Curb appeal is the first impression in real estate, and a spa business should also be doubly mindful of this fact. As a spa owner, presenting a clean, accessible, and inviting storefront speaks volumes to what treatments or pampering clients should expect when they walk in the door.
As the number of spas and medical spas increases, it is vital to find a design theme that can not only stand out from the competition but invite new clients in.
Attention should be given to spa interiors and treatment rooms, color pallets, lighting, sound, and furniture. It can be a real detriment to not continue that level of attention to the exterior.
Not every spa can be located on acres of lush woodlands or sandy beaches tucked away in a private retreat. In fact, many of them are right next door in urban locations, such as shopping strip malls and small storefronts. While there may be some limitations to what can be built out or designed in a congregated shopping center, there are still plenty of small ways to make a big impact and draw more people to the spa’s location.
CLEANLINESS & ACCESSIBILITY
A successful spa-front should be clean, well-designed, on-trend, and accessible. Consider all aspects of that first-impression, including parking availability, sidewalks or paths, plants or foliage, and overall design.
One of the more frustrating experiences in urban living is to drive by a new restaurant or business you would love to visit only to discover, they only offer street or two-hour metered parking. Many potential clients will keep on driving or go looking for a better location. If parking is an issue, try to find alternatives nearby. Perhaps the spa can offer valet or rent space from another local business or parking garage. The ability to allow clients to stay longer if they so choose is a big plus.
Once parking is situated, pay attention to the condition of the sidewalks and walkways. Are they cracked and uprooted? Are they a tripping hazard? Are they accessible and navigable by anyone with a handicap? Are they littered with trash or debris? If possible, can a custom-stamped sidewalk or pathway be done? The dollars are in the details. Spending even a little bit more of the budget for a slightly higher end landscape or walkway will make all the difference.
SIGNAGE & OVERALL DESIGNS
You probably will spend hours if not weeks deciding on the interior design theme of the spa. Making sure the color pallets were exactly right – soothing and calm or bold and glossy. Whatever the style, don’t forget to carry that theme outdoors. It will tell clients what they can expect when they go inside. If there is space for planters, greenery, or fountains, use every inch to the spa’s advantage. Outdoor patios can become great gathering places for socializing while offering a calm environment sheltered from the noise and traffic with affordable facades, such as screens or noise-cancelling fountains. Outdoor speakers can also be incorporated to bring soothing music outside and create another potential draw for clients looking for a little retreat. Crafting a multi-use space that merges a lounge, retail, or juice and tea area establishes an environment that feels social but still makes money.
Signage is also a big draw or detractor. Does it match the overall theme and color palette of the interior? Is it loud and noisy, with overly bold colors and giant lettering? Does it look more like a relaxing spa or a busy nightclub? Keep signage simple and to a minimum, including informational signs, like specials and pricing. Help draw a potential client in to ask more questions about services. Cleary mark the address, store hours, and contact info on a window or tent sign. Also, don’t forget to post signs indicating if the spa is open or closed.
EVOLVING WITH TRENDS & COMPETITION
Perhaps the spa is just starting out on a very small budget, and the owner is doing most of the work themself. Maybe they have been in the spa business for years and have a reliable team of experts at their disposal. Whatever the situation, one thing is for sure in a world surrounded by the latest, newest treatments and on-trend styles – spas cannot get lazy and let storefront designs fall years behind competitors.
To be successful, spas must know the size of the customer bases, the size of the spa, and what the competition is doing. Spas need their own distinction in the marketplace. The brand and design should also reflect the location and the culture or tastes in which the spa resides. Choosing certain materials, woods, plants, and so forth based on the local climate or from local sources is an eco-friendly option and will usually cost less. A spa that looks like a beach resort might not do so well high in the mountains or in a cold climate for instance. Do the research first whenever possible. Once the design is implemented, check in once a year or so to monitor, measure results, and make changes as needed.
With the right plan, incorporating the same design style inside and outside, and paying attention to the details, a spa is sure to hit the mark and help the professional build a successful spa business.
Rachelle Dupree has over 20 years of experience in marketing, media, communications, and design. She studied with a Denver-based herbalist and naturopath for four years, combining her marketing knowledge with her love of natural remedies and skincare. She currently contracts as a marketing and communications director for Vivoderm Natural Skincare and various design clients.