When it comes to spa services, facials and massage still rank among the most requested, but body treatments are becoming more and more popular as spa-goers are discovering the many benefits they offer. From cleansing and exfoliating to smoothing, firming, and hydrating, body treatments pamper the skin on the body in a similar way that a facial treats the complexion. “Body treatments provide both therapeutic and esthetic benefits for overall wellness for the mind and body,” says Lynda Solien-Wolfe, vice president of massage and spa, Performance Health, manufacturer of Biofreeze, Bon Vital’, and Theraband. “Options range widely from detoxifying treatments to skin solutions.”
Body scrubs are the most popular type of body treatment, but other services that fall into the category include masks, wraps, and dry brushing. Combining one or more body treatment with a massage adds even more benefits and value to the treatment. At the Spa at Squaw Creek at Resort at Squaw Creek Lake Tahoe (Olympic Valley, CA), for example, a scrub and a massage are combined in the Detoxifying Salt Glow ($150, 50 minutes) service, which includes a full-body exfoliation followed by an oil-application massage to help promote circulation, encourage detoxification, and ease water retention. “A full-body scrub followed by a massage is an excellent duo, as the scrub sloughs away dead cells, while the massage is relaxing and moisturizing,” says Delia McLinden, vice president of sales and business development at FarmHouse Fresh. “If you can offer a scrub and a massage, then guests feel like they have had a complete results-driven yet relaxing experience all in one.”
According to Rhonda Allison, founder and CEO of Rhonda Allison Cosmeceuticals, décolleté and neck treatments that firm, tone, and address other visual signs of aging like age spots, discoloration, and slack skin are popular add-on services, as are cellulite-reduction treatments and body peels that smooth uneven texture, provide hydration, promote collagen production and glowing skin, and correct discoloration. “Regular corrective body treatments are also typically much less expensive alternatives to other resurfacing treatments, making them appealing to clients,” says Allison.
At The Wellness Spa (Culver City, CA), the top-selling body treatment is the 7th Heaven Body Polish ($120, 75 minutes), which helps exfoliate, tone, and hydrate the body. “Customers love this head-to-toe treatment, because it leaves the entire body feeling rejuvenated, smooth, hydrated, and silky,” says owner Theresa Harmon. In addition, the Back Exfoliation Treatment ($85, 60 minutes) is also a popular choice, especially among active clients, because it combines a cleansing and exfoliation of the back using purifying mineral salts with a therapeutic massage. “Back exfoliation treatments help to clear the back of dead cells and impurities followed by a stress-reducing massage, leaving the skin radiant,” says Harmon. “This is a great treatment for the active client who works out regularly, as it reduces breakouts and helps keep the back clear.”
You can make your spa’s body treatments stand out on the menu by targeting a specific demographic (brides to be, for example) or incorporating interesting elements or scents into the treatment. FarmHouse Fresh, for instance, focuses on celebratory treatments and creates recipes for the body that utilize scents of the season. “During the fall, we feature scrubs and moisturizers that are infused with delicious organic pumpkin, honey, cloves, nutmeg, caramel, and peppercorn,” says McLinden. “Just like the popular pumpkin spice latte, people love treatments that conjure up nostalgia and something special about each season.”
According to Lydia Sarfati, founder and CEO of Rêpechage, the change in seasons is a great time to market body treatments with various promotions. “For example, in the fall and winter, you can promote body treatments that are nourishing and hydrating and are a solution for the dry, itchy, and flaky skin that is experienced this time of year,” says Sarfati. “With the holiday season and holiday parties around the corner, offer services that will get legs cocktail dress ready. This is also the time of year to promote a series of body treatments that target cellulite, body contours, and are detoxifying to the skin to get them on track for their upcoming New Year’s resolutions.”
In addition, signature services, like the Rocky Mountain Ritual (starting at $280, 1 hour 45 minutes), at Remède Spa at The St. Regis Aspen Resort (CO), help clients have the authentic and exclusive experience many spa-goers seek when traveling. The full-body treatment, which utilizes ESPA products, includes an invigorating exfoliation and a soothing aromatherapy bath followed by a warm hydrating cream wrap and a foot, scalp, and body massage. “It’s everything you could wish for in a body service,” says former spa director Julie Oliff. “The best part about all our body treatments, and the reason why they are so wildly popular, is that we customize the experience from top to bottom. No two bodies are alike, and no two days are alike—everyone who comes in tells us exactly what their body feels like on a given day, and we tailor the service accordingly.”
