Men are visiting spas in record numbers. According to an International Spa Association (ISPA) survey conducted by Pricewaterhouse-Coopers, male spa guests jumped from 33 percent to 47 percent in 2012, after remaining steady at one-third of the spa-going population for a number of years. The spike is a good indication that spas are now reaching men more effectively. “A lot of that has to do with spas catering to men, changing the service menu a little bit, the fragrance of essential oils they’re using, and what magazines are in the men’s relaxation areas,” says Lynne McNees, ISPA president. “Spas have become much more men-friendly.” But there is still room for growth to maintain the momentum. “Offering result-driven products and treatments to specifically address men’s skin concerns is just the first step,” says Tino Lerma, global corporate trainer for Pevonia. “You can’t simply add men’s products and treatments to your spa menu and promotional materials and expect them to come.”
Master the Art of Marketing
Reserve the pampering promotions for female guests, and instead, focus on results and specialized services to attract men to your spa. “Men appreciate value-driven opportunities and packages,” says Carol Stratford, vice president of marketing at Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa (Tucson, AZ). “They prefer when packages emphasize the health and wellness benefits as opposed to the pampering benefits that women appreciate.” In addition, hosting specific men’s events can set your spa apart and reach guys who are hesitant to visit. “Designate a day for men, like ‘Military Mondays’ or ‘It’s a Guy Thing Thursdays,’ with sports on the TV and snacks and beverages that are considered more masculine,” says Lerma. “Men will be more comfortable with other men around when they visit the spa.” Spa Walden (Aurora, OH) was designed to attract men and non-spa-goers, says spa director Jenessee Roy, and it has, with 47 percent male clients. “We invite only men into the spa for bourbon tastings, cigar rolling, massages, barbering services, and poker,” says Roy. “We sell out every time, and men buy packages and gift cards.” In addition to men-only nights, Spa Walden also hosts the NFL Rookie Symposium and uses this event to persuade men to experience spa treatments like the professional football players do.
Couples’ packages are another effective way to introduce men to the benefits of spa treatments. Spa director Laura Santiago at The Spa at The Setai Miami Beach (FL) has found success—42 percent of visitors are men—with romantic treatments for two, such as The Setai Love Bath Ceremony ($150, 30 minutes). This bath, a relaxing love-potion soak in the oversized terrazzo bath, accompanied by Champagne and canapés, is an ideal add-on before or after a massage. These promotions encourage female clients to bring their partners along for the experience.
Learn the Language
Men’s skincare lines and spas have also found that vocabulary is the key to successfully communicating with guys. “If you want to attract men, you have to speak their language,” says Michael Bruggeman, CEO and founder of Organic Male OM4. It’s not just what you say, but how you say it. “When promoting spa services and skincare products to men, use masculine-driven language and refrain from using stereotypical advertising, such as ‘metrosexual’,” says Lerma. Language needs to be clear and concise, directly addressing men’s skin concerns. According to a recent global survey of industry experts conducted by Hilton, men want facts that make rational sense and clearly communicate the benefits. They don’t buy into fluff or flowery language. “We always suggest when marketing to men that spas keep it as simple and straightforward as possible,” says Rhonda Allison, founder and CEO of Rhonda Allison Cosmeceuticals and RA for Men. “Deliver product and treatment benefits in a problem-and-solution fashion. Men are not as influenced by hype and false promises, and they are more skeptical.” The same recommendations also apply to conversations in the spa with male guests. “Treatments should be discussed through proper consultation,” says Clare Matthews, co-founder of VitaMan, a men’s grooming-products company based in Australia. “Ideally, sit down eye to eye with clients, and discuss their needs. Men love education, and this is the perfect way to set up retail sales prior to treatments.”
Offer Effective Extras
Updating small details such as aromatherapy scents and products throughout your spa can also help men feel at ease. “Men like minty, masculine scents,” says Matthew Miller, spa manager of The Spa at The Out NYC. “They like to feel clean and rejuvenated after services.” Men’s skincare companies have tuned in and created products to match their masculine preferences. “Most men’s lines will be very diligent about testing fragrance to ensure it is appealing to men,” says Bruggeman. “In our case, we spent six months on fragrance alone to make sure we got it right.” According to Allison, clean, fresh scents that energize and invigorate are the most popular.
Men’s and women’s skincare products may have many overlapping ingredients, but the concentrations in men’s lines are specifically engineered to address masculine concerns. “Earthy ingredients like cacti, clays, and minerals, blended into specialized formulations for their skin needs, appeal to men,” says Allison. There is no shortage of male-specific lines from which to choose, either. According to Hilton’s global survey, men’s skincare products are being developed at twice the rate of female products. Teaming up with one of these specialized lines can help create customized services so your menu resonates with male spa-goers, but there’s no need to go overboard with variety. “Men don’t like to have so many options that it gets confusing. It all comes down to simplicity and getting results,” says Miller.
Provide Targeted Treatments
For the best results, consider dedicating a menu to services that combat issues unique to men’s skin, which is structurally different from women’s largely due to testosterone. Male skin is up to 30 percent thicker, produces more oil and sebum, and is more sensitized due to regular shaving, says Bruggeman. “Men’s hair, pores, oil production, and age spots all require unique approaches and products that you cannot receive at most spas,” says Michael Hazel, general manager of Nickel Spa (New York City), one of the first men-only spas. Hilton’s global survey found that men are increasingly willing to experiment with products and services to meet their needs. According to Hazel, most men are game to try new treatments, especially those that appeal to their common concerns—breakouts, rough and irritated skin, unwanted hair, and more. So don’t assume men are only drawn to deep-tissue massages when they plan a visit to your spa. “We have noticed an increase in male clients, as they are more open to receiving treatments other than a massage,” says Santiago. “Our male clients like to explore their options. It is important for the spa coordinator to recommend all types of treatments to our male clients and not limit the offerings to what we assume they’ll be most interested in.”
Expect Dependable Demand
Both mixed-gender and men-only spas have discovered a loyalty streak in their male clients, so a little extra effort to attract them can mean repeat visitors for years to come, according to Hilton’s global survey. “Men tend to become loyal clients once they find a place where people actually listen and where they can talk about their problems, concerns, or grooming habits,” says Myrna Beardshear, director of spa and wellness at Sagestone Spa at Red Mountain Resort (Ivins, UT). “They tend to take the advice of profess-ionals and purchase products that extend their spa experience.” After men receive effective treatments and are provided with their desired results, they are likely to return. “Once we discover a place we love and are comfortable with it, we are loyal to the end,” says Hazel. “We believe the market and new-client base will continue to grow as more and more men are educated on the benefits of wellness and personal care.”