How to Start Your Own Day Spa Seminar at the
Julie Register attended this
on October 17th, 2009 in NYC
Nancy Trent, president of the NYC-based spa and healthy lifestyle public
relations firm, Trent &
Company, told me she thought I would find the Learning Annexs How
to Start Your Own Day Spa interesting, I decided to attend. I've known Nancy
for a long time, and I trust her recommendations. She was right. I found the seminar
very interesting and packed with useful information. Spa owners, those thinking
about opening a spa, potential investors and an internet marketer joined me in
the audience. Nancy introduced the speakers and facilitated the seminar.
Bosalavage, President of American
Leisure Corporation, said all that's needed to succeed is the bottom line
(profit/loss), and passion (an emotion so powerful that it is intense and compelling).
Her company has designed over 500 spas, from 4 to 40 rooms. She provided a 30+-page
handout outlining steps that need to be taken to open a spa and consulting services
her company provides:
Phase I - conceptualization,
financial pro forma, and business plan.
II - building design, services, retail and merchandising, management systems and
information technology, vendor relationships, legal and regulatory, recruitment
Phase III ongoing management, administration
and operation, financial internal controls, human resources, cleaning, maintenance
and energy and sales.
are a few of the points Wendy made in her talk:
good spa can gross $200,000 per room.
other spaces such as locker rooms.
A spa must
have capital to support the business for at least 3 months.
you are stressed financially, you make poor decisions.
- Don't scrimp
on paying your staff. Put them on the payroll, not as independent contractors.
hear retail produces 30-70% profits. The reality is 25%.
- Reach out for
help when you need it.
owner of MariVar
Spa Builders, discussed standards of customer service. These standards must
be articulated and demonstrated. Your employees are also your guests. You must
treat them well so they can treat your guests well. Give everyone the same level
of attention and they will go out and talk about you (that's a good thing). Good
leaders communicate confidence, even in times of uncertainty, and work hard to
make their people shine. Here are a few points she made about leadership:
must have passion for what you do.
You must have
an ability to inspire others and get them to understand your vision.
must have leadership abilities including the ability to motivate and inspire others
and have faith in your vision.
ran through some calculations of what a spa could expect to make per treatment
room - the peak potential per week. She arrived at a number then said cut it in
half. Utilization will be less than you think. She also said not to expect more
than 20% on retail. If your clientele is made of loyal, repeat customers, they
can only buy so much. One sale should last 3 months. She emphasized the need for
consistency from provider to provider. She explained the necessity to establish
expectations with providers at orientation (This is how we take care of our guests...).
Finally, Maria said to decide on a market discipline - a single point of differentiation
Price point - basic, good service
at a great price (Massage Envy),
- superlative service that responds to the whims of your guests - requires more
staff (Ritz, Nordstrom), and
- Innovation - deliver the latest, hottest,
etc - it will be necessary to educate both staff and guests and will require investment
in new equipment.
Director of Business for New
World Design Builders, talked about the necessity of having a concept and
vision, using the right architect, having the right location and having a good
contractor. He recommended using a contractor that experience with spas and not
to pay for their learning curve. He said spas need enough capital for 6 months
of expenses and costs. A high-end spa will cost $250+ / square foot including
everything. He provided some other cost figures:
and Interior Design: $20-$25 / square foot (10-20% of the total budget)
$5-$7 / square foot
Construction with water services:
$150 - $250 / square foot
- Equipment $40-$70 / square foot
showed slides of some of the work his company has done:
Mercado, Creative Director at Clodagh,
talked about the use of natural materials, feng shui, biogeometry and the location
of a structure as it relates to astronomy in design. He said the project designs
itself and depends on its location. He said they use the five elements in their
designs and involve local artisans which become talking points for staff and guests.
Some of the projects he shared were Nemacolin Woodlands in Pennsylvania, Miraval
(rammed earth walls, baskets for floor lighting), Yogaworks in SoHo and Sasanqual
Spa on Kiawah, South Carolina.
Nancy Trent ( Trent
& Company) talked about how important it is to turn your spa into a PR
machine. If no one knows about it, it won't succeed. Media publicity:
Allows you to charge more for your
Pre-sells you to your customers
the sales cycle
Helps your customers sell your
Makes the spa more available
explained the three "B"s of PR vs. Advertizing:
- one ad can cost more than 1 year of PR services
- Articles are more credible than ads because they offer 3rd party endorsement
of a trusted journalist.
