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spa client reception

Trend Sorting – What is relevant for spas?

Hello to everyone, we hope your year is off to a good start!

The years are changing so quickly now that it’s becoming more difficult to remember what year it is, and the same goes for consumer habits.

Each new year brings a bevy of trend reports, which I always enjoy reading for their expert insights on particular sectors. Some of my favorites from this year include Retail trends from Shopify, Global Consumer trends from Euromonitor, and Skift’s Travel trends. The Global Wellness Institute always gives us detailed and relevant information on trends affecting the spa and wellness world in their global Wellness trends report. And this year, I found a really interesting piece on mindfulness trends in design:retail magazine, with examples that combine experiences and retailing. All of these are excellent reading on their own, and there are many ideas and concepts to glean and adapt to your own spa and wellness business needs. But after you read them all, you will probably see that there are really just a few macro trends that we need to adapt to.

Here are the big three that stood out to me.

The Culture of Me:

spa client receptionProbably a result of both the growing population and the explosion of technology attracting our time and attention, people just really want to stand out as an individual. Consumers don’t just want experiences, they want experiences that are tailored to THEM. You’ve no doubt seen the proliferation of DIY shops, where you can make artwork, or ceramics, or learn to cook. You can find myriad sources online where you can personally design clothes, sneakers, artwork, you name it, and have it delivered.

This concept certainly fits into what we deliver in spas – we just need to be hyper-focused on the personal aspect of personalized service. Greeting clients and establishing a real connection, using their name throughout their visit, and inviting them to return are no-brainers. But beyond that, how about simpler menus with swappable elements such as masking or hydrating steps? Perhaps a self-help mask or serum bar in the lounge or locker room? Customization options at retail, as pioneered by Bioelements many years ago, but possible in many iterations today. A beneficial side effect is that these options are not available online…

Community, in several versions:

  • Spa Communities TrendOne; consumers today, especially millennials, like to share their experiences with others. Going into a room for a treatment, alone with the technician, which boomers have always enjoyed, is presenting new challenges for spas. Quiet, dark, library-like spa spaces are not an appealing destination for many consumers today. This is a sea change that has to be handled from the design of facility and menu through marketing and operations. But it clear that socializing and enjoying experiences with others needs to be woven into our spa fabric.
  • Two; the sharing marketplace. The explosion of ride-sharing, co-living, co-working and material goods exchanging marketplaces is unprecedented. It has its roots in economic pressures, but once you get in the habit, it can feel wasteful to buy a new book when there are perfectly good “slightly used” options. Fortunately, spa experiences can’t be recycled! But what happens to slightly used or returned retail products, is there a women’s shelter that could use them? What about a “buy one, give one” promotion, a la Tom’s shoes? Just thinking out loud.

The Discount Mindset:

This is another concept that really took root during the recession, and has not gone away. Consumers have always been attracted to deals, and this holds true even in high-end and luxury markets. At Wynne Business, we have never been a fan of discounting spa services, but you do have to recognize the realities of your marketplace and adapt accordingly. If you are going to have to promote certain treatments in order to sell them, you will need to price them accordingly and preserve your margin.

Gift card promotions trend

Promotions that feature value-adds are always a good approach; a full-priced facial with a free mask or serum, or an 80-minute massage for the price of a 50-minute, still preserve your basic pricing but allow the consumer to feel they are getting a deal. How about a “bring a friend” promotion, that can also address the community aspect? It would appear that the search for a “deal” is here to stay, so your spa business has to participate while preserving profitability.

I’d love to hear your ideas and thoughts! Please visit our Facebook page and share your feedback.

 

 

Here’s to a successful year in 2016

Planning for Success in 2016Welcome to 2016!

The older I get, the more New Year’s Day reminds me of the movie Groundhog Day; I can’t believe it’s here again, already! The fact is, the more quickly the years tick by, the more urgency you may have as a business owner to avoid procrastinating in regards to your spa business.

New Year’s resolutions have actually been around since the ancient Babylonians marked the new year as a time to repay their debts and return borrowed objects, 4000 years ago. You know that list of changes you’d like to make, or new approaches you’ve been meaning to try? The time is now, no need to wait until another year, or two, or five, goes by. Select one activity from each of these four areas, and get to work!  Read more

Spa Startups: They’re ba-aack!

The recession may have battered the spa industry and shut down many facilities, but we’re finally seeing a resurgence in startups–many of whom aren’t even using the “S” word (that would be “spa”) to describe themselves. “Wellness” is a watchword for many of these next-generation businesses, but other trends inspiring spa entrepreneurs include co-working and organic lifestyles.

Few would-be spa owners understand just how much capital they’ll need to invest to get their new spa up and running–and to nurture it through its first 18 months, the critical make-or-break period. The pressure from competition is usually underestimated in new spa business plans, and these businesses can crash quickly if spa entrepreneurs are over-optimistic and under-funded.

At the high end of the market, spa guests are seeking a new approach to luxury that’s based on authentic experiences rather than over-the-top opulence. That doesn’t always translate into a strong demand for esoteric services, though. The services that guests say that they are interested in and the ones that they actually purchase (especially on a regular basis) can be very different. Creating an appealing but unique menu is a must. It’s expensive to educate the marketplace.

Whether they’re in an urban setting or a remote one, one of the biggest impediments to new spas’ growth is finding enough talented therapists. A solid in-house training program is critical to success in every market. Not only does it improve therapist quality, it aids in employee retention: spa workers value education very highly. Lower employee turnover pays off big in customer satisfaction and pure bottom-line profit.

While there are still spas for sale–a great way to fast track a startup and reduce project cost–many of them are not listed with business brokers and identifying them can take a special approach. Sometimes a would-be spa developer is too deeply in love with their particular vision to recognize a fabulous opportunity in a distressed business. Differentiating a “distressed” business  from a “toxic” one is critical.

To help this wave of entrepreneurs avoid the pitfalls of developing a spa or wellness business, a new one-day Spa Startup Workshop is being offered on Saturday, October 3, immediately prior to the Wynne Business Spa Director’s Management Intensive (October 4-6) in Philadelphia’s Historic District.

For more information about the seminars, visit our management seminars page or call 610.368.6660.

Tuition details, including earlybird and multiple registrant discounts.