As a spa professional I am often highly disappointed in the level of service delivered at Five-Star spas and resorts. I’m an American living in Bangkok, so I’m particularly sensitive to respecting the local culture.
However, it seems as though a trade-off has taken place which has allowed the universal “culture of spa” to be compromised. It seems to me that it’s been replaced by a lazy, non-caring apathy masquerading as customer service.
This weekend heralds in one of the largest spending holidays during the year, Mother’s Day. In the United States alone, 2.35 billion was spent on flowers. Spas generated a not too shabby 1.47 billion in revenue earnings. Read More
So often the performance rating of a receptionist is predicated on her charm or even her beauty. It’s rare that she or he is judged on their ability to engage with clients in a way that drives sales.
I like to tell the following story because I think that it’s indicative of so many spas. Your reception area can be a microcosm of your entire operation and as such can shed light on your flagging sales. Read More
Spa managers are busy people. That’s why it’s important to have tried and tested ways to quickly improve your retail sales. Here are five methods guaranteed to not only drive your sales up but inspire your staff to new heights. Read More
Doug Chambers, founder/principal of Blu Spas, Inc. stated “A key to understanding the male skin care market is to understand that customization is just as relevant to the male market as it is to the female market. All too often spa menus feature multiple facial options unmistakably crafted for women and a single one-size-fits-all facial for men.”
A more customized experience for men should be the goal, accommodating the individual needs and desires of your target male market.
One way to begin that process is to identify which products among your retail selection are ideal for men. But with the wide range of products now available specifically suited to men’s needs, there is no longer an excuse for not having a section of your spa menu and products dedicated to the the fellas.
Social media and news outlets are bringing us closer together minute by minute. Air travel is faster and more frequent; most areas of the world can be accessed within 24 hours. Opportunities to conduct business with a global clientele are increasing exponentially. So what can spa therapists do to help build a brand which attracts and maintains the attention of treatment lovers from around the world?
What’s guaranteed to work every time and garner rave reviews on social media sites? Check this out-
Smile. A smile is a universal welcoming signal that crosses all boundaries and immediately puts your client at ease. Further engagement with the guest is mandatory and serves to benefit the therapist as well so make sure that the charm is dialed on high.
Interview your client. Use that intake form to begin your conversation.with your client. Everyone’s situation and reason for visiting the spa is different. Give men the same amount of time and respect for discussion as women, their needs are often just as pressing. Don’t assume anything, ask questions and listen well.
Don’t categorize your clients. When it comes to skin and body care, knowledge of the Fitzpatrick Classification Scale is not enough. Multi-ethnicity is everywhere and creates some very interesting characteristics that probably weren’t covered in your massage or aesthetics classes. Gather as much information as possible, this will help to ensure great service.
Make the client comfortable. People come in all shapes and sizes. Have a plan in case a plus sized or small person walks into your spa. Be sensitive to the hairstyles of your clients. If she (or he) has a lot of hair offer her two headbands rather than one. Don’t assume that the hair is all hers. Ask if its OK before plunging your hands into someone’s mane to perform a head massage. If you are performing facial services on a bald man give his head some love too. It’s exposed to the sun and needs care.
Cleanse, remove and check. When I worked as a makeup artist for a spa, I would frequently have to remove leftover makeup from my client’s neck or traces of masque from their nostrils, post facial. If a man has facial hair, masque may cling to his face. Check your clients in the daylight before sending them back out in public. They’ll appreciate your attentiveness.
Use your loupe. Don’t trust your lying eyes. Examine the skin closely under a magnifying lamp and report your findings to your client.
Be gentle. You will never go wrong if you treat all skin with respect. There is a commonly held belief that darker skin tones can tolerate more aggressive products. The opposite is true. Here’s the rule of thumb: If you are causing pain to your client, you are probably causing damage. This will get your name on social media quickly but not in a good way.
Avoid extractions. A good practice is to focus on providing clients with skin that is polished, luminous and smooth to the touch. No one on vacation wants their skin to look damaged. If your client returns to you often, you can then create a schedule for deep cleaning and extractions.
Make product recommendations Almost no one travels a distance and gets a treatment to not take something home with them. Therapists have problems selling because they fail to initially engage with their client. If you have a product that you really believe in or that worked incredibly well during treatment share the knowledge with your client. Recommend that they buy another for gifting, especially if it’s unique to your spa.
Make care recommendations One of the ways to show true interest in your client is a final written recommendation for body and skin treatments once they return home. Create a three month schedule for them to follow, include a sentiment thanking them for visiting the spa. Send it to their email address. They will appreciate the reminder to take care of themselves and likely follow your expert advice.