Buzz - Articles are more
likely to get others to talk about you.
Nancy listed what you
Target Media - media that influences your
customers and those that refer them. Who is your target audience? What do they
read, watch and listen to? What do you want them saying about you?
Development - An interview is not a conversation. Use language that clients and
journalists will understand. Know what you want them to quote you on. Be prepared.
Have sound bites in mind.
Media Training - practice
giving reporters quotable quotes and news they can use. Be prepared to cite compelling
statistics, anecdotes and personal experiences when possible.
Press Kit - with statistics, case studies, before and after photos, fact sheets,
press releases, profiles, area of expertise, talking points, interview topics,
B-roll - video of services in your spa.
It will get you more local TV coverage.
- Be accessible.
- Network. Join associations, be on advisory boards.
editors like rock stars.
- Set a realistic time frame. It takes 6 months
- 1 year to get the full benefits of publicity.
- Publicity begets publicity.
said no one is making a phone call to your spa because of national media coverage.
National media is for branding. Local media will create phone calls from clients.
Vitiello, Director of the Spa at the Mandarin
Oriental, New York, spoke about operating a spa committed to standards of
excellence. She said that customer service is the key to how your feel in a spa.
Spas are about energy. Create positive energy. You can have a great facility,
but customer service is what's important - staying true to our philosophy and
vision and making sure your staff is trained that way. She noted:
Denise discussed what can hinder
our ability to offer excellent customer services:
- Telephone skills
- energy, communication, flexibility, follow up, well spoken, helpful, empower
your staff to serve your guests.
- Welcome - approach, take ownership of
the customer, treat every customer with respect, under promise and over deliver,
follow up, keep in touch (handwritten thank you notes).
the requirements for the Mobil 5 star rating and noted that it doesn't cost that
much to train your staff to do the right thing. Teach your staff to listen with
the intent to understand, not with the intent to reply. Denise advises to hire
people for a good heart and train them for skill.
I could not stay for the last two presentations. Courtney Power of Trent
& Company has provided a summary of them below:
Massey and Candida Molina, Owner and Director of the Deva
Spa at the Devachan Salon in SoHo, agreed with Vitiellos stance on customer
service. Massey and Molina also discussed different strategies to attract clients,
such as the customer-friendly no tip policy. Their unique approach
to business has helped The Deva Spa flourish, despite opening its doors mid-recession.
out the presentation were the knowledgeable Isabel Anton and Anna Antal,
co-owners of the celebrity favorite Advanced
Skin Care Day Spa. Anton and Antal focused on the often-overlooked basics
of operating a spa business, such as payment options and accounting decisions.
As women who began their spa business in America before they could speak English,
Anton and Antal demonstrated that, with determination and skill, spa industry
hopefuls can achieve anything.
Lantana Spa at JW Marriott San Antonio
Farm to Treatment Table Lavender Experience
This package is available Saturdays only, May 12 – July 14 (excluding June 8), must be booked one week in advance and requires 48 hours notice for cancellation.
Hill Country Lavender Farm tour,
a bottle of organic lavender massage oil made at the farm,
lunch at Replenish Spa Café with items featuring lavender, and a lavender-based spa treatment featuring the organic lavender massage oil from the Hill Country Lavender farm.
You can clean your home, fruits, vegetables and meats with the same 'Aqueous Ozone' that spas and other companies use. Tersano's ‘Aqueous Ozone’ Cleaning Systemt is the world's most effective chemical-free cleaner. ‘Aqueous Ozone’ quickly oxidizes (kills) viruses and bacteria (including E.coli, Salmonella, MRSA, C-Difficil), mold, mildew and other contaminants on any item or surface - from toilets to bedspreads - before changing safely back into water and oxygen. ‘Aqueous Ozone’ is 3000 times faster and 50% more powerful than bleach and chlorine-based cleaners. It is 100% chemical free - no toxins, carcinogens or chemical residue - and safe for babies, pets and people with sensitive skin or those with strong reactions to normal cleaners. ‘Aqueous Ozone’ has long been used in water treatment, food sterilization and medical therapies for its remarkable anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties. It sounds too good to be true, but the data show how effective the system works.
I'm a believer.
Hearth Health Month at mySpaShop including the best in health and wellness products from companies that give to those in need.