8 Essential Pillars of Day-to-Day Spa Operation

In the business of aesthetics, people are the focus. When people are the focus, pipeline is everything. The truth is that even operating a spa at full capacity with high bookability in a small local market or in large scale with multiple locations, streamlining operations outside of the treatment room can be more than a full-time job.
With eight simple hacks, professionals can unlock real potential and create clients that return in regular frequency. These hacks can stimulate growth at all levels and be implemented on day one or day 1,001. If are already using these tools, this is an excellent refresher on upgrading these standard metrics and modernizing business flow.

The days of being an elite service provider by having a treatment bed and a few essential treatments are over and simply providing treatments is not enough to keep a spa in business.

Past physical signage, the first thing a client sees when they enter a spa and wellness center is how well the professional is advertising their services. Typically, product and equipment suppliers provide print marketing on request or at a low expense. Invest in a good brochure and pamphlet rack and restock these often. Additionally, for some consumers, print is a thing of the past. Space permitting, mount a flatscreen television on the wall of the waiting area and display promotional content, the spa’s logo, current specials, or the spa’s website. This content should be updated monthly and print and multi-media presentations should be as consistent as possible throughout the spa, including consultation rooms, treatment rooms, and bathrooms.

Consultations are the first in-spa interaction with a client and a lasting impression is required for continued booking. Often, clients have already done at least a half-hour of online research and diligence before booking a consultation and have often already visited and consulted down the street. To set the spa apart and create an engaging client experience, focus on education and building trust. Use before and after aesthetic imaging tools, starting with an iPad or snap-and-shoot camera or go a step further expanding into a tool that offers ultraviolet lighting to record proof of underlying skin conditions, skin scores, and monitoring of results. This tool should not be a simple woods lamp because only the professional can see through these tools. By investing in enhanced aesthetic imaging cameras, professionals will find a sizeable long-term return on investment. Move away from telling a client what they need to showing the client where they can genuinely improve.

Many spas offer a minimum of three services to clients, in addition to product lines available for purchase, because they know no single, one-service treatment is an age reversing elixir. Clients have to maintain a consistent treatment regimen to achieve results. While some clients have commitment issues or are afraid of big numbers, most are well acquainted with subscription models. By implementing a monthly membership and rewards program, professionals can see a higher frequency of visits and a lower loss of time and revenue by cancelation. The best way to start modeling a membership program is to offer a set number of treatments included in a single, monthly, billable-based price that is the average of each treatment combined discounted by up to 30% for three-, six-, and 12-month commitments.

Monitoring expenses is a standard operating procedure of any business. However, over-monitoring these and not stocking for growth can significantly impact the confidence clients have in a professional’s investment in a product line and the results they offer. Be vested in the spa’s product lines. Put them on display in a fashion that showcases the products’ information and stock them in quantities that create a reachable and stocked appeal. Regularly arrange these products and dust their shelving as to present them as commonly purchased items. Clients’ receptiveness to these products will shift from “no thank you” to “I’ll try it.”

Loyal customers are the key to residual income in a retail spa location. However, these regular visiting clients may not always promote record-breaking months in revenue. Consistency with current clients is critical for revenue, but attracting and keeping new clients is gold for the business. If having trouble getting new clients in the door, try increasing social media and local marketing efforts, including referral programs with partnering salons and clothing boutiques. Once new clients come to the spa, they need to feel as if they are being invited to an exclusive, member-only rejuvenation center. Start with the first greeting and new client onboarding. Give them something free, like water, tea, champagne, a hot towel, or a free service. Consult them on the spa’s approach and their current skin condition and follow up.

Getting the client back in the consultation room for a follow-up visit is the number one way to upsale outside of the treatment room. To motivate the client for a return visit, be sure to advocate for their results by capturing and explaining them. For each service booked, offer a free follow-up appointment within two to four weeks of their scheduled initial treatment. To ensure clients are upholding these secondary bookings, charge a small cancelation fee and offer discounts on add-on services in the second appointment. Again, using a before and after imaging tool is a great way to promote treatment efficacy and allow the client to see that the professional is invested in their results.

Besides products and services, the most valuable assets a spa can bring to their clients are the staff performing treatments. Keeping up with the newest techniques and industry trends is the first step. The second step is to share this knowledge with staff and have them attend continuing education events and training seminars. By investing in their expanded and advanced abilities, the spa’s earning potential will never suffer. The spas with the highest trained staff and most socially active staff members stand apart from competition and set the bar for level of care.

Updating client management systems creates efficiency in staff-to-client interaction, saving time and money. There are an array of client management systems that offer direct text appointment reminders, client charting, and analytics that can be used to drive efficiency. Whether happy with current client management setup or exploring new technology, validate that staff is adopting these systems by making a point to put key performance indicators around these platforms and their daily usage. Some of the consultation tools and before and after imaging systems mentioned above even manage photos and treatment plans for each client, as well as offer advertising of the spa’s full menu of service. It may seem ideal to consolidate every software the spa uses day to day, but do not be afraid to have multiple platforms in-use, so long as staff has high daily usage in each platform. Ignoring one platform over another and heavily tilting data on a single platform can be cumbersome to gauging the key performance indicators of each staff member’s approach. Limit usage to two to four platforms, integrate a process flow, and make this a mandatory standard operating procedure. Find out what works and what does not, implement desired methods, and reprimand any lack of usage. No matter how good staff are at sales, their performance should be monitored and their approach should be standardized. By managing activity, professional create ownership in a process flow that will not leave the spa if and when a great staff member may leave.
Spare no time or effort in creating an honest and realistic report of the spa’s current status on the above topics. If a professional is too invested in their brand and cannot see its flaws, they can hire a secret shopper to review, taking their feedback to heart. Growing a spa business is extremely difficult in a world of demanding clients who put their confidence and ego in the professional’s hands and are not afraid to leave online reviews. Clients are delicate and their experience can damage a spa’s local and online presence. Get ahead of a bad experience by focusing on efficiency. The days of being an elite service provider by having a treatment bed and a few essential treatments are over and simply providing treatments is not enough to keep a spa in business. Change the output of client satisfaction and attraction by dedicating energy to day to day operating procedures. These essential pillars of a business should be a focus in every square inch of the facility. Whether clients can see these in effect, or they are happening behind the scenes, every small change can have a large impact.

Austin Podowski 2019Austin Podowski, CEO of Synergy MedSales and CEO and founder of Aestheia Imaging is a past independent film actor, director, and producer that has transformed into an elite marketing specialist, serving as an A to Z business development executive since his youth, with several successful launches in his portfolio spanning from digital marketing and advertising to dental, cosmetic, and surgical device companies. With nearly two decades of work-life experience under various mentors, Podowski acts as a bridge between enterprise and the changing ideals of coming generations, as well as a zipline of efficacious technology to commercial industry.

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