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Saturday, 14 May 2011 15:17

The Spa Experience Expanded

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Spas are relaxing, pampering and non-invasive places of retreat from daily life, right? Although partly true, thinking this may limit the possibilities available. Of course we do not need to go to the other extreme, deliberately causing pain and trauma. Yet we can balance the treatment mix to include more treatment modalities in capturing a wider client and/or treatment base.
Spa service is well founded with a long tradition in many parts of the world – as people move around, they bring with them high expectations of service, and will demand the same high quality of spa service everywhere they seek treatment.

Brief History
The word spa (as a noun) is described as a mineral spring or a place where such a spring is found. The word, as we know it, comes from the 17th century, named after a town called Spa in East Belgium, noted for its medicinal mineral springs. In Australia, our spa history actually comes from the clinical area of skin care, where people went for symptom relief of their medical concerns. This came mainly from the mineral water pools that are the ancient precursor to present day hydrotherapy and thalassotherapy.

Growth Areas
The day spa concept is accepted in America, yet much still needs to done in gathering a wider knowledge of the possibilities and having public recognition of such. I think that one way of getting more recognition is as an adjacent set of therapies aligned with other disciplines. This is the direction of future care – the more holistic concept of total care – mind, body, and spirit. In time, these will grow into Wellness or Longevity Centers.
These will be one stop shopping centers for all or at least most of the requirements of care in dealing with the pressures of living in this new century. The experience of the client’s expectation will be more than product, equipment and décors. Another direction is the more clinical one, in treating patients undergoing surgical enhancement. There is no reason why these patients cannot be treated in the spa environment. This was the original intent of the medical spa.

To be successful in this area, you will need a defined philosophy of who and what you are. What do you want to be known for? What exactly is your market niche?
Clearly define strategies as to how you can reach goals in broadening your treatment mix. Develop your own personalized signature philosophy and be true to your commitment. You cannot have serious skin care while you have tanning beds as an example.
Grow slowly and steadily for as much as you may want to – you cannot be all for all people until you have grown into this stage, bringing a loyal clientele with you. To a large extent, it will be your client base that will define the direction to take.

Market Analysis
A good solid market analysis is needed to define your target market and what they want. What qualities do you want to embody – be realistic – if you want a male clientele, then do not have a pink palace. Demographics and psychographics play such an important part in this analysis.
Psychographics – how clients perceive you. Their assessment and decision comes from their understanding of your business and what value they see it as. As good as you think you are – people will not drive all over town to get to you. Most clients come from a ten-mile radius; there are just too many choices for them, many of which are much closer. Open when your clients can get to you, opening hours are for them, not for you.

Detail to Service
Absolute detail to service is required each and every time. This detail must be known to all team members, as it is their requirement to always give quality service, to each and every client, each and every time – not just as a token gesture.
If one detail is missing, then what else has been missed? Everything must be correct each time and totally clean for each client.
If you have more than five staff, then you must have a dedicated person for cleaning. Do you know how much down time there is without such a person? Here are some details that perhaps you do not think of and they are the biggest turn offs to clients, as noted in a recent survey:

  • Staff noise – always speak in a low volume
  • Ringing phones – close off treatment rooms from public area
  • Clunky heels – wear slippers – I mean the staff as well as clients
  • Knocking on door – or worse yelling, to announce next client (have vibratory pagers)
  • Inappropriate music or volume of such – use individual music in each room and find out the client’s preference so you can play it next time.
  • Again you must ask yourself, is this for my client or is it because I like it?

Everything is done for one person only – the client. Form a partnership with your client to undertake treatment protocols/programs. Have packages to price point – the client chooses the treatments they want up a given price. Take personalization a little further by having an ‘a la carte’ menu within the ‘a la carte’ treatments; menu within the menu. (Do not however make it too confusing.)
The client gets to choose the type of cleanser, the exfoliation method, massage type, etc. Of course this is all within your guidance of suitability for that particular client.
This has been termed internal personalization – they choose, giving them greater control of their treatment.
External personalization could be being sent a personal handwritten birthday card with some type of incitement to return – if a regular client, offer them the opportunity to give the offer to a friend.

No business can survive without selling. How successful you are in this area is dependent on how you go about it. It is far better nowadays to simply allow the client to buy, rather than you having to sell. You sell your time and treatments, yet not home care. Each client should take home product that is approximately double the money spent on treatments.
Continuity of this personal care extends to the client’s daily life – in providing them the opportunity to continue serious skin care on a daily basis. I believe it is your professional responsibility to do so. Rather than thinking you must sell them home care; simply allow them to buy it. It seems small, yet it is a radical shift in thought patterning to do this. Look at your retail area – is it easy for clients to self-serve, pick up items, read labels, and such? Do not make it hard for them to sell to themselves.
Each client counts in terms of business growth. Think how you can cross-link services. If you use it – sell it! (Body brushes, sponges, bath salts, essential oils, and such). Each member of your team must be aware of the cost of business and the need to increase business.

