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Each hotel or spa resort can increase occupancy by a few points at a time by seeking new markets through creative promotions. Everyone can improve spas, beginning with their own business.

Following are some basic ideas designed to help spa directors and hoteliers create innovative programs to attract more customers.

Make marketing a major priority of management and operations.

Everyone must help book spa business.Hold brain-storming sessions with employees. They all have ideas in how to attract more spa guests.Create spa business for slow periods through promotions. If you don't know how, learn from others.Study each segment of your occupancy and increase one or two percentage points at a time through hard selling, promoting, and advertising.Use focus groups and surveys to find out what customers want, then give it to them.Understand that everyone at your property must be market-oriented.

Know that everyone must sell, beginning at the top.Offer more incentives for sales people. Reward anyone who can book group business and spa packages.Take market share and build occupancy forcefully.Communicate to the customer how you are different than your competition.

Don't take for granted that they know your spa, your property and your services. They probably don't.Use a marketing mission planning team consisting of department heads and the spa director who have involvement in producing revenue.Hold monthly marketing reviews discussing the next 90 days and next year's plan.Do a marketing audit to determine which economic or cultural trends are affecting your hotel, your spa and local community.Don't spend money on reaching customers who are unlikely buyers.Be careful that you don't cover too much geography. You need to focus on targeting certain markets such as those that are close and accessible.Make sure your marketing campaigns are well-timed.Don't issue the same promotional message to every group.

Produce different brochures for different groups.Build a profile of your top spa customers and promote their return.Return to basics. You need more face-to-face salesmanship by   your entire staff.Make internal sales meetings exciting. Use role playing and other
techniques to generate ideas on how sales executives can better perform.

Maintain a contingency marketing budget. Be ready to launch a new advertising or spa promotional campaign.Provide incentives for front desk clerks and massage therapists to sell. Produce and send newsletters on upcoming events at your property to former guests.Tap family or reunion business.Read newspapers for information about corporation relocations.Jump on the bandwagon. Discover what other spas around the country are doing successfully and follow their lead.Barter with local radio and television stations for commercial time.

Offer spa treatments and surplus rooms for commercials.Book tour groups. They can help build spa business right away.Target baby boomers. They represent a huge market.Make sure travel agents know who you are. Send them direct mail pieces and have your sales reps visit them.Talk to your customers.