The way your staff communicates to male clients about spa services needs to be straightforward and direct from that very first phone call.
“Remember, men don’t like to ask for directions; they don’t like the feeling of not knowing,” says Hammel. “But they don’t typically know as much as women, so you have to explain what’s involved in a spa service right up front. For example, they’re less likely to know what the term ‘exfoliate’ means. But you have to inform them in a way that’s never condescending.”
In their seminars, Francoeur and Coburn illustrate how innocently easy it can be to humiliate a male client. “For example, I’ll do a sketch of a male client coming in for a waxing appointment where the front desk attendant loudly instructs him to have a seat in the waiting area (among the female clients) until his attendant calls him for his back wax,” says Francoeur. “That gets a laugh, but it does happen. You have to remember that for guys, these services are a very private matter.”
The direct communication needs to continue in the treatment room. “Before their first facial, I’ll take them on a tour of the treatment room and explain each piece of equipment, each product, what I’ll do with each and how they work,” says Coburn. “I’ll talk about the 28-day cellular cycle for skin, ask about their lifestyle and offer suggestions. Education is the most important thing I can offer them that first day. But once you’ve earned their trust, then your word becomes gospel.”
While service providers would rightly argue that skin type and need is more important than gender when determining the best service for a client, there are differences in the way services should be conducted for men. “Unfortunately, even in school they don’t truly teach us how to perform services for men,” says Francoeur.
For example, according to Francoeur, clients should be told not to shave the morning of the facial service. Estheticians can’t use gauze because it shreds and sticks to the beard. Shaving and in-grown hairs present men with different skin care challenges that can alter the way a facial is performed. And, technicians need to know how to perform a facial on a man who has a beard.
“Too many estheticians will put on a masque and walk away leaving the client alone,” says Francoeur. “But that time is a great opportunity to massage the feet, hands or neck, introducing the client to the benefits of massage.”
Men lean more heavily to muscle therapy, opting for deep tissue massage or sports massage, says Tessler. “Many of our male clients are golfers or runners, and around marathon time we’ll be booked solid with runner massages. Because men typically prefer to go deeper into the tissue, you have to evaluate which technicians can best perform those services.”
Since time is an issue for many male clients who try to squeeze services in over a busy lunch hour, express services and quick add-ons are also popular. But you do have to be cautious how you schedule a first-time service. “Men’s pedicures typically take longer,” says Melendrez. “Because a man is more likely to never have had a pedicure, or at least not come in for maintenance, his skin is drier and exfoliation is a tougher job.”
Hammel also is surprised by how many men have never had pedicures. “Many have the notion that it will be uncomfortable or painful—it’s as though they expect the service to be like a trip to the doctor. They’re frequently amazed at how pleasant it is,” she adds.
When considering male services, you’ve also got to examine your equipment. After Hammel opened one of her first treatment areas, she learned that the basic tables that were purchased were too narrow. “Make sure your equipment is comfortable for men,” she advises.
Menus for Men
How seriously you take your male clientele is clearly reflected on your service menu. Do you maintain a separate menu, or at least a separate section, of customized men’s services? Do your descriptions appeal to men with male-friendly terminology?
“For the male client who is cautious about crossing that line into spa, you have to have a separate menu or menu page,” says Tessler. “While women want to luxuriate over a long menu with detailed service descriptions, men want to get to the point and are attracted to more concise, straightforward references.”
That doesn’t necessarily mean fewer service options. “When you look at the service menus of many spas, they’ll offer one or two facials for men and eight or nine for women,” says Coburn. “But men have as many different kinds of skin care issues. We never wanted them to feel like they are number two.”
Not only do descriptions need to be clear and to the point, but owners need to be aware that even the most common spa terminology can send men running. For example, to most men, manicure and pedicure denotes a service with polish. So, Bodé opted to term these services as Hand Fixes and Foot Fixes, while American Male offers Hand Detailing and Foot Detailing and markets waxing as Body Finishing.
The service descriptions should highlight health and wellness, as well as the benefits of the service, points out Hammel. “And of course, the words are important, instead of words like ‘glowing’ or ‘beautiful,’ you need to choose more masculine words like ‘energize’ and ‘revitalize.’” For examples of masculine service descriptions, see “Packaged Deal,” on page 39.
With a booming bridal business, Andre Chreky has had a lot of success with its special groom’s menu. Cassidy says the spa has even customized the signature survival kit it gifts to brides in hunter green for the groom. “It includes things that grooms forget on the busy day, like a razor, shaving cream, a pocket comb and breath mints,” she says. Naturally, services that couples can enjoy together represent a great introduction for men into the world of spa. “We’ve had a lot of success with our Couple’s Massage, where the husband and wife start with a foot soak and a glass of wine and have the massage together,” says Poole.
|While owners claim female clients are more package-driven than men, a spa package highlighting the right services and that is delivered with simple, straightforward, masculine vernacular can attract a crowd. Can you detect the subtle differences in these male-focused package descriptions?|
Bodé Mini Fix
The Happy Hubby
Men’s Spa Package
Since the traditional word-of-mouth doesn’t connect men the same way it does women, marketing to the male clientele can present a unique challenge. Bodé’s owners believe their single most important marketing tool is their website, www.bodespa.com. “We work very hard to make it as informative as possible,” says Francoeur. “And we work to make sure our site pops up in the top three for men’s services in Ottawa. That’s how most new clients find us.”
