Once again, it’s time for holiday promotion planning. It’s been an up-and-down year for the economy, and while the National Retail Federation predicts that total retail sales for 2011 will increase 4 percent over 2010, it will be difficult to predict exactly what to expect for the 2011 holiday season. One thing that’s certain is that we still need to remind consumers to come into our facilities to purchase gift cards, services, and products. Many spas put together a few special packages or groups of services for the holiday season, but having a real holiday promotion program takes a bit more planning. If you plan far enough ahead, you can develop a strategy to increase sales in this crucial time of year. Your holiday promotion may have a theme, or you may plan an event to kick off the holiday season. Here are some holiday plans from various spas around the country.
Corinne O’Hara, marketing director of Drew Patrick (Bayshore, NY) is planning a promotion around the theme, Believe. The spa is focusing its selection of promotional spa treatments around self-awareness, detoxification, and well-being. According to O’Hara, “Believing in oneself begins with a positive mental state of mind, so our holiday services will begin with a private or semi-private yoga/meditation session. They will then partake of a specially blended tea and enjoy a series of services designed to cleanse and detoxify the system, followed by an aromatherapy massage, and finishing with a mineral-based beverage that enhances the detoxification process. Upon completion of their services, clients will be gifted with a book entitled, Believe, as a reminder to always have faith in themselves and to trust their instincts.”
As part of the promotion, O’Hara is planning a breakfast event series, wherein a speaker will host a breakfast and informal chat formed around the theme. Drew Patrick has been successful with its e-blasts and Facebook efforts but will complement those with print ads, radio, and Believe-inspired decor for the internal marketing efforts.
Oasis Day Spa (multiple locations) operates the largest mobile spa service in the country and offers chair massages or express manicures in pop-up spas at private parties and corporate events. According to Oasis Day Spa marketer Ruby Gu, “The idea of a spa party is always popular. Clients are pleasantly surprised how wonderful it is to relax with friends and coworkers, especially during holiday time when it’s stressful and cold.”
Along those lines, some of the Oasis Day Spa locations are also available to host private events and corporate holiday parties. Another promotion, called 25 Days of Oasis, features a different service or retail product on sale every day from Dec. 1 through Christmas. “We don’t announce what goes on sale ahead of time,” says Gu. “The only way for guests to find out is to visit our website at midnight each day or sign up for our 25 Days of Oasis email or social media alerts. Our clients love the surprise and the exclusivity of knowing what goes on sale ahead of time. The 25 different promotions also allow us to work with partners, such as yoga studios and neighborhood restaurants.” This year Oasis will be incorporating into the promotion its new spa amenity line, which was just introduced and will mark the 10-year anniversary of its Park Avenue location.
Allegria Spa at the Park Hyatt (Beaver Creek, CO) has no problem evoking the traditional holiday trappings of snow. “Everyone loves a white Christmas, especially in a ski town,” says the spa’s general manager Gaye Steinke. “To celebrate Colorado’s early season snow, we’ll be offering the Let it Snow promotion, in which guests will receive a 1 percent discount on services or retail purchases for every inch of reported snowfall. The promotion will be available from Nov. 23 until Christmas Day.” The spa will also donate 2 percent of all gift card sales between Nov. 23 and Dec. 25 to one of two local charities. This is a great example of how to make consumers feel good about making non-essential spa purchases during the holiday season while doing something good for the community.
It’s easy to play upon the spirit of the winter holidays for spas in cold locales, but warm or more temperate locations may need to be a bit more creative. AvantGard Spa (San Carlos, CA) features services such as the Candy-Mint Pedicure ($50, 50 minutes) for the holidays during its Warm-up Winter promotions. The treatment includes a cup of hot chocolate with a candy cane. The language used to describe the treatment and the ingredients plays upon timeless holiday themes such as stress and exhaustion. AvantGard promotes its holiday services by creating posters placed in each restroom and postcards placed in the lounge and added to each departing shopping bag. The holiday offers are announced through an email campaign to the spa’s existing database and posted on Facebook and Twitter.
Scott Duncan, general manager of Spa Gregories (multiple locations), plays on sensory appeal with the spas’ promotional strategy. “We will focus on creating a warm holiday vibe through smell and taste,” says Duncan. “While spas can always offer holiday-themed treatments such as pumpkin peels, cranberry gommages, chocolate wraps, or ginger scrubs, I bake cookies at all locations to infuse the real smell of baked goods, perhaps adding a caramel/ginger latte machine or hot apple cider.” According to him, taste is the one sense that spas seem to struggle with, as it can be cost prohibitive to treat guests to epicurean delights. However, it has been proven that taste and smell directly affect one’s emotions and may inspire guests to linger longer in the retail zone. “I love the holiday hype in the treatment room, and it always looks great in advertisements. But this year, I want to evoke the strongest of holiday memories—taste and smell,” says Duncan.
All it takes is a little imagination and creativity to come up with the perfect holiday promotion or campaign for your spa. Because it is a stressful time of year for everyone, any way you can make shopping at your spa easier, more convenient, or tied to a donation campaign is bound to be popular with your clients.