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Marketing a Clean Spa

By: Janet McCormick
Posted: June 1, 2009, from the June 2009 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

Times are tight right now and spas want—and need—a larger share of clients. Spas, whether they are small or large, want to attract every client possible by using every method at their disposal to set themselves apart from their competition. How can your spa do this and then enjoy the benefits? Marketing your differences, if done properly, can bring in new clients and allow you to keep the ones you already have. But you need something new, a shtick, something they will notice and say, “Ah ha, that is where I want to have my treatments.”

Being clean

The very best gimmick is something that will not only attract clients for a one-time or occasional service, but will also spark loyalty and a good feeling about the entire spa. Goodwill can bring appointments into other parts of the spa, as well, if carefully marketed. One topic that can do this is client safety. Running a thoroughly clean establishment sets your spa apart from your competition, and will attract clients to your spa and keep them there. But first they need to know you are special in this arena of concern.

Safety is a growing worry for clients, mostly due to consumer media coverage about the damage and deaths caused by a few spas because of unsanitary conditions. The nail area of spas is a main focus when safety is considered because the most visible cases of sanitary neglect have occurred in this area. The media has announced the problems in the nail industry to the world and erroneously indicated that all nail services are dangerous. Many clients have accepted this judgment and do not have nail services, and some no longer go to spas.


Spa professionals generally believe that theirs is “Not one of those spas.” But is that true? Has a nail technician in your spa ever reused a file or orangewood stick? How about a towel? Do you require your nail clients to wash their hands before being seated at the service table? Do you give your nail technicians the support they need to be perfectly safe? Some important and marketable purchases and policies include the following:

Good quality, single-use nail files for technician use. Nail files traditionally are expensive. They cost from $1.75 up to almost $5 a piece, and that eliminates the profits of a manicure or pedicure if the file is thrown away, as per the regulation in every state. For that reason, many spas do not push the one-time use of files. Know, however, that there are inexpensive files available in multiple grits that can be purchased in bulk at reasonable prices.