Fine-Tune Your Spa Business

Spas can no longer avoid examining every facet of their business and taking responsible, thoughtful and immediate action. Everything needs to go under a microscope in order to have a spa that meets the needs and interests of the guests; allows the spa to recruit and retain staff; and is a tangible asset in terms of its departmental profitability as well as its value to enhance the "core" business of selling hotel rooms and/or real estate.

The following are my "S" ideas on some of the key areas that need to be carefully examined and, as necessary, fine-tuned or re-structured.

1. Sales

  • Drive the top-line. Sell more treatments, products and gift certificates, but do it in a way that is personalized, customized and focused on benefits-value.
  • Think volume. Look for ways to attract more people who might spend less rather than rely on the wealthy few who might spend more. Everyone is looking for a "deal" so when you have a lower revenue per guest visit, you need to look at increasing the number of guest visits.
  • Be creative with your pricing based on guest loyalty, prime-time/non-prime-time visits, bring-a-friend incentives, etc.
  • Create several value-added offerings with services, retail, F&B, etc.
  • Make sure your marketing venues reach your target markets. Look beyond your web-site. Look at bulletin boards, blogs, discussion groups, social networking sites, etc.
  • Brag about anything and everything you do that makes you different from and better than your competitors. People want to be part of the best that exists.
  • Offer incentives to first time guests as well as to return guests
    Guests can be your ambassadors. Reward them for bringing in their friends and family

2. Staff

  • Recruit and hire people based on their personal attributes and attitude and not just their professional skills
  • Make sure your staff understands your vision, goals and standards and have a sense of ownership and passion in making these become a reality
  • Invest in, train and retain your full-time and loyal staff members because the bond they create with the guests is not easily replaceable
  • Compensate them fairly so they can "afford" to work at your spa. It is better to have a few excellent people who are busy and making money than to have lots of people who are bored and frustrated.
  • Set up incentive and "above and beyond" programs to reward performance, productivity, sales, attendance, etc.

3. Service

  • Spas are all about service, not just services (treatments).
    Do not cut back on the level and quality of service because this will negatively impact the guest experience
  • Be more efficient in how you provide service, e.g., cross-train your staff so everyone helps one another while also catering to the guests
  • Management needs to be visible in terms of supporting their team and making sure the guests are happy
  • Continuously look for ways to delight your guests, respond to their needs and interests and create a loyalty-based relationship

4. Services

  • See what treatments are really selling and eliminate the ones that are not selling
  • Keep things simple. If your menu is the encyclopedia of global spa treatments, you are creating decision-making stress for the guests, intense training for your staff and lots of inventory on your shelves.
  • Look at the pricing and profit margins. Which treatments should be the most expensive: your most popular treatments or the ones with the higher product cost?
  • Make sure your services are affordable and results-oriented so that people see the value and benefit of spending their time and money in your spa

5. Supplies

  • Minimize shrinkage and waste by setting up documented treatment protocols regarding products, supplies and quantities
  • Set up inventory control systems for requisitioning, stocking, distributing and re-ordering
  • Work with the vendors for special pricing on professional and retail products, give-aways for guests, sales incentives for staff, 'try and buy" retail displays, etc.
  • Save on back-of-house items; do not try to save on that could possibly have a negative impact on the guest experience

6. Staying Power

  • Be on-trend rather than trendy. This applies to treatments, products, equipment, marketing message, etc.
  • Be relevant by understanding the needs to your guests then making and keeping the promise to over-deliver and over-whelm in a positive way so your guests are loyal and raving fans
  • Work smarter by listening to your staff and your guests, make everyone feel that they are an important part of your success and that your success has rewards for them.

By Judy Singer, CEO, Heath Fitness Dynamics