I am based in Asia however it seems that when it comes to the spa industry in general, “don’t ask don’t tell” is the policy that folks often operate from. I had a massage the other day at a Five-Star hotel in my neighborhood. It was serviceable enough and I left feeling better. It was everything else that happened around the service which made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Read More
My father used to tell my sister and me that whenever something looked easy, it was probably because the person doing it was very good at it. He would say that unbeknownst to us that person had been practicing for a very long time and there was no such thing as instant mastery or “overnight sensation”. Most of us found this to be true the first time we attempted to “moonwalk” like Michael Jackson. Read More
Working at a spa may be a life calling for many of us but that doesn’t make it lucrative. When I began working in the spa industry as a therapist I saw a serious deficit in my finances. Transitioning from a management position at a Fortune 500 company was a huge change. In the past, I’d had the ability to pay off monthly bills, take two vacations per year, and save a substantial amount in my 401K and bank account. But the trade-off was well worth it. I no longer suffered from daily migraines and high blood pressure. When I left my corporate job I didn’t look back. Not once.
I never saw making money and helping people as mutually exclusive. Early on in my position as a therapist, I realized that I still wanted to take nice vacations. I’d grown used to having them and saw no reason to eliminate them from my list of things to look forward to. I’d simply have to find a way to earn money beyond the compensation of the spa services listed on my daily activity schedule.
I had noticed that the spa receptionists tended to book the most basic, least expensive treatments. To increase my earnings I only had to up-sell those services and sell our retail products to realize a much healthier paycheck.
I started by listing the top five basic treatments-these were the ones most frequently booked. On the same sheet of paper, I listed their upgraded versions and the benefits of each. I viewed them through my customer’s eyes; why would I shell out an extra $25, $50 or $75 dollars? Was it really justified? The answer was yes. The upgraded treatments were far superior. They were more effective and luxurious. Many of them were longer. For most clients, the additional time was a plus. I decided that unless a customer was adamant about the treatment they had booked, I would recommend an upgrade to everyone. I also made it a point to schedule the treatments for myself. That way I could make my recommendations based upon personal experience.
Almost everyone accepted the upgrade. I discovered that most people just want what is best and the difference in cost doesn’t really matter to them. If you explain how they will benefit they are more than willing to defer to your expert judgement.
By up-selling my client from a basic $95 treatment to one that costs $150-$165 I was generating much more revenue. The additional commission from related retail products I sold was also making a difference in my earnings.
Buoyed by my success, I began cross-selling services in other departments to my clients as well. After all, if I’m performing a hydrating body wrap, why not suggest that they care for their feet as well with a spa pedicure? If I felt shoulder or neck tightness during a facial I would recommend a massage. My clients would ask me to book them with other technicians that I felt would be a good match for their personality. People enjoy having a their own “glam squad” and their return visits ensured everyone’s job security.
Interestingly, once cross-selling between therapists begins it becomes viral. It’s a feel good activity that promotes teamwork, greater client satisfaction and higher revenues for all. Therapists tend to be some of the most giving people in the world but perhaps taking the step to identify our financial WIFM, (what’s in it for me) would have benefits for all.
It’s no secret that most spas don’t exactly have their retail products leaping off the shelves. And it might come as no surprise that the spa treatment a customer books might not necessarily be the best one to resolve their particular issues. That is where the expertise of the therapist should come in.
But unfortunately many therapists are doing one half of what they should be doing. They’re not listening well, they’re not guiding your customers to the most effective spa treatment(s) and they’re not making product recommendations or sales.
This is a problem. According to a recent spa study;
–If a client buys 2 products there’s a 60% chance they will revisit -If a client buys 1 product, there is a 30% chance they will revisit -If a client buys no products there is a 10% chance they will revisit
For those resort hotels and spas with multiple locations around the globe with branding that has been meticulously cultivated, this may play out even more. With so much at stake, therapist training should be at the top of senior management’s budget.
Most schools do a great job of laying the foundation for performing treatments. But selling or making product recommendations? Not so much. So how do the therapists learn this skill? Isn’t it taught by the product representatives? Well, the truth is that the product reps are there to promote their products, not to train the therapists on how to engage with your customers.
Customer engagement is an entirely different skill set. If you have invested time and money into sales training for your therapists in the past, it was probably quite effective. For one or two weeks, maybe even a month.
And then your numbers began to creep down again. Ever had that experience?
That’s because most traditional sales training is designed for extroverts. Research tells us that most spa therapists and support staff (with therapist backgrounds) are introverts. These are folks who prefer to work in a very quiet setting in a one on one situation.
Most traditional sales training is delivered in a manner which is the exact opposite of your therapist’s comfort zone.
“Sales within spas are different than other retail environments, they are much more intimate and personal, says Lynne McNees, president of the International Spa Association (ISPA). “The therapists are professionals within their fields, so it’s not so much a sales push as it is a recommendation to the client.”
The best training builds upon the considerable emotional intelligence of the therapists. The results can be dramatic and immediate.
Just some food for thought as you review your monthly revenue report. Maybe it’s time to do something different.