Archive for the ‘Business Tips’ Category

New Federal Gift Certificate Law Goes Into Effect

Even though I’m a big fan of gift certificates, I have a tendency to “save” them for a rainy day. That wouldn’t be an issue, except for the fact that they often expire before I get around to using them. While unredeemed gift cards can be a boon to your spa, they don’t necessarily help you build your clientele. With the holidays drawing closer, gift cards and certificates are once again poised to stuff many a stocking. It’s important to note though that a new federal gift certificate law went into effect this past Sunday. It establishes a five-year minimum term for most gift certificates sold in the U.S. This new law doesn’t, however, shorten any minimum terms set by state law. So if you’re based in a state with a minimum term of seven years, such as MA, or in a state that doesn’t permit any expiration date (CA, CT, FL, ME, MN, MT, NH, RI, and WA), those terms still apply to your gift certificate sales. Otherwise, remember your clients now have five years from the date of issue to redeem their gift certificates. This new law is only applicable to gift certificates with a dollar value, not those redeemable for a service. To learn more about how the new Credit Card Act of 2009 may affect your spa, check out a recent blog on the topic at

Ivy Spa and Fitness Club Uses Social Media to Encourage Green Efforts

While everyone seems to be all a twitter about using social media these days, you may still be wondering how to use it to your spa’s advantage. Well, the folks at the eco-friendly Ivy Spa and Fitness Club (Minneapolis) recently came up with an idea that not only benefits their spa but also their clientele. Last month, they launched a contest to determine the spa’s ultimate “Green All-Star” on Facebook. To enter, participants had to “Like” Ivy Spa Club and/or Ivy Fitness Club and then upload a photo of themselves performing an environmentally friendly activity in progress, such as installing an energy-saving light bulb or developing a compost system. Ivy Spa and Fitness Club management then reviewed the submissions and chose the winner, who had submitted a photo of her two sons separating and recycling their plastic containers at the local food co-op. She was awarded an Ivy Signature Experience Package (worth $400), which includes a Signature Massage, a Facial, a Manicure, a Pedicure, and a product gift basket.

While social media efforts such as this can help encourage people to be more green-minded, they can also build brand awareness and create positive associations with your spa. “Being eco-friendly should be rewarded,” says Ivy Spa and Fitness Club owner Pamela Margolis. “We want Ivy fans to know we appreciate their environmentally sound choices.” For more on how social media can benefit your spa, check out “Social Media Secrets” in our upcoming September issue.

Sampling Gets You Closer to Selling

This might sound like Sales Tactics 101, but here goes: the most difficult part of selling is getting someone’s attention. Once you have piqued someone’s interest, you’re steps away from sealing a deal. I was the ideal consumer the other day during a visit to the lovely Ted Gibson salon on Fifth Avenue for a much needed haircut. After a particularly stressful week, I was ready to stow my phone away and unwind. About 30 minutes before my appointment was over, an assistant came by the station I was at with a small silver tray filled with goodies—a steaming hand towel, a plush dry one, and three delicious smelling Ted Gibson Body Conditioners. “Would you like a hand treatment?” Ummm…yes and yes, please. I made the difficult choice between the trio of scents and the assistant went on to give me a light massage with the creams as she softly explained how the lotions work and their benefits. She wasn’t all talk—there was plenty of time for me to close my eyes and just relax. Of course, it helped that the product was pretty great, but I actually bought one of the lotions as I was paying for my haircut. I was caught up in the moment and the wonderful scent was still lingering—what was I to do? In any case, I was upsold in a brilliant way—touché. Speaking as a consumer, don’t underestimate the power of creative sampling. While offering complimentary take-home samples is a great way to introduce people to a product, giving your clients a unique experience with the product packs a serious punch.

Healthy Snacks Can Make a Day at the Spa Sweeter

yogurtMove over nuts and dried fruit—sweets at the spa are here to stay. Not only is the smell of baked…well, anything über comforting but these indulgent offerings can also make your spa stand out from its neighbors. Much like Bliss’ signature brownie bar or Eau Spa by Cornelia’s tiny cupcakes, your spa can spoil guests with sweet treats. No worries, New Year’s resolutions can still be respected—try substituting high-fat fixings, such as shortening, butter, and sour cream, by baking with Greek yogurt.

