Top spa leaders from around the country met at Red Mountain Adventure Spa for three days of education and networking at the end of January. In a roundtable-type format, spa owners and managers brainstormed on innovative marketing and management ideas. Some of the top marketing ideas follow:

Client Retention Programs

Many day spas have implemented client retention and membership programs to cultivate the high-end market and reward their best clients. The focus is on encouraging loyalty, maintaining brand awareness, and increasing spending. Day spas offering membership programs report an enhanced ability to track client spending habits, increased revenue per client, and positive word-of-mouth advertising. Membership and frequent-buyer programs also keep clients locked into the purchasing cycle--"spa-ing" becomes part of their lifestyle.

Annual membership fees for the membership programs offered at the attendees' spas ranged from $150 to $750. The discounts and upgrades varied significantly. Some of the VIP perks discussed were a designated toll-free hotline, separate check-in and check-out, free valet parking, free products, and free spa treatment on clients' birthday.

Spa Parties

Day spa owners and managers report great success with events for birthdays, proms, weddings, graduations, and special interest groups. Spa parties are a fun and un-intimidating way to introduce the spa experience. A huge percentage of regular clients will bring "spa-newbies" with them to a spa party.

Day spas are forming strategic marketing relationships with local businesses such as caterers and florists to leverage promotional opportunities and provide a seamless experience for the client.

The Internet

Day spa owners report an increasing need to utilize the Internet to save money, increase revenues, and improve customer service. At minimum, spa owners and managers agree that a spa should have a functional and attractive web site with spa menu and contact information. Providing information on different types of spa treatments frees up the front desk and results in a more educated purchasing decision.

44% of Day Spa users had used the Internet to find a Day Spa, and 65% said they would like to be able to use the Internet to book a treatment, and 17% would like to re-purchase products tried at a spa online. (ISPA 2001 Study/Cox Consulting). These numbers suggest that spa product e-commere, online scheduling, and value-added services such as web-based gift certificate purchase will become necessary client services.