The best way to alleviate holiday stress while increasing profits is with thorough preparation. In order to maximize earnings and have business operations run smoothly during the holidays, skin care professionals must be ready for the occasion. Taking the time to consider the logistics of a profitable season now, will pay off well in the long run.
Staff and Scheduling
As the holidays approach, spas are going to become very busy. With a higher volume of clients, spas and salons must make sure that they have an appropriate number of staff scheduled. So that no conflicting issues arise, be certain that the schedule is appropriately constructed and that each staff member knows when they are scheduled and when they are off. If need be, consider hiring seasonal staff. Failure to have a properly arranged schedule means missing out on booking opportunities and potential clients.
Adjust the Spa’s Hours
Whether opening earlier, closing later, or opening an additional day of the week, consider making an adjustment to create an opportunity for more clients to come in the door. Make sure to clearly display the holiday hours by updating the spa’s website and social media, sending regular e-mail blasts, and, of course, in the store.
Make the Most of Retail
The holiday season can be the best time to sell retail products at the spa. During this time, make sure to be fully stocked on product. To get clients’ attention, it is important to make sure retail products are kept where they can see them, such as the front window, main reception area, and at check-out. Create holiday displays with retail products and highlight product features
and benefits to make the buying process easier. These displays should be both in good taste and non-holiday specific. Keep the color scheme classic with silver and red ribbon or thin strands of garland. Bundle appropriate products with tissue paper and ribbon to make it look like a gift ready to go! Offer products such as a fast-acting mask or a skin exfoliator that give clients a quick makeover for upcoming out-of-town holiday events. Travel sizes and kits work well for trips away or for traveling home for the holidays as well.
Most importantly, to ensure that clients book appointments, make existing clients and potential new clients aware of holiday offerings. Make sure the spa’s website and social media pages are up to date with holiday hours, promotions on treatments or products, gift certificate availability, and special events. Similarly, send an e-mail blast to the client base to inform them of holiday offerings. Assign one or two staff members to make and perform social media updates and e-mail blasts that are tailored to the surge of shoppers starting from early in the season to last-minute purchasers. If professionals have a list of loyal clients, they may want to consider e-mailing or offering the clients a reward to thank them.
Gift certificates are a wonderful business builder during the holiday season. They bring in a great deal of cash up front for services yet to be rendered. These are great for both existing clients and potential clients who have never visited the spa. Make sure that everyone knows about the gift certificates and that it is easy for clients to obtain them.
It is key to make sure the staff is aware of the gift certificates and that they are passing the word to their clients.
Holiday bonuses can even be offered to the employees that sell a certain amount of gift certificates before January 1st. Word of mouth is also a powerful tool and advertising is a great way to bring attention to the spa. Advertise in areas where population segments can see it as a great last-minute option for the person who has everything. For ease and convenience, make the gift certificate available for sale on the website.
Be sure the gift certificates are festive and appropriate for the holiday season. Print them on beautiful silver or red card stock and place them on a shelf with an elegant display behind the register where clients can see them. Gift certificates can also be wrapped in a striking box. Make it a present the receiver would be excited
Also, do not underestimate the power of the ‘gift with purchase’ during the holidays. If someone buys a gift certificate for $200, they could receive a gift set worth $20 as a bonus. For many people, this gives them the power to cross two presents off their gift buying list at once! They can also keep the second gift for themselves as a personal treat. A free gift should be around 10 percent of what the client is spending. For example, if $500 is spent on a gift certificate, the free gift should be valued at $50 retail.
When considering gift options, one possible choice is to provide gift certificates specifically designed to be used after January 1st. Whether it is to help someone with their resolution to make healthier lifestyle choices, detoxify from party season, or perhaps help shed the cocoon of winter dry skin, it is important to think outside the box and the holiday season. This also helps initiate an increased flow of clients coming into the spa in the early months of the year.
REWARDS AND SKIN CARE CONCIERGE PROGRAMS
The holidays usually provide optimized traffic, both in the spa and on the website, making it the ideal time to launch a rewards program. Consider creating a VIP member service, which includes rewards such as free upgrades, early notice on upcoming sales, and special promotions. The amount charged to join these programs is paid up front, providing great cash flow for the business.
Wellness concierges, or lifestyle personal trainers, are popping up everywhere. These concierges help to manage personal fitness and health goals and schedule appropriate appointments to keep clients on track. Skin care is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle, so consider creating a skin care concierge program. Have an employee work individually with a client throughout the year to set goals and create an in-spa and at-home program. Emphasize in any publicity that holidays are the optimal time to sign up, assuring the client that they will be eased back on the healthy lifestyle band wagon come January 1st. This program can outline specific needs for each month such as detoxifying treatments for January, Valentine’s Day-inspired body smoothing for February, March cellulite treatments, and more. Compliment information material with the appropriate retail product suggestions for each treatment.
Most importantly, support the staff! Having a well-informed, motivated staff who have integrated into a team is the best investment for a successful holiday season. Schedule staff meetings to boost morale, keep the flow of communication open, reiterate and review all special holiday promotions, troubleshoot problems, and assess and reward progress. Be sure to include everyone, from the back bar to the front desk. These meeting can be made into miniature parties with holiday fare and gifts for all.