Admittedly, I can’t get enough of Greek yogurt. (It seems I’m not alone—FAGE Greek Yogurt has their own fan page on Facebook with more than 37,780 followers!) I just feel like you can get so much more flavor for your caloric buck than with other kinds of yogurt. Plus, nutritionally, it just makes sense—seven ounces of FAGE Total 2% has 130 calories and 17 grams of protein! Always looking for ways to cut calories in the kitchen, I was thrilled to come across this link on the FAGE website, which includes recipes for creamy dishes like Angelic Lemon Cheesecake, Apple & Cinnamon Muffins, and Tiramisu Yogurt Cup with Chocolate Cookies. You can also find recipes for savory dips, soups, and sauces.

If your clients are crazy about the new snacks at your spa, consider printing out little recipe cards—be sure to include your spa’s logo, of course—and give them away as parting gifts. After all, it’s the smallest touches that make the biggest difference.

Holiday Party—And Networking—Tips

holiday-partyIt’s the holiday season, which means there are plenty of parties and events filling your calendar. While it’s a great time to enjoy the festivities, it’s also an excellent time to network and get the word out about your spa. Maribeth Kuzmeski, author of The Connectors: How the World’s Most Successful Businesspeople Build Relationships and Win Clients for Life (Wiley, September 2009), has some tips for maximizing these events to make connections that will benefit you well into the New Year.

Have a plan of action before you go. First, think about which contacts are the most important to you, and make a point to speak to each of them during the event.

Let them do the talking (You ask the questions!). There’s nothing worse than coming away from a great networking opportunity realizing that you didn’t capitalize on the situation. As you work the crowds this holiday season, be sure to have more in your arsenal than small talk. Here are a few great ice breakers to get the ball rolling:

  • Where will you be spending the holidays?
  • Where did you grow up?
  • Do you still have family there?
  • How are your kids?
  • What are they up to this holiday season?

Once the conversation is flowing freely, then you can move on to more in-depth business questions, like

  • What’s the best thing that has happened to your business this year?
  • What’s one thing you’ve done that has really changed your career?
  • What will you never do again in business?
  • What’s your biggest challenge?
  • What’s makes a good client for you?
  • What do you find is the most effective way to keep a client happy?

Be prepared to pitch yourself in 15 seconds. When you’re meeting new people at this season’s holiday parties, you should resist the urge to give them a 10-minute introduction about yourself and your spa. Instead, prepare a short, 15-second elevator pitch. Think about what’s unique about you and your spa and what will stand out in a room full of people who are also talking about themselves. Be sure that whomever you speak with will still remember you at the end of the night.

The party may end, but your connection shouldn’t. Following an event, be proactive. Spend 10 minutes cementing your connections by creating a database that allows you to keep track of all the connections you’ve made. Include reminders to yourself of interesting or remarkable things that people said or that you learned so that you won’t forget them and can refer back to them in later conversations. And be sure to use social media to keep in touch.

“When you think about it, the holidays are all about connecting,” says Kuzmeski. “So don’t throw out those holiday party invitations this year. RSVP with a ‘Yes!’ and resolve that you won’t leave any event without having a made a couple of great new connections. Put yourself out there, make the first move, and be yourself. It just may be the best gift you give yourself this year.”

Industry Insiders Reveal What it Takes
to Operate a Successful Day Spa

images2If you’ve always dreamed of becoming a spa owner, then you won’t want to miss the upcoming seminar, “How to Start A Day Spa,” at The Learning Annex (304 E. 42nd St., lower level, New York City) on Sat. Oct. 17 from 12:00 to 6:00pm. The half-day event will feature a panel of experts, from successful spa owners to consultants and creative designer, who will share information on how to make your dream spa a reality. The seminar will be moderated by Nancy Trent, president of the New York City-based marketing and publicity firm Trent & Company. Panelists include:

  • Isabel Anton and Anna Antal, co-owners of Advanced Skin Care Day Spa (New York City)
  • Wendy Bosalavage, president of American Leisure Corporation, innovators in cutting-edge design and operation of spas and wellness centers
  • Mike Canizales, founder of Spa Chakra, a worldwide network of luxury spas
  • Chris Kofitsas, owner of New World Design Builders, designers of a number of New York’s hottest new spas and salons
  • Lorraine Massey, owner of The Deva Spa at the Devachan Salon, a widely known sanctuary for those with curly hair
  • Sergio Mercado, creative director at Clodagh Design, known for visionary blending of leading-edge technology, innovative materials, and ancient techniques
  • Candida Molina, director of The Deva Spa at the Devachan Salon (New York City)
  • Melissa Shea, newest member of Fresh and the leader of the REFresh Spa Program
  • Maria Varriano, owner of MariVar Spa Builders, a leading consulting firm in the development of spas and wellness centers
  • Denise Vitiello, spa director at The Spa at the Mandarin Oriental, New York

For more information about the seminar, contact Nancy Trent at (212) 966-0024.