Complementary disciplines
One of the best tricks is to have someone else do most of the work. If you have a spare room, turn it into an informal office for others to work from.
Work building your wellness center by having your client’s accessing other complimentary disciplines:

  • Nutrition Herbology
  • Naturopath Iridology
  • Homoeopath Podiatry

With the use of a massage table then more possibilities open up:

  • Reflexology Alexander
  • Reiki Shiatsu
  • Bowen Cranio-sacral
  • Osteopath

Form a partnership with your suppliers that is mutually beneficial, instead of just someone to buy from. Your suppliers must be in total support, for they themselves grow by helping you to grow. Ask as many specific questions as you need too, in making sure you want to form an association with them. Use a little bit of lateral thinking – can products be used in another situation – rather than having a host of different products, can they become multi purposeful. Buy product and equipment as you need them for your short-term planning – do not expect your supplier to have one bottle of product to you yesterday. Plan ahead and take notice of supplier deals and specials.

Eastern Therapies
Integration of therapies from eastern cultures is happening, yet greater understanding still needs to be gained. Although these can be a wonderful addition to the service mix, you must know what you are doing.
You really must know about this system, not merely one treatment that has been totally rearranged to suit your spa situation. The basic tenet of Ayurvedic treatments is that of Panchakarama – restoring balance to the physiognomy (the features or characteristic expression as an indication of personality or well-being.). You must be aware of the tridoshas – vata, pitta and kapha.
Vata – governs all motion (breathing, circulation, elimination, nerve impulses). Qualities – dry, rough, light, cold, thin.
Pitta – governs digestion and metabolism (process of food, water, and air in the body). Qualities – hot, oily, acidic, sharp, intense
Kapha – governs structure and balance (muscle, fat, bone). Qualities – heavy, solid, cold,
soft, sweet.
These actually subdivide into five subdoshas – tarpaka, bhodaka, avalambaka, kledaka and sheshaka. In regards to beauty, the ayurvedic tradition relates to ‘the three pillars
of beauty’:

  • Rupam (outer beauty) – This is the outer appearance of the nail, skin and teeth; plus the general bearing and posture.
  • Gunam (inner beauty) – Influence of mind and consciousness – mental well-being from diet, happiness, and such.
  • Vayastyag (enduring beauty) – Cellular and psychological aging primarily based on detoxification.You likely only know one treatment – shirodhara (dripping oil onto the third eye.) This is not a one treatment does all type of situation.

Chinese Like ayurveda, the traditions here are based on the separateness only in relationship to the whole. Yin and Yang; being different, yet together as one in harmony.
Yin - dark, cold, wet, night, moon, calm, female, passive
Yang - light, hot, dry, day, sun, quick, active, male
Chinese-based treatments follow a very detailed analysis in four parts:
Bo-Shin looking
Bun – Shin listening
Mon – Shin asking
Setsu – Shin touching.
Shin relates to spirit – spirit manifests as physical.
There are many treatments that could be used from these two fine traditional therapy streams. One must however be careful – as you treat one symptom, so you change the whole.

Color and aroma
Here are a few ideas to get you started in this area – become trained, as these areas are a study in themselves.
Pink – stimulating power
Rosewood and peppermint
For stubborn, sluggish and slow types.

Gold- achieves a balancing effect.
Lemon and bitter orange essential oils
Good for all.

Green/Turquoise – soothing
yet invigorating
Juniper and eucalyptus
For melancholy, sensitive, shy,
quiet types.

Violet – healing and sedating
Citronella and lemongrass oils
For strong willed, hot tempered, aggressive types.

Ask them how they feel – what sort of day they have had. Keep colors on pillows, bedding, and lights. Not scientific, yet subconsciously color therapy adds value.
It matters not if you are on the spa road or just getting started – the journey down spa lane is an exciting and interesting one. Take the journey step by step; always check the path you are on. Continue your training to be the best in what you do. Never forget that by putting themselves in your care, clients are expressing an intrinsic trust that their needs (often unspoken) are to be taken seriously.

Terry Everitt, Aesthetic Educators Director, is acknowledged for his advanced expertise and education in the area of clinical aesthetics, and he is regarded as a leading professional in the international aesthetic training industry. While trained in aesthetics in Los Angeles and specializing in Clinical Aesthetics, he now has his own consulting company based in Sydney, Australia, where in 2003 he was the recipient of the prestigious and nationally recognised Services to Industry Award, for his dedication to educational ideals and competencies. Everitt has a Bachelor of Health Science (Aesthetics) and presently involved in the development of post graduate programs in aesthetics and member of the Advisory Board of The Aesthetics Practitioners Advisory Network and the Journal Advisory Board for the Aesthetics Practitioners Journal. Everitt remains sought after for his eloquent speaking skills and ability to make technical subject matter appear easy and simple to understand – as well as maintaining an active membership within the following organizations: Australasian Academy of Anti-Ageing Medicine, Australian Society of Cosmetic Chemists, Australian Institute of Management, and the Australian Institute of Training and Development.

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