HOLIDAY SPA MENU
The most important factor to consider during the holidays is the health and well-being of the client. Spas are sanctuaries for over-stressed and overworked shoppers. The effects of stress, lack of sleep, and overwork can be extremely damaging to their health and well-being. Services such as facials, body treatments, and massages are crucial. Be sure to not only highlight gift giving, but also pampering services for clients to rest, rejuvenate, stay healthy, and get into the holiday spirit.
Create a special, seasonal holiday menu of spa services to pamper and rejuvenate clients, giving them a necessary time-out. When creating a seasonal menu, keep in mind that ingredients like peppermint, vanilla, and sugar will help get everyone in the holiday spirit. This seasonal menu can include express services for those who are time challenged, traditional treatments tailored to solve holiday-induced problems and soothe frayed nerves, and post-holiday treatments to get everyone back on the wellness wagon.
HOLIDAY EXPRESS TREATMENTS
Designate specific times throughout the day for holiday express services, such as the lunch hour and after 5 p.m., to cater to those who need shortened services. These treatments should be like a miniature holiday party, offering rejuvenating teas or glasses of wine and champagne, a fruit and cheese platter, and plenty of water. Treatments can be as short in duration as 10 minutes, but no longer than 30. Whatever their choice of treatment, be sure to recommend complementary retail products for at-home use. Menu items could be modeled after the following:
The ‘Hand Treatment and Massage’ is a great, fast fix for tired, dry, and cracked hands. It is also a great way to upgrade another treatment or precede a holiday manicure. Start by applying a rich, moisture mask and cover the hands in plastic wrap. Then insert their hands in electric mittens for eight minutes. Provide the client with a shoulder, neck, and scalp massage. After eight minutes, remove their hands from the mittens and remove the mask with a warm towel. Towel dry their hands and proceed with a five-minute hand massage, using an oil-rich hand cream.
The ‘Tired Leg Rejuvenator’ combines a body mask with mint oils to soothe, stimulate, and rejuvenate tired legs, but does not require a shower. The mask should be blended with peppermint oil drops and applied to the legs. Follow by wrapping the legs with Mylar. Once their legs are covered, drape a sheet over the legs and allow the client to rest for 20 minutes while a shoulder, neck, and scalp massage is performed. Unwrap the Mylar and remove the mask with warm towels. Mix two ounces of body cream with four drops of peppermint oil and apply to the legs in long, effleurage strokes, back and front.
The ‘Express Facials’ can run the gamut from quick, deep pore-cleansing masks to miniature glycolic peels for smoother and brighter skin in 15 minutes. Clients can get an express lift with a traditional facial mask, featuring argireline hexapeptide and bearberry to help reduce hyperpigmentation. A sheet mask infused with aloe vera and natural botanicals can also be used to de-stress, de-puff, and refresh the skin for a more luminous complexion in less than 10 minutes.
An ‘Express Waxing’ can be performed on the lower legs, under arms, and eyebrows. This combination is perfect for getting ready for a special event.
Décolleté treatments should consist of a mild peel that can help clients show more skin during the holiday. They can also be done in combination with express leg treatments.
FULL BODY AND FACE TREATMENTS
If the client has more time, encourage them to enjoy the benefits of a full body/facial treatment. A full body treatment can help prepare the client to show off their back and legs in a party dress by helping to slim and reduce cellulite. A full facial treatment, while initially appearing to be too time consuming, can be remarkably anti-aging, lifting, and faster and more cost effective than surgery. Be sure to follow up the treatment with recommendations for the proper ancillary retail products to complement these treatments at home. Full body and face treatments could include the following:
Thalassotherapy is based on the traditions of European thalassotherapy, which includes a fresh seaweed mask that is warmed to body temperature and then smoothed over the body. The body is then wrapped in a warm, thermal blanket to help relieve stress and invigorate sore, stiff muscles. A shower and full body massage completes this experience, leaving the client newly recharged and balanced.
Body scrubs are perfect, mid-holiday pick-me-ups. A body scrub followed with a full body massage will leave the client with ultra-smoothed skin and feeling invigorated and energized.
Full facials, such as a 55-minute skin brightening facial, can transform winter-weary skin to energized and glowing skin in less than an hour. Facials should include masks and creams that enhance cell renewal, reduce inflammation, and reveal a more luminous complexion.
No other time of the year offers more opportunity for increasing service and sales with existing and prospective clients. Proper planning, creative thinking, and diligent implementation of a cogent holiday business plan can be an assurance of yearly, increased growth. Start working on a plan now and enjoy the benefits of a happy and prosperous holiday season well into the new year.
Lydia Sarfati, president and founder of Repêchage, is an internationally-recognized skin care expert quoted in Vogue, In Style, Glamour, and New York Times, as well as featured on CNN, CBS, and FOX. Sarfati is the creator of the world-renowned Four Layer Facial® and has over 30 years of experience as an aesthetician, spa owner, manufacturer, and consultant. She authored Success at Your Fingertips: How to Succeed in the Skin Care Business. She has recently been appointed honorary chair of EstheticsAmerica, CIDESCO USA and is the Skin Care & Spa Council Director of Intercoiffure North America.