What our mystery shoppers look for in spa accomodation….

From the moment our mystery shoppers step into the bedroom it should say to them, ’this is a spa bedroom’; a place of tranquility and rest to support the rest of their experience.

Colours should promote a restful haven in which to escape from the world. Neutral colours are more universally acceptable to guests for a relaxing sleep environment. The safest colour choices are neutrals, warm beiges and soft colours. The room should help the guest to unwind and relax.

Cleanliness is essential. Our mystery shoppers are trained to carry out tests in key areas of the bedroom and bathroom to certify deep cleaning has taken place as well as surface cleaning. Mattress and pillow cleanliness is also paramount. Checks for stains and smells are employed for a hygienic good nights rest. Floor cleanliness is very important; the guest needs to feel that they can walk on the carpet and use the shower without the need for footwear.

Noise levels are important for a relaxing retreat. Carpeted hallways keep the noise levels to a minimum, as do triple pane windows and keeping guest rooms away from service and lift areas. No one wants to be woken up on a spa break early in the morning to the sound of service trolleys trundling up and down the hallway, or to be woken up late at night with other guests noisily entering and leaving the lift. Disturbed sleep can give a negative ‘halo’ effect to the spa stay so keep noise levels to a minimum wherever you can.

Lighting can make a big difference to the perceived relaxation level of the stay. Rooms lit with warm-hue lights rank better in our mystery shopping reports than rooms lit with cold or blue-hue lights. Dimmer lights are also useful and there should be enough lighting, particularly in the bathroom, for tasks that need good light. Small LED lights from clocks, televisions and air conditioning units can be annoying for  guests so our mystery shoppers test this out too once the lights are turned off for the night.

The branding in the room should be seamless between the spa and the accommodation. If a guest has chosen a modern, state of the art spa then a ‘yesteryear’ feel in the rooms may not go down too well. Many of our shoppers comment that the brand of products used in the bathroom are often not the same as those used in the spa. It’s a tough call for a Therapist to recommend a premium spa product for use at home when the brand in the bathroom is from a generic brand of hotel skin care toiletries.

Think also about the aroma of the room – why not put the same aroma in the room as in the spa? It helps to give a seamless customer experience. Some of the spas we visit invest in a ‘signature aroma’ which is used in both the spa, the rooms and the hallways linking the two.

The temperature and ventilation needs to be considered carefully too. A comfortable temperature of around 18 degrees centigrade is acceptable to most guests and our mystery shoppers check the temperature as well as the ability to alter this and the ability to allow fresh air to enter into the room.

The spa industry is highly competitive so any unexpected touches to ‘delight’ your guests which do not cost you a fortune is something that makes them feel special and emotionally confirms that they have made the right decision with their spa choice. We visited a spa which had a special yoga television channel and a yoga mat in the bedroom. Our mystery shoppers check the snacks that are on offer in the room. Are they reflecting the health messages promoted in the spa? Or is the fridge stacked with mars bars and bottles of alcohol?

Thinks about your fixtures and fittings in your spa bedrooms. Are they supportive for a spa stay? A spa that one of our mystery shoppers rated very highly had a ‘beautiful teak bath in the bathroom which made the spa stay feel extra special and ‘spa-like’”.

If budget is limited for fixtures and fittings at least ensure that the spa literature is prominent in the room to entice guests to peruse the spa menu and to entice them to book additional treatments. Browsing a well-designed spa menu can be one of the greatest pleasures of a spa guest.

Whatever you offer your guests make sure it is a haven in which to escape from the pressures of the outside world.

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