Spa Marketing: Know Your Regional Market

By Bill Di Stanisloa Founder & Principal, GreenSpa 101 LLC | March 13, 2011

Marketing has many definitions depending on the expert you may be speaking with. The key to successful marketing is not only knowing your product, price, promotion and distribution, but understanding the buying criteria of your regional guests.

With today's changing economy, it is wise to reintroduce your spa's business to your regional prospective clients. Define what your clients need and you will know how to attract those who want exactly what you have to offer. Be clear on your intent. What can your clients expect from their visit? New guests or clients select your spa for a reason. Find the reason; hopefully it is more than just their faithful commitment to having a massage or facial. Most spa owners, managers or their in-house marketing team focus on a current promotion for a holiday or season with a special offer, discount or free gift.

An important step for any spa manager or marketing manager is to meet with their spa team including all licensed providers, coordinators and support members. Engaging your spa team has multiple benefits. Obtaining valuable secondary research is one, but honoring their input will add cohesiveness, loyalty and motivation to your number one sales force. Ask them to reveal any comments or suggestions that a guest or client may have shared during their visit. This is also a time when you will hear about a specific service that was more favorable over another. For example, perhaps there have been many compliments on the new Seaweed Wrap treatment released three months ago. Your guests may have confirmed that this treatment delivers great benefits to their dry skin. Great feedback! If indeed your spa is located near the ocean it would validate the regional aspect of the service. Developing services indigenous to your region can be a true differentiator and make your spa a destination point. Ensure the success of your services by requiring your providers to be fully knowledgeable on all products used in each treatment. It is disappointing to visit a spa which merely offers "services" in which both the spa team and the provider can offer little guidance or education on the ingredients of a product from an indigenous or regional source.

Regional marketing can offer new revenue from local residents as well as those who simply just feel the need to drive a few hours and enjoy a day at the spa. Give them a reason to come to yours! Successful regional marketing understands why a customer would choose to come to your spa over another. Too many spas make expensive investments that mimic trendy services or treatments which may be very successful at a 5 Diamond hotel spa in downtown Manhattan. This same service may not generate the same interest in another location such as Phoenix, Arizona. An arid climate found in Phoenix would attract customers by offering treatments that would reflect a more indigenous product and benefit; a soothing Dilo wrap followed by an aloe vera based facial, for example. Design our marketing around your spa's mission and vision which again should reflect the regional attributes of your location. Your spa's treatments and services should differentiate you from other spas within your region. By the way, your region can be defined as in-state or within a 50 to 100 mile radius, it all depends on the actual location and size of your commerce area or how large of a business and/or residential base is within that radius.

Your resort or hotel based spa is attracting guests and clients to your region for a reason, find out what that reason is and market accordingly. For example, the developers of your spa at time of construction heard Watsu was popular in another state and built with this in mind. This service may not be the reason guests selected your spa which now results in less than a 3% return on the investment. Be sure you're monitoring the volume of all services while focusing on guest favorites. If a service is not selling after 90 days of being active, then confirm your marketing strategy on this service and be sure it fits your mission and the expectations of your regional guests or clients. Never leave a service or treatment on the menu if it does not sell nor has a guest demand.

The ultimate goal for all hospitality and service businesses is for a guest or customer to truly become a client and return time and time again. How fortunate it is to hear that a guest enjoyed a unique experience from the service, the spa team and the environment. They will return and tell others of their experience which will add to your spa's success. Regional guest feedback will help steer your strategies for growing your business as every region offers something special. Read your comment cards, speak to your regional or local customers and find out what they liked or did not like about your spa. Smile and say: Thank you, your input is very important to us! Listen to what they are asking for before running to implement what you may have read in the latest trend source.

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