Reinventing the Traditional Day Spa Model

I do think that when you look at traditional stand-alone day spas we are beginning to see flattening and it is becoming harder for them to make profits. The huge increase in the numbers of day spas has saturated some markets and now many traditional day spas are facing large numbers of competitors. These competitors include other day spas, resort, and hotel spas which are open to day guests (almost all of them), medical spas, and some new players like the highly discounted "no-frills" establishments, fitness clubs adding better spas, etc.

Critical spas that are facing this reality need to think about ways to breathe new life into their businesses. Here are some possibilities:

1. Narrow your focus and specialize in something that has growth opportunity and less competition.
2. Expand your offerings to include a segment which is in the growth phase.
3. Partner with someone (inside or outside of the spa industry) who is in the growth phase.
4. Turn the business over by selling it or even giving it away to someone who has the resources, energy, and vision to grow it again in new ways.

Here are some ideas of industry aspects that are more likely to be in a growth phase, which if incorporated properly, might help jump-start a flattening day spa:

  • Express Services
  • Budget Massages
  • Budget Facial Treatments
  • Mobile Spa
  • Baby Spa
  • All Men
  • Party Spas
  • Ayurvedic Focus
  • Tween Focus
  • Mobile Services
  • Fitness Services (Yoga, Core, Pilates, etc.)
  • Luxury Level
  • Squeaky Clean Facility
  • Medical Spas (the greatest opportunity might be here)

Think of businesses outside of the spa industry that have made some changes and re-energized their businesses:

  • Dunkin' Donuts began emphasizing lattes instead of their donuts.
  • Airlines that were threatened by the new low-cost airlines slashed their prices and then got creative to keep their customers.
  • McDonalds added playgrounds.
  • Movie theaters began letting you order tickets online.
  • Travel agents threatened with competition from online discounters began improving their service and changed their fee model.

By Susie Ellis, President, Spa Finder