than two clicks to get to.
There are all kinds of ways that this can happen but some common ways are:
- Having hard-to-read fonts (either by style or size).
- Forcing your users to access your services menu in PDF format. This is so hard to read on a cell phone screen. We explain more about this in Horrible Mistakes to Avoid, Part 2.
- Poorly organizing your content and not putting essential information (like your contact information or how to book an appointment) front and center.
The key takeaways for a great guest experience
A great spa experience should start from the minute I start looking for info on how to book at treatment. A spa website should be easily accessible both on desktop and on mobile and I should be able to find the following info quickly and easily:
- Key information on treatments and not just fluffy-sounding marketing spiels
- How much for how long (cost and time of treatment)
- Spa amenities
- Where your spa is located
Software is also a big part of having a great guest experience online. You’ll also want to ensure that your booking software considers all questions someone may have while booking, including booking with specific therapists, bringing guests, and adding multiple services to their day.
Finally, send out an email with other pertinent information in case they missed it on your confirmation email or FAQ page. The more places you address their questions, the more they feel taken care of and like a valuable client.