You vs. Your Competition – What Makes a Client Choose Your Spa Pt.1

Lisa Starr
Competitive analysis for spas and salons

Unless you are a resort spa, this time of year probably reflects some quieting in your books.

Perhaps even your regulars are MIA. What is your plan to attract new consumers, and how will your spa stand out from all of the competition in the slow season? Read on for the first in a two-part series on the topic.

Clients are more aware of the need for spa and wellness services than ever. The message can’t be escaped, even in mainstream media. But there are plenty of people who still aren’t sure what happens in a spa, and even more don’t know what wellness actually entails. The nature of the American spa industry is that the word “spa” has no clear connotation. It may be attached to a nail, tanning salon, or hair salon just as often as it’s used with skin and body services. The ubiquitous nature of the word is good for marketing in the sense that consumers see it often. That reinforces the idea that “spa” is not just for special occasions. But it’s not helpful if consumers don’t know how your spa differs from the next.

Communicating what your spa is and isn’t about should be a main concept that frames your spa marketing plan. It is likely that you have massage, body, and/or skincare services on the menu, but beyond that, what words or concepts help to define your spa? Is it botanical, holistic, organic? Do you use Italian products? Are you known for your customer service or for outstanding results? Is your staff highly trained? Many spa owners try an “everything but the kitchen sink” approach – long lists of every treatment imaginable but no soul or clear identity. The more facilities like this exist, the more commoditized spa services become. If your spa doesn’t have a distinct identity or point of view, you’ll be lost in the crowd. This article on branding gives some helpful hints on the best approach.  

One of the important focal points in developing a brand identity is to make sure it resonates with your existing target audience. Don’t develop a concept or treatment menu because it interests you – make sure there’s a community of prospective clients who need or want what you offer. Additionally, ensure that your spa is conveniently located for those prospects. With this approach in place, you’ll have something to build on. Check back for the second part of this series next week.


About the Author

Lisa Starr

Lisa Starr brings over 30 years of industry-specific experience as a consultant, educator and writer to Booker through GOtalk. Lisa also works for Wynne Business, a leading spa consulting and education company. Among other things, Lisa’s expertise lies in business operations and finances, sales and marketing, inventory management, human resource development, and business process improvement. She is a well-known speaker within the trade show circuit and is a frequent contributor to industry

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