Common Mistakes Made By Club Spas


By Melinda Minton
September 10, 2006

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



I will never forget how I learned about my health club’s spa. I had been going there for over a decade and was attending an aerobics class when the instructor announced that she had a terrible facial at the facility. Talk about a great internal marketing strategy. The bottom line is that clubs still aren’t taking their spas seriously. Your spa is a profit center and draw for new members. Make things happen now by using your spa’s potential.

Step-child syndrome. If your spa is simply a few rooms tucked away in a back corner or, worse yet, in the locker room, how can you ever expect it to reach any sort of capacity? The spa must be an integral part of the overall facility. Staff should be well versed in the various treatments offered at the spa and put on commission to promote it. Promotions within the club should be complimentary to promotions in the spa. Both the spa staff and the club staff should work closely together to create programming for each client that speaks to their needs at every point of the spectrum. So, for instance, clients wishing to tone up their thighs and torso could enjoy group exercise programs, personal training and engage in a series of body wraps, Lypossage, Endermologie or ultrasound therapies to reduce cellulite, firm, tone and reduce body fat. Integrating services in this way uses the facility to create the most results for the client so everyone wins.

Taking retail seriously. If you don’t sell retail to your clients at your spa someone else will. The department store down the road, another spa, a specialty apothecary or an online vendor will make the sale often times sight unseen. Featuring products at the front desk, in the actual spa, in the locker rooms and within the club is a great way to make the introduction. Furthermore, club spas don’t tend to push their staff to be aware of retail sales quotas. It is common for technicians to focus on the service and their tip but to ignore the essential home care sale. Unfortunately this shortchanges the client because the professional work achieved cannot be maintained without an appropriate daily routine.

Forgetting branding. An enormous trend among club spas right now involves branding not only of the spa but also a product line. While some club spas choose to partner closely with a name brand, others have developed their own signature line. Giving your spa a strong identity reinforces the level of product knowledge and service expertise. In hotels it has become somewhat common to either purchase a brand such as Bliss or the Golden Door to create a cohesive spa footprint in multiple locations or to essentially lease the spa out to a product line like Jurlique for consistency of delivery without the added responsibility of running the spa. With spa brands still in their infancy, it seems wise to simply brand your club with a private label line that is thoroughly tied into your club’s target market and integrated into the spa’s menu. The profit margins are much higher with private label products, and the clients are forced to return to the spa to replenish their supply of home care products. The back bar costs for performing spa services are greatly reduced.

Massage vs. esthetics. While massage is the most popular service offered at spas, there are many reasons to either add on a service sale or to emphasize clients partaking in more esthetic services beyond the classic one-hour or sports massage. There are many variables that play into why esthetics services are so valuable when compared to massage. For instance, a 60-minute massage is just that. It takes exactly 60 minutes to perform the service. Moreover, retail sales for massage are anything but robust. While many massage therapists eventually do attract a following, massage remains a fickle type of service. Clients tend to worship hairdressers and estheticians but massage is a more easily exchanged service given specific providers. Finally, esthetics services are oftentimes performed in a series creating perpetual spa time as well as a higher retention ratio. Think esthetics when you think about your bottom line.

If you want to create a world-class spa experience that also produces revenue like a cash cow should, think through the process of involving your spa more intimately with your club. There are easy ways to make a vast difference to your bottom line once executed. Your spa should be a draw and more.

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