Picture this: The holiday season is in full swing. The spice-scented candles are glowing in your spa’s reception area, and a stately Douglas fir heavy with baubles stands in the corner. The door opens, ushering in the brisk winter air and an especially merry group of your regular clients.
These spa-savvy women usually come in for a monthly massage, but this time they’ve booked an additional treatment: a seasonal pedicure featuring an invigorating cinnamon foot and leg scrub followed by an antioxidant-laden cranberry masque, redolent of the season’s most delightful flavors and aromas. But the festivities don’t end there: also included are some mini but memorable treats, such as a flute of champagne and a luscious chocolate truffle.
Creative seasonal treatments are de rigueur in many spas, for good reason. They’re a great way to add value to old favorites, to generate excitement and therapist engagement, and to boost foot traffic and cultivate customer loyalty. Seasonal specials provide a reason to come in more often. “Limited-time treatments lend something novel and exclusive to a spa menu, something that brings a particular time of the year to life,” says spa consultant Kimberly Parry, who has created seasonal specialties for spas such as the one at the Four Seasons Biltmore in Santa Barbara.
Are you seeking ways to stir some seasonal spice into your spa’s menu this year? DAYSPA spoke with some savvy spa pros for tips on how to capitalize on the calendar’s most memorable occasions. --By Alison Singh Gee
Last year, as 2012 rolled to a close, the staff at the ACE’s Feel Good Spa decided to play off the notion of ushering in a fresh start. “We knew that guests would be hitting the parties around that time, so we wanted to offer treatments that tied in with the theme of transformation and renewal,” says Amanda D’Anna, spa director, Feel Good Spa, the ACE Hotel & Swim Club, Palm Springs, California. The result was the New You package, which included an exfoliating and rehydrating antiaging peel, perfect for party-ravaged complexions. When people booked their stay at ACE, they were told about the festive promotion. “It generated a lot of attention and converted many hotel guests into spa visitors that holiday,” the director recalls.
When autumn comes around, Chuan Body+Soul at The Langham Huntington in Pasadena, California, rolls out its Pumpkin Facial, featuring a nutrient-rich mask rich with the Fall fruit and designed to draw toxins and excess oils from the skin. “We use products that aren’t necessarily available during the rest of the year,” says Elsa Guttery, former director of communications, Chuan Body+Soul spa, The Langham Huntington, Pasadena, California. “Even though we’re a hotel spa, 60% of our business is local. Guests really look forward to these new additions to the service menu—it’s a great way to add value to the spa experience.”
Similarly, in summer, manicures and pedicures at Chuan Body+Soul are given a mouthwatering natural twist using lemons, watermelons and garden herbs. “It smells so edible and delicious—just like the season,” remarks one Langham manicurist, who reports that the spa’s themed services have been instrumental in attracting new clients. “Word spreads among our regulars. They get excited about these new special treatments, and they tell their friends. They love the changes in the spa menu and the seasonal fragrances.”
To help clients remember their seasonally inspired treatment long after the visit, send them away with a souvenir. “It doesn’t have to be big or fancy, just something simple and elegant, like bath salts or a little bar of soap,” says Chuan Body+Soul’s Guttery. (Or perhaps a packet of seeds so clients can grow the herb used in their treatment!) “You can even work the cost of that small giveaway into the treatment price.”
Make the most of Mother Nature’s seasons by considering not only the time of year but also geography. “When developing a special service, I always ask myself, ‘Is the spa near the mountains or ocean?’ and ‘Which indigenous herbs and flowers grow nearby?’” says spa consultant Kimberly Parry. Working alongside her spa owner clients, she has concocted such region-specific delights such as massage oils with wild mint and sage for the spa at the M Resort Spa Casino in Las Vegas, and a pine-needle soak for the Ascent Spa at Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite in California.
Your staff should be your go-to idea source when coming up with seasonal treatments. After all, they connect with clients on a regular basis and are likely to be in the know about new products and cutting-edge treatments. When creating holiday specials, the Claremont Hotel Club & Spa in Berkeley, California, consults with its lead therapists.
“We ask them, ‘What do your clients need at this time of year? What is fun, interesting and new? Are there any new products we should be trying out?’” says spa director Stacey Parks. The entire spa team is then included in the research and development of the treatments. “We have play time! We go into a room, test everything out and create the protocol together,” Parks explains. “It’s then that we really see our people impassioned about what our therapists do. They get to be creative and 100% present. Creating these seasonal specials keeps them engaged and excited.”
The team can also band together to maximize the retail sales of seasonal items. Such items are especially memorable for clients because they’re only available for a limited time and coincide with joyful occasions and celebratory times of year. Be sure to capitalize on this feel-good factor, and give your clients the chance to take their experience home. Stock your shelves with special products, holiday gift sets, travel kits, aromatherapy and seasonal collections that tie in with the theme of the treatment they’ve just enjoyed. Consider expanding your offerings to include items you wouldn’t normally sell, such as candles or makeup. (For some seasonal inspiration, check out DAYSPA’s extended online holiday gift guide!
Does your day spa’s community or city host an iconic event every year? If so, seize it as a prime business opportunity. When planning the year’s specials, the Claremont’s Parks will consider the year’s entire calendar of local events. Perennially popular are the treatments offered during the Berkeley Wine Festival held from March to May. Each special incorporates a wine component such as grapeseed oil, and guests are treated to a glass of wine from the nearby Napa or Sonoma valleys. “People really love the all-encompassing experience,” says Parks.
The Feel Good Spa at the ACE Hotel & Swim Club eagerly anticipates the Coachella Music Festival each spring, when avid music lovers flock to the desert—and the hotel. During this time, the spa offers the Coachella Date Scrub, a body treatment showcasing locally grown dates. “People come back for it specially every year,” says spa director D’Anna.