Harmon believes that because many clients think of body treatments as a luxury and don’t focus on the exfoliating, hydrating, and toning benefits they offer, they can often be a harder sale. Also, some body treatments require guests to get off the treatment table multiple times, which can be a turnoff for some spa-goers, as it can interrupt the relaxing spa experience, says McLinden. She also believes that specialized services such as a bamboo massage or Thai massage are often harder to sell because some guests don’t want to experiment and try new treatments, and specialized treatments often cost more than regular body treatments or scrubs.
Many spa-goers also fear that they will be more exposed during a body treatment than other services and also get cold during the treatment, which is why Remède Spa structures all its services around warmth. “Our tables can be heated, and we offer complimentary warm paraffin wraps during the service as well as a warm scalp treatment,” says Oliff. The spa also trains its therapists to drape clients the same way in a body treatment as in a massage to ensure high levels of comfort for guests.
In addition, treatments that require clients to stay out of the sun can be hard to sell during summer months, and fad treatments are often overlooked because they usually don’t deliver results. “Spa clients want to see changes as a result of the treatments they are getting,” says Elizabeth Murchison, director of education at Guinot Paris. Susan Harmsworth, chairperson and founder of ESPA, has also found that over the last two-to-three years, wraps and quick-fix treatments have become less popular, because electrical or weight-loss treatments generally require courses, and a one- or two-night stay won’t provide the optimum results a customer is looking for. “We’re also finding more and more clients today are looking for body massage treatments to overcome stress—this is still the number one reason for visiting a spa at the moment,” she says. “An aging population and the growth of sports injuries also means more are seeking treatment for pain and muscle relief.”
Rules of Attraction
To attract clients to body treatments, it’s important that therapists be knowledgeable and highly trained to ensure clients receive a technically sound, personalized, and effective treatment, according to Harmsworth. Also, it’s important to incorporate high-quality body products. “Body products can be unappealing in their texture and smell, due to ingredients such as algae, aggressive exfoliators, and mud,” says Harmsworth. “However, formulas today are much more sophisticated, so they work just as effectively, yet feel and smell great. With commercial challenges affecting all businesses at the moment, some spas try to cut the cost of sale by using cheaper products and massage oils, but ultimately the customer experience isn’t nearly as good, and so the treatment is less appealing and can affect customer satisfaction and the return rate for other treatments.”
Educated and highly trained therapists are a must, but you should also make sure your front desk staff is able to properly inform and educate clients on the body treatments available at the spa. “The front desk staff is usually the client’s first interaction with the spa,” says McLinden. “The front desk staff should inform guests of special treatments each time they call or visit in the same manner a waiter shares the daily specials at a restaurant. They should sound appealing and irresistible. There should also be signage and marketing to support the treatments.” She recommends that spas heighten their guests’ experience by pairing food and beverages. “By adding an edible treat to the service, we are able to touch upon all five senses, which delivers a full circle of completion,” says McLinden. “We always recommend bite-sized treats that match the flavors of the treatment, so they are guilt-free.”
To make body treatments more appealing to clients, Allison recommends educating clients about the benefits of treating the body with the same ingredients used in facial treatments. According to her, many clients are looking for ways to maintain the body’s youthful look, but they are intimidated by invasive procedures. “For these clients, corrective body treatments are very appealing,” says Allison. “It’s just a matter of making them aware of this option.” She suggests that spas also offer mini complimentary add-on body services during a facial treatment, such as a mini hand or neck and décolleté treatment. Solien-Wolfe also suggests sharing success stories and bundling with popular treatments, such as massage.
