Creative Ways to Attract Customers to Your Spa

In today's challenging economic climate, it is more important than ever to stimulate and promote consumer visits to your spa. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways including pricing inducements, creative packages and special treatment offerings, outreach to local and community groups, organizations and associations and events tied to charitable institutions to name just a few.

A recent spa consumer survey of 1,300 spa goers was developed and published by Coyle Hospitality Group and WTS International. It offers certain insights which are helpful in understanding how best to attract customers to a spa and to catalyze them to continue to do so. Some of the interesting points detailed in the survey are:

(a) respondents are drawn to spas that give back to the community
(b) word of mouth referrals were cited by 74% of respondents as the primary method in selecting a new spa
(c) 84% of respondents said that it is important for therapists to explain products and benefits during the treatment
(d) Over 80% indicated that they were interested in buying a spa package in order to achieve benefits of skin care
(e) a spa with ongoing educational seminars regarding lifestyle, nutrition and wellness issues significantly increased the opportunity for guest loyalty
(f) in retail sales, 63% of respondents said they purchased products regularly at the spa with face cleansers/exfoliators and face/hand/body lotions comprising the majority of purchases
(g) many respondents (about 80%) said they purchased gift certificates at the spa in the past with an average of $150 spent
(h) methods that would entice respondents to try a new spa include value added packages (64%), a free spa gift (65%), and discount cards (81%)
(i) respondents looked for spa deals and packages primarily through online (71%) and email (59%) and less so through newspapers, magazines and social media
(j) pricing plays a larger role as a determinant in whether a consumer goes to a spa; 79% said price was the most pressing issue
(k) people who responded by saying that they would go to spas more frequently in 2010 had five primary motivators including (1) going to spas is an integral part of my lifestyle; (2) need for more "me time"; (3) relaxation; (4) destressing and (5) feeling better in general

These consumer responses are good indicators in helping spa owners and operators to shape their thoughts with regard to how best to stimulate traffic in attracting and retaining customers over time. As an example, owners should begin this process by considering affordable ways to integrate their spas into the daily lives of the consumer. In addition, it is clear from respondents in the survey that spas should be marketed as a way for guests to spoil themselves, friends and family.

There are numerous creative ideas and promotions that can be delivered to attract more business through services given and goods sold at your spa. Several are as follows:

Open House Events:

Thank your customers by offering an occasional guest appreciation event which offers an array of sample spa services, food and refreshments. A guest speaker can be invited to talk about proper skin care, nutrition or other subjects of interest. Your spa guests will really appreciate a special touch of this type where they can meet other people, try out a new treatment or product line and get information on latest trends. This can also be an effective event to attract consumers in the local area who haven't yet tried the spa.

Offering Outreach Services Through Community Resources:

There are opportunities to attract families and mothers to be by offering 3D and 4D ultrasound services at your spa. Partnering with a technician who will also promote the spa on his/her website is a creative way to stimulate more traffic. A "maternity club" can be established to create a place where expecting families can go to relax, learn and connect.

Spa Vouchers:

At your hotel front desk, have the reception staff hand the guest a spa voucher inviting them to visit the spa during their first day of arrival to receive a free intention gift. Guests will gravitate toward the spa to select a gift. The intention card can be an attractive presentation which holds a specific spa message. This will stimulate the guest to come into the spa and interact with the staff.

Community Outreach:

Partnering with a local charity, sponsoring a special event (e.g. a 5K run for cancer), offering chair massage at a health fair, etc. are ways to create not only added spa traffic but good will. An idea such as partnering with a local animal shelter for a dog adoption day at the spa and offering massages for rescued dogs is also fun and has consumer appeal. Gift certificates are then offered to people adopting a pet. This event is conducted outside the spa (e.g. parking lot) and usually receives extensive local news coverage.

Offer "Service Industry" Rates:

These special local business rates can be offered to retail employees, restaurant staff, bank employees, etc. in the local area and at shopping malls. The discounted rates need to be inexpensive enough to stimulate these individuals to come by giving them a unique deal. They will typically come in, try a service and refer others. Often, they will refer others during off-peak times for the spa which is also beneficial. There can also be benefits given to Chamber of Commerce members which can link your spa to numerous other business opportunities. In addition, ties to local groups and associations can be highly effective in attracting new spa consumers; these can include teachers, police force, firefighters and their spouse, garden clubs, church groups, ladies auxiliaries, etc.

Spa Memberships:

This can be a great source of additional revenue and exposure. These memberships are available for consumers who want to use the spa's amenities such as locker rooms, wet areas, fitness center, restaurant, etc. The prospective member will typically pay a moderate initiation fee plus monthly dues which entitles them to receive preferential treatment for booking times, attending special events at the spa, discounts on seminars, treatments, products, etc. You can also offer a spa membership to club members at local golf clubs which can make for an attractive offering to any clubs seeking to sell memberships.

Develop an Attractive Internet Site:

This is a distinct benefit for spas that want to book reservations remotely and that wish to delineate themselves. All too many spas don't have a sophisticated website which allows consumers to book treatments or to purchase products without having to call the spa directly. This is also the most effective way to track your clientele and to continue to communicate with them after they depart the property. Make the creation of a consumer-friendly website a priority and don't skimp on costs in this area.

There are virtually hundreds of creative ways to develop increased consumer traffic for your spa. These are but a few of them. In the competitive and price sensitive world we live in, it is crucial to continually develop and execute creative promotions to effectively drive guests to your spa's door. All too often, spa owners think that "if I build it, they will come" which may have been the case several years ago. However, this is no longer true and the race for consumer spa dollars and profitability will go to the swiftest and most creative and to owners and operators who are diligent in their efforts to promote and deliver.
 
By Gary Henkin, President & Founder, WTS International www.wtsinternational.com
reprinted from Hotel Executive www.hotelexecutive.com
 

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