What is your spa's biggest challenge, and how have you handled it?

"One of the greatest challenges we've faced has been educating the public on the value of the services we provide. We have a competitively priced menu and are located in a relatively wealthy area, yet convincing the public that $78 for a one-hour massage is money well spent can be difficult. It has always amazed me that other service professionals, such as plumbers or computer technicians, can command $75 to $100 an hour with no questions asked, and they're working on our equipment. But highly trained spa and salon professionals, who dedicate a solid hour of undivided attention to our clients' face, hair, and bodies, are often expected to receive much less. We work hard at communicating to our clients the value of the services we provide. Basically, it boils down to you get what you pay for, and we have tried to take the high road, never diverting from our intentions."—Jessica Stevens, director of operations, Andrew Michaels Spa Salon (Salem, MA)

"A big challenge for my spa is attracting and keeping qualified receptionists. The way I handle this is by splitting a full-time position and hiring graduate students with flexible hours. No one gets burned out by the demanding clientele and doing exit interviews."—Cheryl Renella, owner, Channing's Day Spa (Chicago)

"Our day spa is not in the most well-traveled location, but why should that stop us? We opened our spa in March 2004 and have been using referral and client VIP cards to encourage guests to visit us often. When a guest passes a recommendation card to a friend, both the guest and the friend receive a discount. The VIP card is stamped each time a client comes in, and once six visits are accumulated, the client receives a discount on the next treatment of his or her choice. Client referrals are the best way to talk up your spa in a positive way."—Adrienne Johnson, spa director, Derm Essentials Day Spa (Danbury, CT)


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"I always hear from other spa owners that they have a hard time keeping their massage therapists and estheticians booked. Our approach is to educate our guests that these services are a necessity and not a luxury. We do this by asking questions prior to their service about their specific needs and by doing a body and skincare profile to determine any imbalances. At the end of each service, we give an overview and a prescription sheet with a recommendation and date of next visit. This is followed up by a postcard or phone call."—Angie Morgan, owner, The Sapphire Salon & Destination Spa (Pittston, PA).