Spring Menu Pruning

Flowers aren’t the only thing that blooms in the spring. Your spa can also flourish. American Spa columnist Lisa Starr recently provided some tips for helping you grow your business on her GramercyOne blog. Check it out here….

I’ve just returned from visiting Kiev, Ukraine, for a wellness and spa conference. While in Kiev, I stopped by a high-end hotel spa to check out the facility and see their spa menu, and I’m glad that I did. The service menu listed no less than 47 different massages available!

Now, the first question is, how can a spa possibly offer this huge number of massages? Can each of their therapists really be trained in all of these different protocols? Especially given the fact that in most of the world beauty therapists perform all of the services on a spa menu, and are not departmentalized as we are in the U.S. So in addition to knowing how to perform 47 kinds of massage, the therapist would also have to be trained on all of the facials and nail services (which were also numerous).

But the second, and more important question is, what effect do all of these options have on the sales of the spa? While I don’t have a solid answer on this question (I never did learn how to speak Ukrainian) I can tell you that having more options on the menu is not necessarily good for your business. In his seminal book, “The Paradox of Choice,” Professor Barry Schwartz evaluates how consumers behave when faced with a multitude of options. In two separate studies, customers made a higher sales/selection rate when they were faced with FEWER choices, not more. In one study, researchers gave consumers a choice of tasting high-quality jams, and the consumers would receive a discount coupon towards the purchase of a jar. One group of customers was given the option to taste 6 different jams; the other group was given the option of 24. The larger set of jams attracted more shoppers; however, 30% of the people faced with the smaller selection actually purchased a jar, vs.3% of those faced with the larger selection. The point being, we can overwhelm customers with too many options, whether it is of jam or spa services.
So I urge you to spend the next few weeks in what should be an annual or semi-annual activity, fine-tuning your service menu.

1) Consider the theme, orientation or selling proposition of your spa
2) Run a service sales report for 2011 (in SpaBooker, Reports/Sales/Service & Revenue Report/Last Year)
3) Sit down with your team and really look at the numbers

What you will likely find is that you have, in each modality, one or two services that comprise 95% of the sales total, and a few others that bring up the rear. If you have services on your menu which you performed less than, say, 15 of last year, they probably shouldn’t be on the menu. This will also make room for the introduction of some new services, which could additionally be higher-margin options than those you’re already selling.

There is certainly an argument to be made for directing your customers into choices, rather than just responding to what they do on their own, but I think a combination of the two approaches is the best policy. I’ll discuss how to drive sales into higher-priced or –margin choices in a future blog, but for now, let’s get out the pruning shears, and increase our conversion rates of potential customers.

If this topic interests you, and you feel you might benefit from more specific information on this subject, please join us for our webinar, Tuesday, February 28th, at 12:30 PM EST.