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SpaFinder Releases 2011 Global Spa Trends to Watch Report With Exclusive Commentary From SpaFinder President Susie Ellis

Posted: December 3, 2010

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And truly targeted luxury or spa-specific sites like SpaFinder's new Spa Rah Rah (in three cities, and rolling out across the country) or a Gilt City, reach much more discriminating spa-goers, which protects your brand, while attracting dedicated spa enthusiasts that you would want as clients and that are far more likely to seek and recognize real value and real quality rather than just seeking the lowest, rock-bottom price. They care about the spa they go to and the treatments being offered. In general, before you dive in, make sure the parameters and audience of the deal is manageable and exclusive enough for your business.

In every case, spas need to take a hard look upfront to make sure they can service (and service well) all the treatments they sell, so they should be able to insist on a cap. And they need to put together a truly attractive offer, but perhaps one that is slightly more expensive than an insanely low price on a single treatment where you can lose money every time you sell one. A spa could package things such as amenity areas or a product (that could cost $25 without the treatment). A good rule of thumb: Don't put together a package where you lose money on every one you sell, and consider giving a steep discount on a treatment where a series works best. For example, if you normally sell four laser hair removal sessions in a row, do a deep discount on one laser session.

And most importantly, no matter what the deal, spas need to focus intensely on pleasing, engaging and retaining this business (which can feel like mobs) after they come in. They need to capture all their info, follow up with thank yous and incentives to return. Really own the follow-up communications with that customer to turn them into a regular client, or what is the point?

6. The Science of Spa

Is there scientific proof that massage reduces stress? Are mudpacks and mineral baths medically proven to alleviate pain? The answer, in many cases, is increasingly “yes.” Get ready for a new era where more questions about the effectiveness of spa therapies will be asked, as the emphasis on evidence-based medicine and the “science behind spa” heats up.

Just a few recent examples: The New York Times reported on a Cedars-Sinai (Los Angeles) study revealing that a 45-minute massage resulted in a significant decrease in stress hormones, while boosting immunity. And an American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation article documented the positive effect of mudpacks and mineral water baths.