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Glen Ellyn's Downtown Spa Hop: A Case Study

By: Sara Mason
Posted: May 31, 2012, from the June 2012 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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Appleberry points out that word-of-mouth allows the Spa Hop to go beyond those who attended. “Ultimately, our goal was that half would return, but even if they didn’t, we hope that they tell others about their experience,” she says. A month later, about 35% of those clients introduced during the Spa Hop have returned for a full-service treatment.

Considerations

For some smaller spas, it was difficult to get the volume more well-known spas experienced. Andrea Nierhoff of Shear Pandemonia, a six-chair salon, offered clients two options: a blow-dry with styling, and a 10-minute, half-face demo of a galvanic spa, an at-home treatment that can be purchased from the business’s retail area. Although all the appointments available were filled, Nierhoff didn’t have the staff to bring in as many potential clients. As a result, she didn’t see a return on the investment. “We found there just wasn’t enough time to show what kind of quality hair care services we offer,” she states. Nierhoff is also concerned that the express appointment didn’t allow her team to meet client expectations.

There is some flexibility in the way appointments are set up, however, and each spa owner has to make the determination about what will work best. Nierhoff explained she did have one client who had extra time built in, providing more opportunity to demonstrate the product and talk about the services available, making for a positive encounter. However, others were in a hurry to move on to their next appointment and didn’t seem to want to take the time to have the full experience.

Nevertheless, Nierhoff plans to participate in the future. “The event is great for the community and brings new people to our area,” she says.

Working together

One of the keys to a successful event was the Alliance working together as local business owners, uniting as a whole to share their passion with the community. “Each of the spas is so different, with a variety of atmospheres, product lines, services and so on, to set them apart and to draw different clients,” says Appleberry. “There’s no reason to be competitive; instead, we work together and support one another.” Other participants in the Spa Hop included Cheveux Salon & Day Spa, Cosmo’s Beauty Bar, Escape Salon & Spa, Jazz Salon, Linea Hair Salon & Day Spa, Salon Estem, Skin Solutions, and Teas & Toes. The Spa Hop and other Alliance events, such as a Wedding Walk and Shops & Hops, featuring live music and open shops, are a great way to help people get to know the area. “They see the spas and see the neighborhood and other shops and businesses; it’s a new experience,” says Appleberry.