Do you shiver at competition… or think strategy!



Have you heard your clients moaning about their experience at another spa having felt it was a waste of their time, money and effort? That is a disappointment for both sides!

Do you sometimes wonder why your own capture rate is not pulling the numbers it should be? When the marketing is right, the training is meticulously deployed and the setting is serene, why is it then, that client’s divert from your spa perfect landscape, for a mirage? Perhaps we can continue blaming Groupon and the cheap voucher deals e-commerce so fiercely pumps through our inboxes? Or that another spa has opened within close proximity.

It’s such a shame when I see spas underperforming or even closing due to the lack of revenue.

The fact is that's competition and knowing how to effectively market your business for a better chance of survival. By embracing competitive factors and looking constructively at your own business (without emotion), it's a useful insight to help strategise and turn the tide in your favour, not succumb to defeat.

The question arises, why is it that in an industry that is growing year on year, many businesses claim they are not capturing the clientele they should be? Are they not being innovative? Are they not listening to their clients or have they positioned themselves incorrectly for their market? Maybe supply seriously outweighs demand - driving prices ever lower? That’s just unsustainable and doesn’t explain why some spas who maintain their prices are performing exceptionally well.

There are so many variables that can be listed, however, if by looking at successful companies that stand the test of time, quality has been firmly in the equation.

Quality can be measured in many ways and needs to be monitored. It cannot be bought and yet it is an invaluable asset for your business to be associated with. With quality brings value; to the services you offer, the customer experience, the spas reputation and ultimately the value for money. Customers will rate your business against quality and the value for their money when deciding where they will next book their service.

Here are a few common areas where mistakes happen – a lot.

That first impression - If its the first ever time a client is coming to your spa, then they are walking into the unfamiliar, and this is taking a step outside of one’s comfort zone, especially if visiting alone. First impressions really count here, and the aim should be to put the client at ease and feel comfortable immediately. Reception being the first point of call is highly responsible for this, it can be the most stressful role in the house but staff always have to maintain a genuine welcome to guests. I can’t tell you how many times I have walked into a spa reception feeling like an inconvenience to the person trying to answer the phone or wanting to finish a conversation with their colleague. It makes me feel like the big bad wolf being provoked to huff and puff.

The environment - Clients are coming in for service with a trained professional not an android giving a scripted massage. They certainly don’t want to ride the spa –journey-production-belt like a vegetable being checked, washed and sorted before being dumped with the rest of the cabbages to settle their bill following an uninspiring spa journey. We are dealing with the complexity of human emotions and personalities in a service industry. We can’t begin to understand every client, nor can we read their minds to help unravel their real expectations. But we do seek out people that we can connect with, someone who understands us enough to give us a truly bespoke treatment.

The personal touch - It's also important to be able to turn a situation or client around when something has gone wrong even when it doesn't make sense at the time. I believe its down to how we approach a situation and take care not to instinctively put our defences up, adding to fuel to the fire that’s not our own. Give your clients a personalised service; learn how best to serve them next time.

The team - Employ a team of individuals with different personality types and encourage them to interact with clients their way, while obviously staying professional. Then it’s important to gel the team together to function as a supportive unit, stimulating development through openness (which comes from management to assert).

Efficiency – People are juggling with the complexities of work, life and dealing with stress. How easily and quickly can they book a service? How relieved and at ease do they feel and therefore look forward to their time in the spa?

Good old-fashioned customer service is so greatly appreciated but are we really covering the basics? Above all, in a service industry customer service = quality assurance. It also means that without it we can loose business. Remember the old saying, a person who has had a bad experience will tell 11 more people etc? Forget it, social media spreads news like an avenging tide, the personal touch is not just for clients with deeper pockets.

Secure your returned customer...

  • Thank clients by name following each visit!
  • Do you follow up with a courtesy call (or personalised text) in particular if it was a clients first treatment to gain their valuable feedback, especially if there was some uncertainty expressed. Perhaps rewarding them with an upgrade treatment on their next visit as a thank you for their honesty?
  • Show clients that you have listened by making adjustments (where appropriate) to their visit. This could also be an opportune moment to recommend a therapist that may be better suited and gel with the client.
  • Every one wants to feel welcomed and to connect with people. If your spa uses voucher deals to bring in new customers, make sure the deal with the provider and the offering is right to adequately reflect your spas image. Then make sure these customers have the opportunity to return with a promotional package that is good value, thereby raising the return capture rate.
  • If a client has a special request – look into it, even if its not possible, offer a compromise providing it doesn’t compromise the quality or standards of your spa. Will they want to recommend and bring a new friend to share their wonderful experience in their favourite spa - Your spa?

Remember word of mouth is the most powerful marketing tool as it is also the most trusted method that secures sales. Voucher deals secure “spa dating” clients, an increased number of spas spikes awareness, how you attract and keep your customers is integral as to how you adapt your strategy to new competition.


Best Wishes, Felicity