Francoeur also has found his clientele is responsive to e-mail advertising, and the spa strives to send out informative monthly newsletters that offer information and trends, rather than sales pitches. Of course the word-of-mouth that does work with men is professional recommendation. “Because we offer male-focused services that others don’t, we frequently get clients who are referred by physicians, health clubs, and other salons and spas,” says Francoeur.
In Andre Chreky’s successful quarterly newsletters, Chreky and Cassidy always feature a special section and a promotion for men. “We use a Q&A section that tries to address issues that are embarrassing for men to ask, such as ‘What can I do about my hairy back?’ or ‘How can I treat in-grown hairs?’” says Chreky. “We find that our female clients tend to share these informational tidbits with their husbands.”
Chreky also has seen a strong response to e-mail blast promotions. “Although we’re frequently told that men aren’t very coupon driven, we’re always surprised at the number of men, some of them successful lawyers and lobbyists, eagerly coming in with their 10-percent-off coupons.”
Naturally, gift cards are popular for Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Father’s Day, but look at how your business is packaging that gift. “We recently did an e-mail blast that showcased our more feminine gift card in contrast to our masculine one that features a background of black river stones. We constantly are featuring new designs on our gift cards to keep them fresh and interesting, but you always need one that appeals to your men,” points out Chreky.
Hampers successfully publicized the opening of the Men’s Club by involving many of Boston’s business leaders and celebrities.
“We’re a huge sports town, and we were able to persuade Matt Light, a tackle for the New England Patriots, to come in for a makeover,” says Hampers. “Before he looked like a mountain man with bushy hair and beard, so we gave him a great makeover with hair cut, shave, facial and wardrobe and he allowed us to publicize it. It had everyone in town asking, what happened to Matt Light?”
When the Cleveland Indians were in town for the playoffs, Hampers succeeded in hosting the ESPN announcers which earned some well-placed, on-air mentions, and when John Travolta was filming in town, the spa happily catered to his daily on-set manicures.
Of course, once a man is your client, then the professional recommendation is the best marketing strategy. Hammel cleverly encourages those recommendations with her Test Drive Program, which features a different service every six weeks that men can test drive for half price for the first time. “It’s an exciting way to promote those services, and we find there’s always an opportunity for a service provider to talk about a highlighted service,” she says.
With all the different things to consider with men and spa services, you might be wondering, ‘Why bother?’ But, our male-focused owners say that men are more than worth the extra work.
“Men communicate in a much more direct way and are not as afraid of an uncomfortable conversation,” says Hammel. “So they are much more likely to tell you if they are not happy with a service, and much more willing to let you make it right. Women will just smile and quietly go elsewhere—but they’ll tell their friends what made them unhappy.”
Men lack the skepticism that most women have, adds Tessler. “Whether you are recommending a specific service or product, they are more willing to listen to suggestion. Part of that is they feel a bit clueless in this arena and view you as a professional, and another part is they simply have fewer competitive products at home.”
When approached in a straightforward manner, men represent an easier sell once their trust has been earned. “We are very sample-happy here at Bodé,” says Francoeur. “While women are very interested in learning about all the different products they should be using, you’ve got to go more slowly with men. After a skin care analysis, we’ll offer our guys samples of the products we think would be best for them and invite them to try it. On the second and third visit, we’ll start on the education—by then they trust you and they are loyal.”
Client loyalty is the biggest male payoff—men are almost three times more loyal than their female counterparts claim some owners. “Women constantly survey their friends and try different locations, but once you’ve gained a man’s trust, you’ve got a standing appointment,” says Hampers.
|What’s with Waxing|
|Traditionally, the spa service most frequently connected with men is massage, but many of today’s spa owners claim that waxing services represent their most popular introductions to the spa for men.
“The uni-brow is no more,” claims Paula Cassidy, spa director at Andre Chreky the Spa Salon in Washington, D.C., who swears even conservative politicians and businessmen are seeking eyebrow services.
Depending on the service, waxing can seem a less intimate experience for the timid male, says Shaana Melendrez, spa director of Lather Spa in New York. “Usually they are coming in at the suggestion of a wife or girlfriend, but that quick waxing service is also a great way for them to check out our environment,” she says.
A spa that offers waxing services for men can put a spa on the map, says Daniel Francoeur, co-owner of Bodé Spa in Ottawa, Ontario. Because many schools don’t teach specific waxing procedures for men, he believes many spas either don’t offer male waxing services or don’t market them correctly.
“A man will come in asking for a back wax and leave disappointed when a big patch of hair is removed from his back, but his neck and shoulders are still hairy. When men call for a waxing service, you have to talk to them about exactly what that service includes—we’ve found it’s better to market and price the back wax to include the neck and shoulders.”
Whether a man’s needs for waxing is driven by a competitive edge in a sporting activities, health reasons or personal preference, male waxing is increasing in all areas, says Francoeur. “That includes eyebrows, chests, backs, legs and even Brazilians,” he says. “But we’ve found when men come in for a waxing service, 90 percent of the time, there’s a woman behind it.”