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The Main Event

Cathy Christensen January 2010 issue of Skin Inc. magazine
Living Eleven Las Vegas

The Eleven Spa Las Vegas location evokes Old-Hollywood glamour in a state-of-the-art event space.

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Whether you host parties or simply attend them, you know that there are key elements that can make or break the experience, including the music, food and guests. One of the most essential components to a great party, however, is the vibe—the feel of the party, the atmosphere. Without the right space, a party can fall flat and become downright uncomfortable.

Spas by nature are comfortable, nurturing spaces that are welcoming to their specific clientele, and often provide the perfect atmosphere for events ranging from bridal showers and birthday parties to corporate meetings and fundraisers. In order to open the doors to these types of events, however, a spa needs to have a space that can accommodate groups of people in a comfortable and harmonious way. But this doesn’t mean that only resort spas can cash in on this additional revenue stream—both small and large day spas can find ways to multitask their existing space or build on specifically to host events within the spa itself.

Don’t forget to check with your city’s building and fire codes and ensure that you learn about what is legally required of you before beginning the project. However, with planning and forethought, your building may be able to provide some relief for your stretched spa services revenue in the form of events.

Small to mid-sized spa spaces

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Eleven Spa Makeup Bar

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More Advice for Handling Spa Parties

Once you have the room built, staffed and marketed, what are the nitty gritty details behind handling spa parties? A recent Vocal Point question on revealed helpful advice from your peers who are spa party veterans. For additional responses, log on to

“We do spa parties regularly at Skin Haven and have learned throughout the years how to handle all the details in a mutually pleasing manner. We always make a payment schedule, including a deposit when a date is secured, and balance due one week before the event. We put all the details in writing for approval in advance so we can put together the treatment schedule, catering and any other special requests. The main thing is to anticipate the customer’s needs and anticipate any potential issues and avoid problems on the day of the event. We also like to have an extra front-of-house staffer working any large party in order to ensure smooth sailing for both clients and therapists. Parties are fun, and planning ahead makes everything better.”

—Sharon Ronen, Founder/CEO, Skin Haven Spa Studio & Wellspa, Los Angeles

“Clients must choose their services when making an appointment and at that time, pay 50% of the cost of the total services. It is made clear to them the services cannot be changed on the day of the spa party and times of services must be adhered to. I found it very helpful for one member of the party to be the chairperson and because she knows everyone, she, along with a member of the staff, can keep things moving so everyone is where they are supposed to be at the time they are scheduled. At the end of the party, we present a gift to the chairperson and everyone goes home happy.”

—Bettye Odom, President, Bettye O Day Spa, Chicago

“To host parties at our spa, we have created a position—spa groups concierge/salesperson—whose job it is to facilitate and create events for social guests for birthday parties, bridal showers and corporate groups. This type of business makes up 15% of our total reservations, so it is critical that we oversee the event details closely. We have found it a challenge that group clients want to have a visiting or party-type of spa day, so we have created a special spa suite away from the main spa, on the fifth floor of the hotel overlooking the city of San Francisco, where members of the group can go to let their hair down.

“This spa suite is equipped to perform manicures and pedicures, massages, body treatments and facials. It has a living room, dining area, lockers, a couples treatment room, a manicure/pedicure set-up and a private bathroom with a shower. This gives the group members a private getaway to laugh and party, but they also can go to our main spa to swim, workout, steam and sauna.

“We also ask the groups to sign a contract we’ve created that reviews the spa policy, including that groups must pre-order food, that an automatic 20% gratuity is charged for the staff and that there is a more strict cancellation policy to adhere to. We’ve found creating these expectations ahead of time makes the day go smoother, not only for the spa, but also for the clients. It is our desire to create a magical day for them, free of any concerns, and we find that we usually do with this program.”

—Jenean LaRoche, Spa Director, Nob Hill Spa at the Huntington Hotel, San Francisco

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