The mountain resort industry has been expanding its offering to include more and more revenue streams and activities to maintain competitiveness and to keep customers coming back year around. Zip-lines, mountain coasters, water parks, retail, restaurants, indoor skating, golf, and spas are all on the menu now. Of those, I suggest that the spa offers the best opportunity to reach the female head of household - whether she's a skier or not, and perhaps pull some of those non-skiers into the sport. To gauge that market demand, I use a very simple tool: Google. The following the comparative results for people searching for "ski resort", "golf resort", and "spa resort", are quite eye opening.
"Ski Resort" = 120,000 searches per month (Google) "Golf Resort" = 160,000 searches per month (Google) "Spa Resort" = 4,000,000 searches per month (Google)
Over 4 million people went to Google and typed in "spa resort". Not just "spa", but "spa resort". If you're a resort marketer with a spa, this is very good news for you, because this is the same demographic that every ski area is targeting: the female head of household. If you can reach that spa resort customer, there's a great opportunity there to pull them also into skiing and deepen the yield.
Curious to see how other resorts are presenting their spa services online, I checked out a number of the bigger ski resort's sites. To generalize, I rarely found little more than a section of a site with a page or two that offered contact info and a service menu. That's like having a ski resort site with ticket prices and directions. A few spas took it upon themselves to create their own site. Fewer had the resources to do it well, and even fewer keep it up to date.
So how can we attract spa-specific customers to the resort?
1. Create a separate site for the spa that is specifically tailored to reflect the unique experience offered. 2. Cross promote from the primary site to the spa site. Make sure to have a well optimized section on the main site to capture the SEO value. 3. Online Marketing. Don't pinch here. Get a professional to thoroughly optimize the site for organic search and consider paid advertising channels (remember what the lifetime value of that customer is to help determine your spend limits) 4. Social Word of Mouth: Provide incentives for spa guests to share their experiences 5. Create content - video content - that tell the story, and which users can share via social. Remember, Youtube videos get high ranks for SEO because Google likes what people like. People like to watch TV.
Resort spas in particular also have an opportunity to capture customers outside their typical sweet-spot (females north of 30), to include more men. All those (aging) skiers and riders banging themselves up on the mountain may need more than ibuprofen and a cocktail. The industry has long been challenged by cracking the male market. My suggestion: do something about these white robes - its really impossible to not feel like a dork in one.