Spas and Recession

11 thoughts on “Spas and Recession

  1. Madison (MST)

    Really good post, Susie. It is heartbreaking to see these spas having to file for Chapter 11 or closing permanently. But on one hand it does create an opportunity for the other spas in the area to be servants of new customers like you mention with the gift certificates.

    And I think your point about the general mindset of the proprietors of day spas is right on the money. It's about passion and care giving. These are people persons who often have a servant heart.

    I imagine that we will see a pairing back from those running multiple day spa locations during this time, but like you write, stress increases and people recognize the value of a spa treatment. Spa owners are creative, I believe a majority of them will find ways to deal with the difficulties the economy brings and survive.

  2. S

    This is a really good post, Susie. I've seen that spas have been hurting recently since most of them will take you on a day's notice or less when you used to have to book at least 3-7 days in advance.

    Another important aspect each spa needs to consider is their customer service. I recently had a terrible experience at JW Salon & Spa in Savannah, GA that cost them my future business. Their customer service was less than acceptable and they did very little to ensure my happiness that day. I sent them an unhappy email and they have yet to acknowledge it.

    The assumption that they will get by without business like mine is what will put them on the fast track to bankruptcy. People go to spas for special treatment and if they don't feel 100% special, they'll go elsewhere. There are plenty other spas to choose from!

  3. Alison Howland

    Hi Susie,

    So sad to hear about Spa Sydell. She is such a lovely southern belle, and really was quite gracious. She made a strong impact on so many people in her area.

    Like you, I believe there will be many more day spa closings. So many opened without strong business plans and as we all know, the profit margins are so very tight. The time is now to change the paradigm of day spa: what it really means and what it really delivers. I am currently working on a project that is 'future oriented' to support a cross-section of demographics. I look forward to sharing more as the project progresses.

    Be well and as always, wishing everyone Spa Success!


  4. Dori Soukup

    Hello S,
    thanks for this great post!
    I don't know when spa owners are going to stop the current compensation structure. If spas don't change the way they compensate the team more and more spas will close. the industry has to change… they can't keep paying 50% commission and expect to stay business. We have introduced a compensation plan that pays the team their true worth and allows the owners to increase their bottom line. its called the "Volume Per Guests" compensation plan, we offer a free demo for spa owners, simply go to sign up and save your business!

  5. Sara Firman

    Chaos or crisis can be thought of as opportunity disguised as loss. I know what that feels like, both personally and professionally. We all do. I think what is needed now – more than adaptations or limitations on business as usual – is a reevaluation of what role spas have played (and could play) in our culture; and a re-examination of why people work in and go to spas. Not for marketing or business purposes but for our souls!

    This calls us to examine our underlying values, our world views, and to see if what we do (through spa in this case) is really meeting our needs and those of others in a way that respects the source of our livelihood, the planet itself (including all things sustained by it).

    We'll need to hold the paradox of thinking big and thinking small. In the latter respect, spas could both support and inspire sustainable local communities. Any spa that is growing beyond and outside it's local community and not engaging that community fully is not in service.

    I don't think it is a question of how much you pay your staff or what you do to entice customers but how much everyone really feels valued and involved. If we were to think of spa as a form of culture not as an industry, that might help us make the shift.

    If this resonates with you, I'd like to invite you to visit my blog and brainstorm with me!

  6. B. G. School of Massage

    As a spa owner I have to agree that these are difficult times. We have been in business for just over four years and usually we grew 15% to 20 % per year. Now we have leveled off, but at least we are not declining. The area you are in certainly matters and we are glad to be in our little bubble in North California. We have always paid what we felt was as much as possible and which is around 35%. Having employees can be wonderful, and it can be difficult. The costs of doing business as well as still paying well even when we are discounting to get customers to come in can be a very tricky balancing game with a thin profit margin. Truly it is about being her to provide the community a service and employment. Hopefully the good morals will help us weather these rough times. Keep on networking.

  7. Jesse

    I am responding to the comment regarding the European method of hiring dual-licensed therapists (those who can perform both massage and skin care) to cut down on spa costs. As the executive director of a national association whose members are massage and skin care therapists, we are definitely seeing a rise in the number of dual-licensed therapists. Not only does this make sense from the spa's perspective, it also makes the therapist more hireable and able to offer services to more clients, which makes both the spa and the therapist more money. It's a win-win situation for both.

  8. Terry Shackelford

    Upselling has been used successfully in every industry I can think of. Remember the phrase, " Would you like fries with that"? My daughter is a massage therapist in Arkansas. She offers the upsell of Inch Loss with massage. If you would like to know more about it, email me.

  9. Eva

    All hope is not lost. My spa is still growing (we are up almost 15% this year) and hiring(4 full-timers in the last two months) and I am opening at least 2 new locations (both will be opened by Mother's Day 2010).

    And I am an owner/operator (esthetician) who came to the US in 1996 with $50. We have recently been invited to become a Founding "Seed Spa" member of the Green Spa Network (but this information will not be made public until November 1st, 2009). There is always something new and exciting going on around here and I refuse to rest on my laurels and past awards.


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