Catherine "Cat" Seda

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Marketing Tips for Resorts & Spas

Spas, spas, spas. I love spas. All technology and no spa time makes me a cranky Cat.

And as an Internet marketer, I can't help evaluating spa & resort web sites as a customer as well as a consultant. If any resort, spa or travel-related marketing executive is reading this...please re-evaluate your photos because they could be losing clients!

Give us the full experience online.

Well, as much of it as you can. We don't need to see close-up photos of someone getting a massage. We know what that looks like. Forget the zoomed-in photos of flowers or massage oil. Instead, show us your spa so we can see it and feel it. Show us the entire hotel room so we can get a sense of your resort's style. We want to know, "does the bed look like luxury?" Skip the close-up shot of a couple eating dinner. Instead show us a photo of your dining room, and several of your grounds. We're investing in an experience. So give us photos that enable us to sample yours.

Several years ago, my mom, sister and I were planning a weekend getaway. We all surfed the web and the photos of The Lodge in Rancho Mirage (previously The Ritz-Carlton) won us over. We saw quiet serenity atop a fairly isolated hilltop. The photos sold us and that vision was validated when we arrived. Not only did we become repeat guests, we sang praises to anyone who listened.

Do your resort & spa photos sell your full experience?

Be careful not to over-sell and under-deliver, however. Last year, I experienced my first disappointment with trick photography. The dim lighting made the hotel room look a lot more upscale than it was. Had I stayed there in peak season, I would have been furious having paid the high-season rate for what had been over-promised online.

I'm an adventurous soul. While I cherish the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa and Red Mountain Spa, I'm open to exploring new retreats. Replace your zoomed-in, overly-artistic photographs with ones that show me (and my fellow travelers) what I'll see and feel if I chose you.

P.S. I'm open to being hired as a Secret Spa Shopper anytime!



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