Appointment packages (or rituals, as many spas and salons call them) have been common on menus for many years, but they’re often little more than an afterthought in their design.
Packages first appeared on spa menus back in the 1980s, and believe it or not, they were often used as a way to get clients to try massages and body treatments! Back then, when spas were still a new concept, clients had a fear of the unknown that kept them from trying new services, and packages were a way to encourage them to do so. In fact, popular packages back in the early days involved clients spending an entire day at the spa, having as many as 7 or 8 services as well as a meal. The impetus for trying one of these early packages was the substantial discount you received if you had all of the services at the same time. What was lost on margin was made up for in volume.
However, over the ensuing years, habits and lifestyles have changed quite a bit. Massage is now the #1 demand service in almost every spa that offers it, and women definitely do not want to spend 8 hours at the salon or spa anymore. In the past couple of decades, clients have started asking if they could break up packages to have one service on one day, and another on a different day, thus losing any advantage for the business of the discounted pricing. Additionally, people spend their time differently now, and 2-3 hours is the most we can usually hope for someone to spend at a salon or spa, so packages have evolved as well.
When creating appointment packages for your spa or salon, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Sell Experiences Instead of Time Blocks
Yes, we need to let clients know how long they ‘ll be at your facility, but time shouldn’t be the selling point. When you market a service as being 55 minutes instead of focusing on how the service will benefit your client, your patrons will focus on how long a service took instead of end result.
Focus on Outcomes
Along those lines, create packages that have a descriptive focus, such as Detoxifying or Rejuvenating. Tell them how they will feel after they’ve enjoyed their treatments.
It’s a common practice to put a hard-to-sell service such as a body wrap or hair mask into a package. But it’s important to mix less popular services in with other high-demand treatments to drive sales. You can also use appointment series to get clients to try different modalities or department: for example, you could offer a typical body treatment with finishing services like a blowout or makeup application.
The number of packages that you offer on the menu will be affected by the size of your facility and service menu. Just make sure to offer a range of packages that cover an array of price points and times. If you offer 3 appointment series, try combinations that result in prices in the range of $150, $190, and $225-235, for instance.
These kinds of packages really work for spas and salons during high-peak gift times, when folks who aren’t familiar with our treatments and lingo appear to purchase gift cards. Providing a range of appointment packages will help friends and family select a gift that meets their budget.
While discounting the total price of services in a package is common, believe it or not, it isn’t essential. In fact, package guests tend to cost more. They’re often not regular guests, and therefore need more hand-holding and guidance. They use a lot of resources such as lockers, linens and amenities, and they often don’t make additional retail purchases. You should keep all these factors in mind when you set your prices. If you do offer a discount, make it a small one, maybe 5-7%, and have it apply only for treatments performed on a single day.
When you’re putting packages together, think about your margins. Put a low-margin, high-cost service like a body scrub together with a high-margin, low-cost bath soak or another treatment that may not have a labor component. You can also combine treatments that won’t require a lot of retail, like a spa pedicure, with those that do, such as a facial.
The Bottom Line
Keep an eye on what sells and what doesn’t, and change up your packages every 12-18 months to keep things interesting for your clients. As always, happy selling!
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