Body treatments are great opportunities for spas to add retail sales. This can be done by always introducing the products that will be used on the client prior to the service. “Let them smell and ask questions,” says McLinden. “This will spark interest with what is going on their body while also presenting the perfect opportunity to mention that it’s available to purchase to enjoy at home or to give as a gift to a friend or loved one.” Also, spa therapists should treat retail sales as an extension of their services. Because most guests want to take the spa treatment home with them, spas can offer a body treatment with the cost of the retail product built into the price of the treatment or offer a free extension of the body treatment with the purchase of the retail products. “Once the treatment is over, therapists can leave a basket at the front desk with all of the matching retail products that were used during the service,” says McLinden. “Then, the front desk attendant can help with product knowledge and recommendations. Testers displayed throughout various locations in the spa do very well as a soft-selling concept, because guests are allowed to select which products they want to sample without feeling like they are being sold. Always keep a featured item at the checkout station with a tester, so guests can try it as they are closing out their tab.”
Spas can also create a “spa in a box” set that helps clients take the spa treatment home to help them maintain and prolong the benefits in between treatments. “Homecare is an essential part of any anti-aging body program,” says Allison. “Creating systems such as a cellulite-reduction system, a skin-brightening kit, or body-smoothing set also makes body products more approachable and appealing to clients. Clients, including those who aren’t comfortable with body services, often look for ways to recreate the spa experience at home, so this is also a great way to add retail sales to body services.”
Homecare products are an important extension to body treatments, because caring for the skin on the body every day is just as important as caring for the skin on the face. “The concept is that we are now treating the body just like the face,” says Oliff. “No more ‘body treatments’—more like ‘body facials.’” Today’s spa-goers are increasingly embracing this idea, so spas must continue to come up with ways to encourage clients to experience the many benefits body treatments have to offer. Says Harmon, “Spas can make body treatments more appealing to clients by stressing the benefits of them and helping clients understand that a body treatment is not a luxury but a necessity for skin health.”
Treating the body from head to heels, these products are ideal for a variety of in-spa services and help address a range of skincare concerns.—Jessica Morrobel
1. Advanced Rejuvenating Concepts Body Peel: Glycolic acid removes dead skin cells to improve skintone, texture, absorption, and hydration. www.arcskincare.com
2. Aveda Shampure Composition: This aromatic oil for the bath, body, and scalp features a blend of certified organic lavender, petitgrain, and ylang ylang to restore moisture and calm skin. www.aveda.com
3. Bon Vital’ Pomegranate & Açaí Berry Sugar Scrub: A combination of jojoba, olive, and safflower oils eliminates impurities and dead skin cells, revealing a healthy glow. www.bonvital.com
4. Cinq Mondes Phyto-Tonic Oil: Containing organic Brazil nut oil and a patented lupin extract, this body oil nourishes the skin to improve elasticity and firm sagging areas. www.cinqmondes.com
5. Elemis British Botanicals Shower Cream: Oats and British-grown botanicals, including essential oils of chamomile, geranium, lavender, and palmarosa, nourish, comfort, and soothe while providing anti-inflammatory properties to restore and calm the skin. www.elemis.com
6. HydroPeptide Stimulating Relief Balm: Designed to help comfort and relieve muscular tension, this massage therapy and pre-workout balm blends antioxidant peptides, caffeine, spearmint, and turmeric. www.hydropeptide.com
7. Ilike Organic Skin Care Carotene Essentials Body Lotion: A cocktail of calendula, cantaloupe, carrots, and sorb apples hydrates, nourishes, and prevents free-radical damage for glowing, radiant skin. www.szepelet.com
8. Moroccanoil Fragrance Originale Body Buff: This revitalizing scrub removes dead skin cells with apricot, olive seed powder, and quartz sand to smooth, rejuvenate, and moisturize the skin. www.moroccanoil.com
9. Repêchage Vita Cura Triple Action Nutrí Oil: This formula replenishes the skin’s moisture barrier with almond, carrot, olive fruit, sunflower, and wheat germ oils while linoleic acid helps to diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. www.repechage.com
10. Nature Pure Labs Hippophae Hydration Balm: Beeswax, cinnamon, emu oil, shea butter, and thyme help boost the skin’s immunity, stimulate cell growth, and improve elasticity. www.naturepure.com
11. Nelly De Vuyst NDV Body Lotion: Marine collagen and elastin extracts promote hydration for firmer, smoother, and younger-looking skin in this lotion that is ideal for eczema, dry skin, psoriasis, and stretch marks. www.nellydevuyst.com
12. Satin Smooth Collagen Complex Cream: This paraben-free and vegan-friendly cream relies on vitamins A and E to promote cell regeneration for a healthy glow. www.satinsmooth.com