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Customer Experience Examples In The Spa Industry: Pampering And Playful

Customer Experience Examples In The Spa Industry: Person getting hot stone massage

Great customer experience examples in the spa industry should be like experiencing a spa day itself: easy to find and soothing to write about.

After all, as one spa booking portal put it: “In the spa and hospitality world, guest experience is everything.”

Yet the sprawling personal care industry is wrestling with some of the same challenges facing many brands. Business has boomed over time, meaning there will be plenty of competitors down the street where customers can relax into a massage or get their hair and nails done.

And since spas are designed for a literally personal touch, they were hit especially hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, with many potential customers temporarily staying home.

So how did spas react? They doubled down on safety precautions and accelerated a smart expansion of their business model, moving beyond the traditional facials and massages to a broader focus on wellness.

But most of all, spas did – and are still doing – what they do best: offering an extraordinary customer experience. Often, that means nothing less than providing “extra pampering.”

Take the Jumeirah Zabeel Saray in Dubai, billed as “the world’s most luxurious spa experience.” At the hotel’s “marble-and mosaic-bedecked” Talise Ottoman Spa, guests can enjoy “a milk and rose oil bath, argan-oil massage, the use of an Arabian gold hammam [a type of steam bath], caviar lunch in the spa suite and a custom-made 24-karat gold facial mask.”

In the United States, there is “the ultimate indulgence” at The Peninsula Spa in Beverly Hills, Calif. Among its opulent offerings: a two-hour facial featuring diamond-tip microdermabrasion to resurface skin for “that dewy youthful glow,” an oxygen blast to firm and tone, and air massage to eliminate toxins.

At a more basic level, some spas relax their customers by being Witty, with fun signs posted in various spas that include these gems:

  • “Less stress.. More Facials.”
  • “So sorry, I couldn’t see you through the cucumbers on my eyes.”
  • “Until further notice, assume I’m out of the office.”

Roman Baths and the Red Door Salon

While spas are often associated with Roman baths, the history of spa treatments dates back thousands of years, including healing waters and hydrotherapy.

In the United States, a massive spa featuring two Greek revival hotels was established in Saratoga Springs, NY. in the early 19th century, while the first day spa was Manhattan’s famed Red Door Salon in 1910.

The industry boomed starting in the 1980s, and from 2007 to 2015, U.S. spa locations jumped from 71,762 to 121,595. COVID struck a blow, with U.S. spa visits dropping 35 percent between 2019 and 2020.

But studies project rapid growth again over the next few years, in part because spas are part of the post-COVID wellness economy. As one researcher noted: “Wellness’ now means far more than a facial or spin class, with a growing focus on mental wellbeing and the importance of work-life balance.”

Customer Experience Examples In The Spa Industry

Even with the broader approach, many spas are focusing on exceeding guest expectations with benefits like extravagant robes and accessories, top-of-the-line skin and hair care products, and complimentary drinks and snacks.

Some spas are taking that to heart, offering everything from gold facials – which can mean getting sheets of 24-karat gold leaf massaged onto your skin – to a glacial white caviar regenerating body scrub, featuring an oil-based texture formulated with Tahitian Volcanic Sand, Coconut Pulp, and a blend of Coconut and Bamboo powders.

Others are not quite as lavish, yet always keep the customer in mind.  For one salon owner, that means presenting guests with candy buffets and chai tea lattes while bringing her dogs to work.

For another spa, the offerings include body treatments, luxurious massages, skin care, nail care and hair services, along with a Chromotherapy Steam Room and a Halotherapy Salt Room.

The basic can also extend to the bizarre, such as beer bath hydrotherapy treatments – soaking in a warm bath infused with beer ingredients and herbs such as lavender and chamomile.

In Israel, adventurous souls can find snake massages, consisting of “an armful of wriggling snakes” dropped onto their naked bodies. In the United States, more locations are featuring a carp pedicure — immersing clients’ feet in tanks of water and allowing tiny carp to nibble away dead skin

Improving Customer Experience in the Spa Industry

While there are great customer experience examples in the spa industry, it’s always possible to do more.

Spas might want to follow the tenets of the WISER methodology for creating remarkable experiences, as featured in The Experience Maker. WISER stands for Witty, Immersive, Shareable, Extraordinary, and Responsive.

Experts recommend a range of smart customer experience ideas, from loyalty programs and annual memberships to giving customers a branded swag bag. Even the right kind of music can make the experience even more memorable

A spa training site has the right idea, recommending steps as basic as opening the door for guests, offering children cookies, and doing other “little things to create a warm and personal client experience.”

After all, in customer experience, it’s often the little things that matter most of all.


This is part of a series of industry articles featuring customer experience examples that any company can use. 

Image by Social Butterfly from Pixabay.

Dan was a speaker at the 2023 International Spa Association Conference in Las Vegas on May 9, 2023.


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