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The Economic Influence

By: Cathy Christensen
Posted: February 26, 2009, from the March 2009 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
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Spas are figuring out creative ways to fill those empty slots in their schedules, too. “During Christmas, we normally are slow, but we saw an even bigger slowdown in 2008,” explains Kelly Swalheim, operations manager of Balance Day Spa in Greensboro, North Carolina. This increase spurred the spa to place ads on Web sites such as TomorrowOnly.com, which showcases limited-time deals for local consumers. “If we saw that we were slow tomorrow, we would decide to place an ad offering a 60-minute massage for the price of a 45-minute massage,” explains Swalheim, who also attacked the problem by writing specials on a board and placing it outside the spa because it is located in a high-traffic area.

Another popular method of filling open slots quickly is e-mail blasting your database of current clients or reaching out to them through business partnerships. “We are collaborating with Edible Arrangements and just trying to come up with ways to get as many people through the doors as possible,” says Aderibigbe. Along with collaborations, the team at A-Skin CareSalon keeps its books full by letting current clients know they care by composing handwritten, personalized cards. And many spas believe this type of catering to clients is the very best way to keep them coming back.

Catering to current clients

Although new clients are a definite plus, now is the time to make those loyal clients even more faithful to your business. “We’ve been receiving all of our clients for a long time, and they’ve been generous, so we’ve decided that it is our turn,” says Ireifej. “We’ve been very giving with discounts and are creating new treatments, as well.” These new services aren’t just shots in the dark; Ireifej and her daughters Rowena and Sylvia take measured steps in offering client-friendly treatments by looking closely at what their current clients have preferred in the past. “It’s helping us and helping the clients,” Ireifej says.

Aderibigbe’s team is also examining its current menu. “We’re constantly revisiting our services and trying to see how we can make them more appealing to people,” she says. When considering a new service, they fall back on one of their spa’s strengths: knowing their clientele. “We have a pretty predictable clientele for the most part, and we just brainstorm about what it might like. We try to add personal touches to what we do, and always greet clients as friends and family because a lot of them have been coming here for years,” Aderibigbe explains.

When it comes to taking care of clients, Donovan’s Serenity & Wellness Spa not only offers new client-focused treatments, but also identifies products that work and can’t be found anywhere else in their area. “We’ve decided to offer a Breakfast in Bed spa day that uses different breakfast ingredients, such as egg whites, coffee scrubs and orange oils,” says Donovan, who polled her current clients about what they thought sounded like a good spa day.