Mii amo: Creating a Bespoke Guest Experience in Sedona Arizona
Nestled among a geological wonderland of red rock towers, pinnacles and spires, Mii amo, a destination spa in Sedona, Arizona, embodies the luxury wellness vacation movement. With personalized guest experiences and immersive three-, four- and seven-night all-inclusive wellness packages, Mii amo caters to every whim of their guests. It also doesn’t hurt that Sedona has long been regarded by Native Americans as a place of healing and spiritual renewal. The resort was actually designed to harmonize with the Native American aesthetic and the surrounding red rock Boynton Canyon, both integral to the Mii amo experience. But even when located in “The Most Beautiful Place on Earth,” a spa can face many challenges, ones that Mii amo’s Spa Director Doreen Young faces with special attention to guest satisfaction and employee education.
Surpassing Guests’ Expectations
As a destination spa, Mii amo faces the unique challenge of surpassing the expectations of spa loyalists year after year. After falling in love with the Mii amo Journey experience, guests often opt to increase the duration of their next stay at the spa. This may not seem like a major issue (or an issue at all), but it forces Young to constantly reinvent the experience and menu for every guest, while staying true to Mii amo’s roots.
“In our boutique environment, keeping the experiences fresh, bespoke and meaningful is key,” Young notes. “Our menu is constantly evolving, and this is a process that takes time.”
In keeping with their Native American heritage, Mii amo works with trusted advisors and local tribal leaders to ensure the authenticity of the spa’s treatments and programs. The spa has to reflect the history and significance of the area, while remaining modern and indulgent for guests. It’s a hard balance to strike, but this process allows Young to cultivate a spa menu that is completely unique to Mii amo.
“For example, we just launched a new spa menu, which introduces several treatments that you can’t find anywhere else in the world,” says Young. “The meaningfulness, authenticity and allure of our menu of treatments and activities, found only at Mii amo, makes each visit better than the last for our loyal guests.”
One of the most productive methods of introducing innovating and unique treatments is tapping into Mii amo’s own talent pool. “Our world-class therapists deeply care for our guests and dedicate their time to the creation of iconic treatments,” adds Young. This experimental culture not only helps keep guests’ experiences fresh, but also improves the job satisfaction of Mii amo’s therapists. “This allows Mii amo to attract the most talented therapists in the world who are birthing the trends as opposed to following them.”
Because their therapists have such an important role at the spa, Young makes it a point to invest in their success. She says that her goal is to not only provide the obvious training opportunities such as additional continuing education and specialized in-house training, but also to set the standard in providing an inspirational environment where the unique gifts of individual therapists are shared with others so the entire team rises higher. Marketing the Experience While the team at Mii amo loves catering to their loyalists, the marketing team still works tirelessly to attract new guests to the resort. “We have a marketing team at our Enchantment Group corporate office who truly understands the destination spa market,” raves Young. The team uses a targeted marketing approach that relies heavily on digital marketing to reach that niche luxury destination spa guest. Young tends to leave the marketing decisions to the experts, but believes their content and campaigns are always “relevant, inspirational and truly evocative of the Mii amo experience.”
In house, Young and her staff rely on social media to get the word out about happenings at the resort, as well as reach their target customers on a personal level. “Our social media campaigns allow us to connect with our customers through their chosen channels, creating relevant conversations with guests and potential guests on topics such as keeping resolutions, striving to be more and prioritizing self-care.” Conversing with guests about topics they are interested in does a far better job of selling the Mii amo brand than posts that come off as advertisements.
Spa Quick Facts
Spa open date: January 2001
Facilities/amenities: 16 guest rooms, 18 treatment rooms, 5 outdoor treatment areas, indoor and outdoor pools, library, retail boutique and the 80-seat Mii amo Café
Percentage of guests (male vs. female): 18% male, 82% female
Number of full-time spa staff: 71
Product lines used: Private Collection Mii amo Products, Éminence Organic Skin Care, La Bella Donna
Most used marketing channel: Mii amo website
Phone Number: 1.844.993.9518
YHI Spa at the Paradisus Palma Real Golf & Spa Resort: Overcoming Obstacles to Create a Caribbean Wellness Destination
The Dominican Republic is the most visited destination in the Caribbean, and Punta Cana, where the YHI Spa at Paradisus Palma Real Golf & Spa Resort is located, is the country’s crown jewel. Known for its pristine white beaches, plethora of resorts and abundance of tourist attractions, Punta Cana is a traveler’s paradise. Even in paradise, Spa Director Arabelle del Pilar Rosario faces the same woes all spa directors are challenged with: staffing shortages, retail sales, and meeting the needs of the all-knowing consumer.
The Language Barrier
Because the Dominican Republic is a primarily Spanish-speaking country, most of YHI Spa’s therapists are not fully bilingual. The problem is, 90 percent of guests speak English. In order for therapists to better communicate with guests, YHI employs spa consultants who not only facilitate the duties of a typical receptionist, but also help guide customers through the spa and retail experience.
“We’ve also created prescription cards in both English and Spanish for therapists to recommend products and daily home care routine,” says Rosario. “From there, the spa consultants can assist the therapist in the sales process to enhance the service and communication.” These cards are a great communication tool because they include both English and Spanish descriptions, allowing both therapist and guest to be on the same page.
While language between staff and guests can create a huge barrier, finding qualified staff members in the first place has been a big challenge for Rosario. “One of the challenges is finding people with accurate skills. It takes months to fill just one position,” she notes.
Since it can be so difficult to find staff members, Rosario takes extra steps to ensure her staff is happy, performing well, and sticks around for the long haul.
“I make sure to evaluate the potential skill of each member of the team and, based on their strengths, work with them to set goals for each month,” Rosario explains. She encourages staff to brainstorm together to accomplish their goals and even go outside the spa to involve other hotel departments. Encouraging creativity and teamwork throughout her staff not only keeps them engaged, but also helps cross train them on several aspects of the spa business.
Meeting Guests’ Wellness Needs
As the wellness boom continues to grow, Paradisus Palma Real, which is already known for its golf and spa amenities, is perfectly positioned to meet the needs of those well-minded guests.
“Our spa clients know more about healthy living, healing therapies, detox and exactly what is good for them than ever,” notes Rosario. “Which is why we are preparing a big marketing platform to introduce our resort as a wellness destination, where the client not only comes to Paradisus Palma Real for the hotel attributes and beautiful rooms, but also to enjoy a healthy vacation with healing therapies from Asia and the Dominican Republic, healthy food, outdoor detox activities, and to return home completely renewed.”
To introduce this new concept to potential guests, Rosario and the Melia corporate brand hope to share spa experiences via their social platforms, world news networks, and through healthy living websites and blogs. They’re reaching out to like-minded consumers.
“We try to pack the menu update with trends that meet our repeat clients’ needs as well as meet the growing standards of wellness-minded spa guests,” says Rosario. “These enhancements will improve our standards and create a memorable spa experience.”
Spa Quick Facts
Spa projected open date: 2005
Facilities/amenities: 2,200 meters, 16 treatment cabins, two water ritual facilities with sauna, steam room, and Jacuzzi. Zen Area for muay thai classes, thai chi, Zumba, pilates, yoga and kick boxing
Percentage of guests (male vs. female): 50/50
Product lines used: Sothys, Skin Fitness and Pevonia
Most used marketing channel: Facebook
Phone number: 1.809.688.5000