Luxury hotel spas showed mixed operating results for the full year 2009. The summary Spa STAR data shows that the Average Treatment Rate (ATR) was reported at US$135.39, a 4.5 percent decline compared with full-year 2008. For full-year 2009, Average Treatment Room Utilization (ATRU) increased 3.5 percent to 31.1 percent.
The results were helped by a relatively strong fourth quarter, benefitting from the positive comparison against the fourth quarter of 2008, which was the beginning of the global recession.
The trend of luxury hotel spas “buying” utilization or occupancy by sacrificing rate and revenue is mirroring the performance of the U.S. luxury hotel industry. For that segment, Average Daily Rate (ADR) declined 16.3 percent in 2009 to US$243. For the same period, demand declined 0.6 percent, but the unprecedented influx of almost 8,000 new rooms, or 8.9 percent of existing supply, caused occupancy to fall 8.7 percent.
“The positive growth in the treatment room utilization (+3.5 percent) is more robust than the decrease in guestroom occupancy (-8.7 percent), which seems to be an indicator of the spa’s ability to capture hotel guests as well as attract a local audience to the spa,” said Jan Freitag, STR’s vice president of global development.
For salons in luxury hotel spas, Average Salon Rate (ASR) and Average Station Utilization (ASU) declined for the year. Again, the relatively strong fourth quarter comparables eased the poor performance through September. For 2009, ASR declined 3.6 percent to US$59, and ASU dropped 9.3 percent to 19.5 percent.
“When comparing luxury hotel spas’ 2009 ATR (US$135.40) and the ASR (US$59) to the luxury hotel industry’s ADR (US$243), it might bring up the question as to whether the spa segment will receive increasing attention from general managers going forward,” Freitag said. “After all, a hotel room can only be sold once per night, while a spa treatment room can be sold multiple times a day.”
STR expects the U.S. lodging industry to show signs of stabilization during 2010, starting at the upper end of the chain-scale spectrum. This top-down recovery should also aid the participants in our luxury Spa STAR sample as group and transient business travelers take to the road once more and leisure travelers continue to shop for value.
About the Spa STAR Report
Spa STAR is a new benchmarking program for spas produced by STR showing major performance metrics in the area of spa treatments, salon and retail. It enables tracking of a spa’s Average Treatment Rate (ATR) and Average Treatment Room Utilization (ATRU) as well as Average Salon Rate (ASR) and Average Salon Station Utilization (ASSU). Having been recently introduced with limited data from the luxury segment, plans are to increase participation, expand to other hotel segments and eventually include the day spa market during 2010.
About STR & STR Global
For more than 20 years, Smith Travel Research has been the recognized leader for lodging industry benchmarking and research. Smith Travel Research and STR Global offer monthly, weekly, and daily STAR benchmarking reports to more than 36,000 hotel clients, representing nearly 5 million rooms worldwide. STR is headquartered in Hendersonville, Tenn., and STR Global is based in London. For more information, visit www.smithtravelresearch.com or www.strglobal.com.