The fitness industry is predictably seasonal; an exodus occurs in the summer and New Year's provides a flooding of wanna-be-fit converts. There are also ebbs and flows in the spa business. A bit less dramatic, though still easily measurable, trends like weddings, Mother's Day and other tertiary holidays emerge as opportunities for extra business. In fact, spa holidays can dovetail neatly with fitness slumps to create a more rounded profit and loss statement when all is said and done.

TIS THE SEASON

May through September brings a flurry of steady business for spas because of weddings. While that may seem like a quick up do, manicure or facial for the bride, weddings entail much more than the actual wedding. Bridal parties can run the gamut from full treatments for the entire party with a catered meal to mini manicures, half-hour massages and express facials. While occasionally the bridal party will simply want to go all out and purchase a full day for the bride, the norm is some type of group party. A creative way to allow all of the bridesmaids to participate in the party while staying on a budget is the spa-smorgasbord. Line up body buffs, muds and clays, facial and body treatments in an attractive arrangement on a table and instruct the wedding participants in how to perform body services on one another. Services that are not labor intensive like steam treatments and water therapies can be added to the package at a lesser charge. Having snacks and beverages along with disposable cameras makes for an event to be remembered by all for a long time to come.

Remember, when brides are seeking services to be at their best during the wedding day, err toward caution. Always rehearse the hairstyle and makeup. Don't offer a facial or similar procedure to a bride on or near the wedding day. Book bridal parties a few weeks before the wedding. Secure a non-refundable deposit for half of the total amount of the party when the booking is made and full payment the week of the party.

November-January can be a winning season for many reasons. The holidays bring parties and family gatherings when everyone wants to appear their best. There is no better time than the holidays to bring families together for group spa activities. Corporate giving is also at a yearly peak, which can translate into additional gift certificate sales, retail gift bundles or a seated massage at the office.

Make the offerings festive with a display at the front desk, complimentary gift boxes and wrap and an easy order form for those needing multiple gifts that are easy to purchase and give. Many spas go so far as to offer delivery of gifts and gift certificates during the holiday season.

February-May includes Valentines Day, which is a popular time for couples at the spa. Side by side massage with express facials is the national favorite for Cupid's Day. Add some complimentary champagne and appetizers and watch the couples flock in. While some couples will want to go with a gift certificate and enjoy the romantic treatment in the future, about half will opt for surprising their mate sometime in the month of February.

Mother's Day is another popular spa holiday. Maybe because the overwhelming majority of spa fans are women or maybe because moms are so deserving, Mother's Day brings dads and kids out for the perfect spa package and gift for mom. Make their hunting easier with a special Mother's Day menu and feminine gift baskets; offer complimentary wrapping and a selection of thoughtful cards.

Anniversaries and birthdays are special events that happen every day. Be sure to log your member's special occasions and send a gift with purchase coupon along with a greeting card. The thought will be appreciated and many clubs show more than a 40 percent return on these types of mailings.

Don't accept slow periods as unavoidable; instead use your spa to create untapped streams of revenue. All it takes is a little imagination, a little marketing and a bit of suggestive selling.

Melinda Minton is a spa consultant and health and beauty expert in Fort Collins, CO. She is the founder of The Spa Association, which is dedicated to enriching the professional beauty industry through self-regulation, education and sound business practices.