Flexibility key to dealing with spa cancellations

Pre-paid packages, courtesy calls, and relationship building can help avoid or deal with cancellations, experts say

The panellists on stage.
The panellists on stage.

Panellists at the Hotelier Middle East Spa & Wellness Forum 2015 discussed ways to deal with cancellations – a prevalent concern in the industry.

During a panel discussion titled Spa as a Lifestyle, Kalon Spa Consultancy managing director Lulu Katrevesis asked the group how they address last minute cancellations at spas.

Commenting on the need to build a relationship, Gates Hospitality chief executive officer Naim Maadad said: “It’s about building a long term relationship and how you deal with the cancellation process. Today it’s so easy to get on the phone and cancel a reservation, so I think we need to be savvy and say ‘okay, if you can’t come today then let’s reschedule’ – secure that booking.

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“Turn that negative into a positive and make them feel that you’ve welcomed that cancellation with the hope that they’ll rebook again rather than seeming disgruntled.”

Heart & Soul Spa’s spa director Maria Antonela Axinte also pointed out how the practice of cancellation fees no longer applied, because it deters people from booking with the spa.

She explained: “Men and women today just avoid making appointments at spas that do have cancellation fees. At our spa we have a waitlist, and due to the popularity, when somebody cancels, we call the next available person on the waitlist.

Sofitel The Palm Resort & Spa Dubai spa manager Chané Sandor suggested offering pre-paid packages, that would help spas reduce their loss of revenue, and secure clients.

“What I also think helps is advanced packages, so you can purchase a package of five treatments and pay for them at one time. So it’s kind of like a loyalty programme – they’ve already paid for the five treatments, knowing they have to come and you can also be flexible with rescheduling their appointments.”

Sandor also highlighted the importance of courtesy calls by therapists to remind customers of their appointments, which would also give the team enough time to fill in an open spot in case of a cancellation.

Spadunya owner and chief executive officer Shahida Siddque revealed her outlets also offer prepaid packaged

The Hotelier Spa & Wellness Forum, took place today March 10 at Grosvenor House Dubai and was attended by more than 160 spa & wellness professionals from the UAE and beyond.

The event was in association with Lucrea General Trading and exhibitors at the event were ManageMySpa and RNS Beauty Personal Care & Equipment.
 

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