For years international trends have emphasised the need to create destination, day and medical spas, but now that they are industry norm, it is even more difficult to stand out from a list of strong competition.
The industry now requires spas to redefine their identity, their offering and their brand promise to ensure true differentiation. This requires you to ask a pertinent question: What is your spa signature? Is this a range of signature treatments prescribed by the product houses? Is it a trendy interior design? Is it a great brand? Does your spa offer a more holistic experience across all touch points? Has your spa evolved? Have you created treatments that are specificallly targeted to your geographical demogrpahic or do you offer something more unique that will fufil your local and international clientele’s needs and wants?
Spa Evolution is an integrated approach differentiating your spa through its brand. All elements of the spa align to the brand and the brand promise to create unforgettable experiences for both clients and staff. It does however require the spa owners to redefine all aspects of the business to create a brand experience so incredible it becomes worthy of praise, gets your clients to come back and attracts the right talent into your business to create a culture of discipline and enculcate an attitude of true passion and respect for their craft within the spa industry.
We have evaluated five pillars that are integral to create your spa signature and truly define the message you want to portray to your clients, these are:
Before any spa can embark on any form of evolution is it critical to define the spa brand. Breaking down into its simplest form; it’s DNA. What does the brand stand for? What is the brand promise? How does the brand sound, taste and smell like? This will help give the brand a personality and persona. Once this is done the brand DNA needs to be applied to all aspects of the business, its processes, and even the people working within the brand. This should be communicated to your clients throughout all touchpoints in your spa – from what the clients taste (i.e drinks/eats) to what they smell (i.e signature frangrances created for your business) which are all important in creating your unique brand identity.
Besides a great venue, and wow interiors, your biggest draw card is your staff and the talent you employ. Therapists who do not believe in, and live up to your brand promise, will do more damage than good. It is critical to hire the right people that are not only professional, but also serious about creating experiences for your clients and who truly live your spa brand in everything that they do. You will therefore need to keep them as loyal as your clients. This can be achieved through proper induction, a personalised performance management process coupled with a rewards and recognition programme and a solid development plan. Staff and their craft need to be seen as assets and treated that way. Without their input, passion and drive for your brand, your business will have no personality or life. Taking aspects from corporate environments, such as; unique spaces allocated for staff enjoyment (i.e libraries, areas where staff can develop themselves and their craft etc.) Rewardarding achievements is an imperative tool that will empower and encourage your team to achieve your end goal and vision for your brand.
Develop your talent in areas that increase experiences and revenue. Develop their product knowledge. Develop their sales ability to upsell in the treatment rooms. Develop their skills to create client experiences. This ensures massive success in the long run. Investing in as much training and development as possible in your staff will ensure their loyalty, and also safeguard your business with the knowledge that you have well trained and innovative staff driving your business towards success.
Now you need to map your client journey and create a wow-factor for each of them. Go beyond the norm. Don’t think cost, think experience. How telephones are answered, how senses are stimulated from the minute clients park their cars. Experiences should not only begin in the treatment rooms, but every time a client interacts with your brand. This includes payments, social media, newsletters, and even loyalty programmes. Create talkability, create wow, and create magic!
Another great opportunity to evolve your spa is through constant retail activation. Many brands have great success in increased sales through in-store activations which will have a massive impact on your product activity if done correctly and consistently. Partner with the product houses and look at campaigns and promotions to increase awareness, package deals and even promote competitions to ensure clients buy more products. This will ensure a higher spend per client too and therefore increased revenue. This process also allows for more client information. It can be coupled with social media to create more presence on your pages and profiles and increases talkability.
This spa evolution process will ensure sustained and measurable results such as attracting and retaining the right talent, creating unforgettable client journeys and experiences, creating brand ambassadors in your staff and clients, ensuring client retention, increased spend per client and even reduce operational costs.
Create a spa signature that is truly unique to your brand and not the brands you are carrying inside your business, and you will have continued success and innovation, as well as consistent brand evolution for many years to come. Keep clients intrigued and excited about your service offering and follow but don’t be a slave to trends. Create your own and strive to be the leader within your industry.
More on the authors:
With almost 40 years of combined experience, Duncan Papé from ByTheDesign and Ernst Kuhlmann from BLACK Brand Evolution’s expertise redefine client engagement. Duncan has spent most of his life in the beauty industry while Ernst consulted to massive Blue-Chip companies on strategy and marketing. Jointly they are busy revolutionising the beauty and hospitality industries by evolving and differentiating their clients to not only attract and retain guests but also create unprecedented client journeys.
They can be contacted on: