New spa trends and practices that can help you gain a sure footing
from your initial days in the business, ensuring a hopeful future
The Covid-19 pandemic continues reshaping the market. The recommended social distancing guidelines and other health protocols have made people revise their approach to wellness, medicine, and taking care of their bodies. And a lot has shifted to online or within-home experiences.
In medicine, doctor office visits have been impacted by telemedicine, going to the gym has been replaced by in-home fitness equipment, and spa visits have been laid claim to by DIY beauty and wellness treatments.
Amidst such an economic landscape, launching a day spa or a wellness retreat can involve a lot of uncertainty. Should you do it at all? If yes, what’s the protocol? What will ensure survival and success? Here are some key points that will help you boost your business growth.
Hygiene and Covid-19 guidelines
The standard health and safety guidelines that spa businesses have always worked with are not enough any longer. You need to do more to be able to reopen/launch your new spa business.
Familiarize yourself with the latest in health and sanitation practices outlined by the CDC for regular businesses, and by ESPA International for spas, in particular. Compliance with these guidelines and your effective marketing about them will ensure that your audience knows you are taking your own and their safety seriously and acting as a responsible business.
Some of these guidelines pertain to social distancing while others deal with proper disinfection of equipment, strict cleanliness of the establishment, and correct use of masks and other protective gear.
Employee training to comply with all of these (and other) safety guidelines is essential. Also, communicate these to each client who visits you. Promote these sanitary measures on your social media pages, website, and in other marketing and informational material.
Open, light & natural
Unlike Boomers who preferred tomb-like quietness and dark and quiet atmospheres in spas, millennials like their spaces to be light and airy. According to our friends at the Trend Book, neutral shades, Scandinavian minimalism, and big windows that let in a lot of natural light are going to be the staple of modern spas.
The reason we are noticing this shift from dark to light spa spaces has to do with a generational change of mindset. Gen-Z and millennials are more about human connection. They want to see and actively interact with their surroundings, bathe in the whole experience, and communicate with their service provider more intimately and genuinely.
Spa architecture that is airy and open is also perfect for surviving Covid-19 business rules. It prevents the air from being stuffy and thus avoids the breeding of viruses. Spacious rooms also allow for social distancing protocols to be met more easily. Plus, the minimalism and the use of natural materials for the décor add a touch of authenticity to the brand name.
An authentic brand identity
At this point, a business’s authentic brand image and identity are not just trends anymore. Audiences want to interact with businesses that are more than just trading entities; they want their preferred businesses to have character, values, and a personality.
So, ask yourself. As a day spa startup, what is your brand promise to your guests? What are the values that you stand for? What is your unique brand identity?
Let’s un-spool these concepts a bit more:
Brand promise: This is the expectation your customers have of enjoying a certain level of service and experience with you. Every single time that they visit you. And it needs to be consistent.
Brand values: The core principles that your brand stands on. Why is it different and why should people prefer your brand over ten others?
Brand identity: This deals with the visual design elements that your spa business may use to create a certain kind of visual image of your business in the audience’s mind. Your spa logo should be the cornerstone of a cohesive and unifying brand identity.
Your brand promise and brand value declarations need to be communicated in clear and concise words, and you can emphasize these messages by using elements of visual design.
Start by creating a spa logo design that encapsulates, in the language of colors, shapes, and fonts, what your spa brand is all about. Though the visual elements of spa brand identity are mostly softer features – circle and oval shapes, pastel colors, and relaxed or elegant typefaces – do strive to create a distinct identity by digging deep into the psychology of your brand and creating a design that represents it well. You can even use sharper shapes or bolder colors or heavy serif fonts, as long as they gel naturally to the unique brand character you are trying to cultivate.
Remember, the more authentic and real you are as a brand, the more loyal your customer base will be.
Virtual visits aided by VR
This is another spa trend that has been aided by the pandemic. Covid-19 restrictions have accelerated the investment in technologies like VR. These technologies allow guests to experience a facility before they decide to book an appointment there. Augmented reality or virtual reality programs enable guests to visit a spa facility before making a booking. They can check out treatments, look around the rooms, and experience the atmosphere – all before ever setting foot into the building.
This results in an overall safer environment at the spa facility and also helps your brand.
Your brand appears modern, in touch with the latest offerings of technology, and willing to adapt and change. It also translates to a brand’s desire to do whatever it takes to prioritize employee and guest safety.
Not only this, investing in VR/AR enables you to offer more immersive relaxation experiences at your spa. Your guests do not have to keep staring out the window or looking around the room. They can just close their eyes as they relax. You can transport them to tropical islands, dense forests, or under starlit skies, all thanks to VR-powered relaxation programs.
As these technologies become more mainstream, they also become more affordable. Investing in one as you launch your new spa will not only provide a competitive edge but will also help establish you as a pioneer of change.
Online scheduling system
The spa trend that will continue becoming less of a trend and more of a norm is the application of online scheduling programs at spas and other services providing businesses that work on a system of appointments.
On an admin level, efficient scheduling of appointments is a necessity but still a hassle. But with Covid-19 guidelines implementing rules regarding time gaps between treatments and alternate use of rooms, etc., keeping track of appointments has become a nightmare.
Using a spa scheduling software turns the whole thing around. It enables you to comply with the ESPA International recommendation of using scheduling software to ensure minimum human contact and the prevention of virus transfer. It also improves your admin efficiency and takes away the human error that is inherent in manual scheduling. With it, you can tell your guests which time slots are available for which treatments.
What’s more, it gives you the time that you need to refine, research, and perfect your spa treatments.
While you can find a ton of scheduling programs online, choosing the right one can be a tough decision. Free software might look like a good option in the initial stages of your business, but eventually, you’ll have to invest in a full-featured scheduling program to enjoy the most benefits. The best way is to choose a scalable online scheduling software, that helps you accept bookings from multiple channels, like your website, Facebook, Instagram, Google My Business, and manage it all from a single place – Appointy. In China, The Little Redbook, Dianping, Meituan, Tiktok, or some private domains of KOL are often used.
An active social media
Most spa owners have seen the benefits of marketing on social media and have joined the platforms. But for the huge majority that were left behind, the use of social media for business is quite a new thing. And we can thank the pandemic for that.
Having an active social media presence not only gives your spa another digital address and improves your SEO, but also does way more than that. It allows you to get in touch with your consumers even when they aren’t visiting your salon. Through an agile and responsive social media presence, your spa has a ton of ways to endear itself to its audience.
Use your social media channels to conduct surveys on your upcoming spa treatments. Create hype about your new location. Advertise how you are complying with the CDC and other health and wellness agency guidelines. Create video tutorials and give tips on DIY beauty treatments (your customers will appreciate you more for it). Conduct live sessions where you answer queries or share your insight on the latest spa industry trend.
We all know about personalized treatments, but this is a step further. This is customizing your personalized treatments on a strictly individual level. And no, calling your guest by name or remembering the last treatment they got from your spa is not nearly enough; it’s just the bare minimum.
To allow your spa business startup to thrive and succeed, invest in some next-level personalization and customization. Create beauty treatments that are as diverse as the market segment you are hoping to target. Know your guest’s skin type, how it reacts to different seasons, allergens, and treatments, and offer specific services.
Yes, it will take time and repeated visits, but that’s exactly what you want. By offering such customized spa treatments, you ensure not only results but also that you get a client who can be loyal for life and keep coming back.
You can utilize digital intake forms, SOAP notes, and customer notes to achieve this. Some scheduling apps, like Appointy, offer these features and help you provide personalized spa experiences to your customers.
Creating run-of-the-mill treatment menus will not get you very far. Especially as people get more comfortable taking care of their skin and beauty treatments for themselves. So offer to handle critical areas, flaunt your expertise, and provide something better.
Taking care of the physical and beauty wellbeing is only one layer of spa culture. Another major layer has to do with the human connection. We go to a spa to look and feel our best, escape the rut of daily life, and sometimes have healing and healthy conversations with people we have come to trust.
As long as you are using agile marketing and embracing new technologies, and using them to augment your high-end spa treatments and impeccable customer services, there’s no reason you can’t see your spa venture thrive and reach new heights.