ISM’s Top 10 Spa Technology Trends for 2021
Welcome to ISM’s Top 10 Spa Technology Trends for 2021! Why the focus on technology and not more general trends, you ask? Because the time is now for revolutionary technology to lead the way in the spa industry. We are always on the lookout for innovative solutions for all members of the spa value chain – our facility partners, team members, and guests—especially in these challenging times. At the outbreak of the pandemic, all 20 spas we manage experienced layoffs and closures across the board. By leveraging technology, we were able to quickly welcome guests and therapists back once state-mandates allowed us to safely re-open.
Trend #1: Software-as-a-service (SaaS)
Software as a service (SaaS), also referred to as on-demand software, is software that is licensed on a subscription basis and centrally hosted. ISM has partnered with Spa Space, a new SaaS that delivers cost savings and revenue optimization while increasing customer satisfaction. A patent-pending algorithm perfectly matches customers with expert therapists at a location of their choice. For ISM managed spas, the ability to implement turnkey spa management solutions including payments, scheduling, local marketing, and therapist sourcing allowing spas to reopen with ease—delivers custom KPI reporting and dynamic yield management.
Trend #2: Contactless Booking
From the booking process to check-in and check out and product purchases, contactless booking enables safe and efficient remote transactions. In addition to the obvious safety of a touchless experience amid the pandemic, contactless booking allows guests control over their experience from start to finish. From an operational standpoint, maintaining central reservations and a reception desk for check-in and check-out was tying up valuable human resources. Moving to our new technology partner Spa Space has allowed us to reopen all of our spas with significantly lowered costs, implement smart staffing solutions and personalize spa services for our guests.
Trend #3: Dynamic Yield Management
Spas have traditionally been limited in their revenue management practices and relied on discounting, which ultimately erodes brand value. ISM runs reports on both demand and production to help our spas analyze their business so that they know how to dynamically price their treatments. We predict next-generation dynamic pricing will utilize sophisticated algorithms to match not only demand and supply, but detailed guest preferences, therapist skills, and preferred location. The Spa Space App offers custom KPI reporting and dynamic yield management to drive revenue while lowering costs.
Trend #4: Smart Technology as Recruiting and Retention Tool
The best spa technology frees people up to do what they do best. The Spa Space platform gives our provider partners full control over their schedules—leading to a sense of ownership. This “work where you want, when you want” mentality is much different than adhering to strict protocols in the treatment room due to precise brand standards. Therapists can make their own schedules while nurturing their individual talents and areas of expertise, leading to overall job satisfaction. In the words of one of our longtime team members Melissa Donaghy, LMT, “I love the schedule flexibility, real-time compensation, and feeling of empowerment.”
Trend #5: CRM for Precision Marketing
Technology enables a highly targeted, “rifle” versus a “shotgun” approach to marketing. The right message to the right guest or prospect increases capture rates, repeat business, and guest loyalty and engagement. Spa management software or CRM programs allow for market segmentation to divide your market into smaller, more defined categories based on similar characteristics. The more guests and prospects are segmented based on their similarities, (demographics, psychographics, behavior, geography, and lifecycle) the more effective your messaging. Resort hotel spas can leverage their CRM’s marketing functionality to have an opportunity to capture business by directly targeting and engaging with guests prior to their arrival. Hotel spas can target locals for memberships, staycation packages, and return visits.
Trend #6: Death of the Static Spa Menu
The days of the “one size fits all” spa model is gone. As guest needs become more individualized, effective use of technology has become critical. This need for “hyper-personalization” fundamentally changes the business model for how to attract, satisfy, and retain guests. ISM spas have eliminated the traditional spa menu and replaced it with customized massages and facials that meet guests’ personalized wellness needs. As a result, we have seen a 25% increase in guest satisfaction. In addition, our Spa Directors are freed from time-consuming administrative tasks and able to rebuild their business.
#7: High-Tech Touchless Treatments
Some spa-goers want to return to the spa but, for safety concerns, prefer a contactless experience. Luxury resorts are responding with high-tech touchless treatments, scientifically validated to address common wellness concerns like sleep, stress, pain, and immunity. Carillon Miami’s high tech and touchless wellness experiences feature The Gharieni Spa Wave, a computer-controlled acoustic and vibrational therapy, The Prism Light Pod which uses red light photobiomodulation therapy, The Rasha Body-Mind-Spirit, a vibrational frequency technology, and The VEMI all-in-one system which is a VibroAcoustic, ElectroMagnetic, and Infrared technology.
Trend #8: Investment in WellTech
Wellness technologies have exploded as people become increasingly educated and attuned to what they specifically need to keep their bodies and minds healthy. WellTech is opening the door to a new trillion-dollar market of Wellbeing-as-a-Service (WaaS). According to Trendium: A Compendium of Trends from the Global Wellness Summit, “Investors are taking notice of this demand for more mental health and mental wellness technology solutions: Start-ups in this space raised a record-breaking $1.37 billion in the first three quarters of 2020, handily outpacing the $1.06 billion invested in 2019 (PitchBook)…The trend is also being spurred by generational shifts, with millennials and Gen Z demanding easier access to therapy and psychiatry while also being much more focused on self-care and mental wellness solutions.”
Trend #9: Culture of Care
The Spa Space App has become the cornerstone of ISM’s culture of care by eliminating mundane administrative functions such as inventory management, scheduling, and payroll from our spa directors’ daily repertoire. By harnessing technology, they can be experience-makers and leaders rather than administrative workers. Why does having a culture of care matter? Because it impacts your bottom line: culture impacts employee engagement, which in turn affects absenteeism, retention, and productivity. Culture also impacts the guest experience: happy cultures produce happy employees and therefore happy guests.
Trend #10: Technology will Disrupt the Status Quo
Technology has disrupted every category of hospitality, and now, the era of technological innovation has begun for the spa industry. Our ability to adopt technology has been our saving grace during the pandemic. “ISM’s willingness to embrace new technology and create a personalized approach to booking guests appeals to the luxury scale client that we attract gives confidence that the world can again travel and enjoy the experience of a spa without the risk,” says Lori Kiel, Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer of The Kessler Collection. “Our partnership with ISM is what makes the spa viable.”