Beware of the "CouPonzi" Trap!

Please try really hard not to cave and offer discount coupons to the consumer. If you rely on selling discounted spa services in mass numbers to stay afloat, you may as well be running a Ponzi scheme, or a CouPonzi scheme, if you will.


The “investors” in the scheme are the consumers who bought your deals from a discount site. The “high rate of return on their investment” has to do with the benefits they plan to receive from your expertise as a spa therapist. The “results” that are promised from this investment seem far greater than the price the service is being offered. But pitching misleading ads like: “Two 1-hour massages for $160 are now only $40! A 75% savings!” has attracted people in droves.


Now they sit and wait to receive your return call to secure the appointment for a spa service. They contact you several times per month and become discouraged at the mere thought of being had. 


You’ve become swamped with calls from your “clients” and you figure, “I’ve already received the money so they will have to wait until I have time to call them back. Hopefully, they will tire from trying to reach me and the discounted service coupon they bought will expire. Then I am under no obligation to refund the money on the deal they purchased.” 


But some of your “clients” are quick to realize this, so they contact the discount site and get a refund prior to expiration. This happens several times and you figure it’s time to jump ship and offer deals on another discount site.


After all, the thought of receiving those hefty checks from the discount site are getting sweeter and sweeter. Especially because you have bills to pay and selling 100 deals at $40 each has never been easier. You can actually pay some of the returns to your current investors by luring new investors via another discount site. It’s a way to quell the situation until you figure out how to create repeat business on your own.


You’ve discovered that you rarely make any money on these deals and the checks you’ve collected are blown quickly on a “success induced” lifestyle. But then the phones start ringing and they won’t stop and you realize this is more trouble than it’s worth. Your investors are calling and they want to know when they can expect a return. In your case, it’s A) a return phone call that guarantees them an appointment without any delays in the process, and B) two relaxing spa services that each spans the full 60 minutes like the ad states. 


The cycle continues as you run more deals knowing you can’t possibly service all of them. You’ve collected thousands of dollars, toyed with people whose phone calls you never returned and the services you did perform were nowhere near on par with an established wellness center. 


The rest of us must work harder than ever to maintain the integrity of this industry and to prove to the consumer that our services are worth the prices listed. We educate, heal and appreciate the support from each guest. We mention our trips to conferences and trade shows and share what we’ve learned so the consumer can identify a spa professional when they meet one. 


Consumers are making their way back to wellness centers with solid reputations. They may have been unemployed and have since returned to the work force. Through their travels, we learn they’ve dipped into the coupon craze. When it comes to receiving personalized services from spa professionals, they’ve all come to a similar conclusion: They don’t mind paying more money for quality services. They’ve gone the other route and skimped on spa services only to find that you truly get what you pay for.