Price sensitive day visitors increase number of spa treatments by 7 percent but overall revenue grows 4 percent – as business mix shifts away from hotel residents, says survey to be revealed at The Hotel Show

Dubai , UAE – May 17, 2009:  The popularity of visiting spas has increased as people look for ways to manage stress in the economic downturn, according to a new survey. But spa consumers are becoming more cost-conscious, the survey adds.

Details of the first monthly regional benchmarking initiative for spas are to be outlined later this month at the Middle East Spa Summit, part of The Resort Experience at The Hotel Show taking place at the Dubai International Exhibition and Convention Centre on 24-26 May 2009.

The Ernst & Young Spa Benchmark Survey Report tracks and compiles the performance of Dubai’s five-star hotel spas on a monthly and year-to-date basis and the report’s author Ms Nikita Sarkar, spa specialist within the Ernst & Young Middle East Hospitality and Leisure team, will be outlining how the survey tracks ten key metrics.

“It already appears, however, that the popularity of visiting spas has not diminished as consumers are increasingly looking for ways to manage stress,” said Maggie Moore, Exhibition Director for The Hotel Show. “The survey results indicate an increase in the number of spa treatments booked by 7 percent from January to March 2009. But it is also clear consumers are becoming more price-sensitive as treatment revenue increased only by 4 percent over the same period.”

The survey showed the business mix of spa guests appearing to shift towards day visitors. Within beach hotels, the year-to-date split of spa treatments booked by hotel guests versus non-hotel guests is 56 percent and 44 percent. In city hotels, the year-to-date split of spa treatments booked by hotel guests versus non-hotel guest is 47 percent and 53 percent. The percentages of treatments booked by hotel guests in both types of hotels were down from 60 percent and above, as estimated by spa operators last year.

“This trend could be a result of a decline in hotel occupancies along with hotel guests tightening their belts due to lower travel budgets,” say Ernst & Young. “It also indicates a greater interest for spa visits among Dubai’s resident population in response to special packages offered by spas that target residents.”

Ernst & Young Middle East says that until now there has been an absence of consistent metrics to measure performance within the spa industry. The new initiative aims to give spa operators and hotels a chance to review their operations objectively and benchmark them against existing standards in Dubai.

Sarkar added: “An innovative, and as yet relatively unused metric covered in the Spa Benchmark Report is the RevPATH or revenue per available treatment hour. This is conceptually similar to the RevPAR (revenue per available room) metric currently used by hotels. The measure allows for true comparison of operational performance over different types of spas by presenting revenue generated over a time period of 60 minutes.”

The Resort Experience at The Hotel Show will feature outdoor furniture, accessories, design, spa equipment and supplies and is one of four sectors of the show. The others are: Technology and Security; Interiors and Design; and Operating Equipment and Supplies.

Industry partner for The Hotel Show is Hepo; Corporate Catwalk sponsor is A Ronai; the hotel sponsor for the conference and summit is the Grand Millennium Hotel; audio-visual sponsor is Almoe and the conference producers are D’Events.

For more information about The Hotel Show, please visit: www.thehotelshow.com

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