G A M I N G & L E I S U R E F A L L 2 0 1 0 7 0 2 . 5 4 7 . 4 5 4 558
Two years back, in the
Spring 2008 issue, I
addressed the topic of
achieving a positive return
on investment in Spa
Technology. The article
Setting one of the hottest hospitality trends of recent
four and five star resort. To maintain competitive
positioning and retains market share, established
resorts are also adding spas to existing facilities. For
most resort properties however, the spa is not expect-
ed to be a significant contributor to the bottom line.
Rather, the spa is added to compliment their core
business of selling rooms or real estate – not as a
device to drive new business. Knowing the spa may
well be a marginal financial contributor to overall
resort operations, considerations must be given to
how much they invest in spa technology.
As if considerations that a spa’s marginal finan-
cial contributions weren’t enough to make an
investment difficult to justify, the 2008-9 glob-
al recession had magnified the spa owner’s con-
cerns about a significant tech investment.
Traditional spa IT implementations required a
significant investment in hardware, software,
databases, implementation assistance, training
and additional IT staff. For a typical resort, the
up-front investment could range from US$
25,000 to US$ 50,000 or more. This would
provide the resort’s spa with a Spa Booking
System, Reception, POS, Inventory, and inte-
gration to the PMS.
For multi-property, multi-national groups, this
would be the expected investment at each spa
site whether it be in New York, Hong Kong,
Zurich, etc. The cumulative effect would be a
rather hefty and prohibitive investment for any
In recent years however, SaaS (Software-as-a-
Service) has been making its way into various
industries. SaaS is a software distribution model
in which applications are hosted by a service
provider and are available to end-users over a
network, typically the Internet.
Since the SaaS model provides a hosted solution,
the up-front investment is minimal. Typically
the only required investments would be inter-
net-capable workstation(s) and a small initial
payment. Gone is the need to invest in a Server,
software, DB engine, backup facilities, etc.
“In terms of ROI,” Joel Friedman, Director of
Sales and Marketing at Priverus Software states,
“we are able to quantify an ROI on Gross Sales
of between 10-20% via a specifically targeted
client interview process in which the client
assigns a value to our various benefits and we
calculate the ROI on the cumulative results of
this benefits analysis. Upon completion of the
analysis we provide the client with a formal
report that identifies the benefits, the relative
value assigned by the client and the final ROI.
“Given that the client provides all their own
input and valuations, even we have been sur-
prised to see results indicative of an annual
return of over $200k on annual sales of $1.5
million with a cost of our software at only about
$15k/yr. Its therefore a relatively easy decision
for the client to accept spending $15k/yr for our
software and add $200k/yr to their bottom
line based on the unique benefits our system
provides to increase revenue and reduce costs,”
As many SaaS models charge based on transac-
tions fees, it’s a pay-as-you-go investment. Slow
periods will result in small IT payments, while
busier times will require a higher payment.
However, based on a small transactions fee,
investment matches ability to pay.
Some of the benefits of SaaS:
No Investment in a Server. A significant savings
alone. The data resides securely on a remote
server accessible through the internet. Roger
Sholanki, CEO at Book4Time mentions that
“there’s a strong ROI for Spas to deploy a SaaS
solution compared to traditional software.
When our clients implement Book4Time they
don’t have to purchase expensive servers, operat-
ing systems or hire IT consultants to help
deploy the system.”
Web-based, accessible from anywhere at any
time. In recent months I’ve met with several
corporate Spa Directors responsible for spas
spanning the globe. Over a late dinner with one
near my home in Seminyak, Bali, she pointed
out that it’d be ideal if she could call up spa sta-
tistics from her iPhone using the restaurant’s
WiFi. She’s an American Spa Director based in
New Delhi and wanted to access all their spa
data wherever she was travelling. In two week
timeframe she had plans to be in Bali, Lombok,
Bangkok, Katmandu and in New Delhi.
Immediately accessible data would be ideal,
which a SaaS model provides.
59S U B S C R I B E F R E E A N D Y O U C O U L D W I N $ 1 0 0 0 ! S E E W E B S I T E F O R D E T A I L S .
WEB-BASED SOFTWARE-AS-A SERVICE MATCHING TECHNOLOGY
Designed to add a new site within minutes.
There’s no more need to receive and implement a
full DB from a remote site. Log into the SaaS
provider, and the new location is soon ready to go.
No hardware compatibility issues. Yet anoth-
er global spa director had been discussing soft-
ware options and how that’d impact current
hardware she used. Whereas their corporate
directive was for MS-Windows compatible hard-
ware throughout, she preferred to use an Apple
MacBook. Through a SaaS model, hardware
compatibility is no longer an issue. Most hard-
ware with internet capability should be compat-
ible, whether it be Windows, Linix, Apple Mac,
iPhone, Blackberry, etc.
Free software updates. No longer a need to
take delivery of patches and updates. All soft-
ware fixes and upgrades are at the vendor’s site.
Traditional upgrade methods have typically
become a major event, trying to coordinate
upgrades on multiple sites around the world.
With SaaS, all updates are immediately useable
by each and every site around the world.
Reduced cost of support (in many cases it’s
built into the transactions fee).
Free trial. As there’s no need to invest in hardware
or DBs, some SaaS providers will allow a trial period
to ensure the technology is a good fit for the spa.
Additional IT staff will likely not be required.
No long-term commitment. Since a traditional
software purchase is often a significant invest-
ment, most sites would be committed to it long-
term regardless of the benefit achieved. With
many SaaS solutions, there are no long-term com-
mitments, often with easy termination clauses.
I have been familiar with CRM systems using
the SaaS model for quite a long time (SalesForce,
Zoho, etc). At first I hesitated to put my contact
database on a remote site, preferring to maintain
it on my notebook computer.
I am into my fourth year using a web-based CRM sys-
several notebook computers. I’ve been able to access my
data from mobile phones, various internet café’s, restau-
rants, clubs, etc. I’ve also accessed my web-based CRM
from airport lounges in Bangkok, Singapore, Tokyo,
to vital business data.
Based in Bali, Bill has been consulting, installing
and supporting solutions in the global golf and
leisure industry since 1982. He has been involved
from North America to Africa to Asia & Australia.