The Calm Before the Storm: Successfully Planning for the Holiday Rush

Is your spa ready for the holiday season? // Photo credit: Jelena Danilovic/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Every year around the third quarter, there seems to be a lull in scheduled services. While some spas may worry about a temporary dip in sales, it presents the perfect opportunity to take advantage of this time and, like the proverbial squirrel gathering nuts for winter, prepare your spa for the upcoming holiday season. Going into the holiday season with a clear plan of action, strong marketing and a fully trained staff will set your spa up for a successful end to the year. 

Learn Lessons from Last Year

Before you do anything else, you need to take a hard look at last year’s holiday numbers. Those are going to chart the course for this year. Here are some of the most important ones to look at:

  • Sales for the fourth quarter: Chances are, they most likely went up. One of the reasons may be specific marketing initiatives. Did a certain holiday package you offered do well? Did you have a big holiday marketing push on social media? If you can figure out what drove those extra sales, it may be worth it to repeat those initiatives this year.

    If your sales remained about the same or dropped, think about the reasons behind that. Lack of marketing? Staff who were unable to cross-sell? Whatever the reasons, you need to figure out how you can overcome those deficits this year.

  • Staff hours worked: Did you find that you were short-handed? If so, consider hiring seasonal help or increasing the hours for current staff. If you do decide to hire extra help, give yourself enough time between now and the beginning of the holiday season to ensure they are fully vetted and trained.
     
  • How many appointments were booked? If you found you had to squeeze people in (or even turn them away), extended holiday hours could help negate that this year. It’s true that your product and payroll budgets will increase, but so will your sales.
     
  • Was there a surge in any product sales? If certain items seemed to fly off the shelves toward the end of the year or if you completely sold out of a specific product, you can probably assume those products will be popular again this year, especially if you’re offering any holiday promotions. Contact your reps so your shelves are sufficiently stocked throughout the season. (This also includes gift cards!)

Make Sure Your Marketing is Solid

After you’ve looked at your numbers, you’re going to want to have a strong marketing plan in place. Holiday marketing that’s done well can set you apart from other spas and salons, as long as you’re consistent and follow through. This includes figuring out what holiday specials you want to offer clients, what services and products you want to promote, and how you’re going to do that.

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To take some of the marketing burden off your shoulders, reach out to neighboring small businesses to set up a cross-promotion campaign—utilizing social media is one of the most effective way to do so. Cross promoting helps raise awareness of your services and products with a group who may not necessarily be familiar with your spa, and vice versa. It’s also a great way to build goodwill within your community. 

One of the biggest marketing opportunities lies with your regular customers. Instead of trying to reach out to potential clients, why not reach out to your current clients? Offering friends and family promotions or product discounts to your VIPs is an easy way to fill up your books and boost your sales without breaking a sweat. And speaking of VIPs…

Thank Big Clients

You know you have a handful of clients who have spent more than their fair share this year. Why not show them how much you appreciate their business by hosting an exclusive holiday event, just for them? A fun evening of appetizers, drinks and mingling, combined with deep VIP discounts and goodie bags or free services is a wonderful way for any business to stay connected with their valued clients. 

Make Gift-Giving Easy for Clients

The holidays are already stressful enough; trying to figure out what to get someone just adds fuel to the agony fire. Do your clients a favor and relieve them of that burden by putting together some beautiful, ready-to-give gift baskets. Baskets for those with mature skin, men’s skincare baskets, pampering baskets for busy moms, baskets for teens with skin trouble...the options are endless and your clients will appreciate being able to check several people off their gift list at once. An added bonus: Gift baskets are a great way to bundle together popular products with any stock that seems to have some trouble getting off the shelf.

Another easy, go-to present that’s extremely popular during the holiday season? Gift cards. Perfect for almost everyone, they practically sell themselves during the holiday season. Selling them online as well as in-store is a great way to build up a steady stream of passive income and bring in new clients. Just make sure you’re doing due diligence in the marketing department so clients are aware that you offer them.

Deck the Halls

It may sound obvious, but a little holiday cheer around the spa can truly boost your clients’ spirits. Even if your spa’s aesthetic is minimal, soft, twinkling lights or tasteful ornament displays add an extra touch to the client experience. Some spas even offer holiday-themed services with seasonally scented ingredients, including peppermint, cranberry, cinnamon and chocolate.

Whatever you decide to do for the holidays, clients are sure to notice and appreciate the extra effort. 
 

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