Introduce Date Night and Make Your Spa a
Romantic Retreat

images-1This past Friday, Ivy Spa Club (Minneapolis) gave Twin City couples a reason to rejoice thanks to its new Date Night package. Starting at $200 per couple, the package includes two indulgent 50-minute Ivy Signature Massages; a cheese, cracker, and fruit platter with decadent chocolate-covered strawberries; two glasses of champagne; complimentary valet parking; and a couple’s photo and gift from B. Kamins, Chemist. “Ivy Spa Club’s Date Night was designed to offer couples a relaxing getaway to celebrate a special occasion or to simply unwind together,” says Ivy Spa Club owner Pam Margolis. “With the Date Night package, couples can take time out of their hectic schedules to recharge and reconnect.” Future Date Nights are slated for Saturday, Oct. 17, and Thursday, Nov. 19. Want to attract more couples to your spa? Then consider creating your own date night package.

ISPA, STR Partner for Spa Benchmarking

benchmarking_graphicThe International Spa Association (ISPA) has teamed with Smith Travel Research (STR) to expand an online benchmarking tool for spas. The Spa STAR report first launched in 2007 as a benchmarking tool for hotel and resort spas. Now, the program is growing through partial funding from ISPA to include the rest of the spa industry. The online Spa STAR report will allow spas to enter monthly information on various metrics, such as treatment revenue, number of treatments, treatment room hours available, treatment room hours utilized, spa revenue, and more. Using this information, spas can pull Spa STAR reports showing monthly and historical performances, which enables them to benchmark themselves against other spas.

Members of ISPA will receive an exclusive one-year STR discount through this partnership beginning in January 2010. “The key is to get spas to participate in the monthly reports, so that this can be a valuable resource and a true benchmarking tool,” says Lynne McNees, ISPA president. “The hotel industry has relied on STAR reports for years to provide timely information used in their operations, and we are proud to provide all spas the same benefits.”

“In these times of unprecedented economic upheaval spa operators are looking for more sophisticated tools and for actionable information,” adds STR Vice President Jan D. Freitag. “The Spa STAR report will equip owners, operators and investors with strategic planning tools for the future”

Visit for details.

Learn More About Leadership with SpaExec’s Advanced Management Seminars

spaexec_logoInterested in sharpening your management skills? SpaExec is introducing Advanced Management Seminars: Management and Marketing Strategies for Spa and Hospitality Professionals. For $95, participants are entitled to a networking luncheon and a three-hour course, which will give you the tools to do the following:

• Learn the key components of a successful spa business model
• Acquire new skills to evaluate and influence your spa’s performance
• Improve your skill set to be an effective leader in the spa industry
• Discover effective manners to communicate with your GM

Taught by industry veteran Deborah Evans, the seminars are sure to inspire creativity and give you the competitive edge necessary to maneuver through this dicey economy.

The schedule for the seminars is as follows:
•October 20th at The Balboa Bay Club Resort (Newport Beach, CA)
•November 6th at The Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina (FL)

For more information, click here!

SpaFinder and Red Mountain Spa Host Educational Event to Help Spas Boost Business


Want to make 2010 the year your spa thrives? Then you may want to consider attending SpaFinder’s 8th annual Spa Learning Event slated for Oct. 18-21 at Red Mountain Resort & Spa (Ivins, UT). The program will teach you how to develop stronger marketing initiatives, generate ideas for profitable yield management, benefit from social networking, and make your spa more eco-friendly. A host of industry experts will be on hand to help you evaluate your business and marketing plans, online strategies, and more. Award-winning television journalist Joan Lunden, former host of ABC-TV’s Good Morning America, will serve as the event’s keynote speaker and discuss her personal road to transformation and change. Other speakers will include: Rhana Pytell, board member of the Green Spa Network and executive director at GAIA Spa; Kristi Konieczny, founder of The Spa Buzz; Kimberly Matheson Shedrick, president of Natural Resources Spa Consulting; Christine King, president of TMG International; Dan Chandre, vice president, operations, SpaBooker; and Milana Knowles, vice president, day spa sales and marketing, SpaFinder.

For those interested in attending, a limited time offer is available through Sept. 10 giving 10 percent off all bookings. Deluxe single occupancy ($289 per person, per night) and deluxe double occupancy ($259 per person, per night) includes three daily meals, one Swedish massage, and a host of activities and amenities. For more information or to RSVP, contact Loreen Guertin at (212) 716-1167 or

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