The Lost Art of the Bath

Jenny Farrand

As Universal Companies’ Director of Education, I frequently travel for business. When I book my online accommodations, I have a slight….um…ok….ENORMOUS obsession with hunting for the best hotel bathtub within 100 miles of my destination. If it fits in my travel budget, I always book a room with a sizeable tub. I also pack a plethora of bath salts, oils, teas, and vials of essential oils, even if only for a one night stay, since I never know what aroma will be most pleasing or which muscle will be sorest at the end of the day.  At home, I suffer with a diminutive vinyl tub that requires a fetal –positioned soak that only submerges about a quarter of my 5’2 frame at a time. So depressing.

I know that I may be slightly more passionate about my tub addiction than most, but I am not alone in my affection for a good soak.  Why then are so many hydrotherapy treatment rooms sitting un-booked?

If a treatment room contains only an empty tub (as many do), there’s no potential for revenue. So, let’s explore a few ideas to re-energize your spa’s hydrotherapy treatment business.

1. Create a sense of fun with a bath bar.  Clients love to feel like they are getting a unique experience in the spa, and this is such an inexpensive way to create a sense of real luxury.  Set up a beautiful, interactive bath bar with a variety of raw salts, herbs, and aromatherapy oils in attractive apothecary jars with informative, rustic handwritten properties outlining the attributes of each variety. As a member of your spa team brings a guest to the bath, he or she should give the guest a brief introduction on how to create a custom blend to be placed into a muslin bag and used as a therapeutic bath tea, which doubles as an aromatic bath sponge after the salts infuse into the water. Be sure to have the tub ¾ full of very warm water, and instruct the guest on temperature adjustment. Setting a timer with a Zen chime will gently remind your guest when it is time to exit the bath, and hopefully, prepare for their next treatment! Baths do not require a therapist or long periods of time to be effective, so they should be priced minimally and scheduled for 15 or 20 minute time periods, allowing 10-15 minutes for a staff member to thoroughly sanitize and re-set the room between clients. Be sure to retail the essential oil blends offered, and explain how to create a warm cleansing face compress or aromatic bath to continue the experience at home.

2. Create sanctuary. Does your soaking room need a makeover? Many hydro rooms look clinical, austere, and unwelcoming.  We know that this is for proper sanitation (which is of the highest importance not only for your clients’ safety but also their trust and loyalty) but try to create a lush feel with high quality towels and linens, fresh flowers, gentle music, and relaxing lighting (Clusters of LED candles in real wax columns work amazingly well.)

3. Market, market, market! The simplest cost-free way to get the word out? Prepare your hydro room in all its candle-lit glory whether you have treatments booked there or not, being sure to walk each client by, showing them your beautiful bath bar upon arrival.  Mention that there is availability following their scheduled service if they would like to book a private soak. Take photos of the bath bar or use stock photos featuring a mortar and pestle brimming with herbs and salts and place in changing areas, inviting guests to indulge before or after other treatments.  Tastefully include the price so that they are aware of how affordable a few extra minutes of luxury can be.  Include a soak in all treatment packages, as it is the easiest thing to discount without affecting your bottom line. Offer a complementary soak with every facial or massage as an incentive for clients to schedule a treatment during the slowest times in the spa.

A small investment and renewed enthusiasm can go a long way to revitalize your hydrotherapy bookings.   If you’re interested in more suggestions in creating a hydrotherapy menu, please contact me .

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