best practices ... service menu
Prepare your wet room, because water is making a big splash. "It used to be that if you didn't have a hydrotherapy room, you weren't a 'real spa,'" says Minton, reviewing the early days of adapting the European spa concept to the U.S. "But our clients didn't buy water services—Americans don't want to be open and wet and lying on a table somewhere—and the staff didn't even understand what a Vichy shower was. Owners started using their wet rooms to fold towels."
Happily, clients are now willing to dip a toe into the hydrotherapy waters. Massage in water is big at resort spas, Vichy showers are making a comeback and the new open flotation tank is putting a modern stamp on this service category. "Americans are getting it," says Minton. "But offer clients a disposable bathing suit; they're still modest." Don't forget what we learned in the earlier days: keep the room warm, and use dimmer switches.
The return of hydrotherapies may simply be part of the steadily growing wellness movement. "We've been talking about wellness forever, but now it's really happening," Minton says. "People want to feel better."
While the medispa landscape is saturated, Minton says the bridge between day spa and medispa is wide open. "There's plenty of room for spas that offer fitness rituals, yoga, Pilates and nutrition," she observes. "We're seeing the next stage of this industry."
best practices ... leadership
Best practices start at the top. It's up to the leader to set expectations high. "Best practice is a no-compromise leadership commitment to do it the best and only the best," says Neil Ducoff, founder of Strategies, a consulting firm specializing in the salon and spa industry. With strong leadership, you know who you are. You know where you fall in the competitive market, what you look for in an employee and why clients choose your business.
In best practices, leaders maintain excellence and consistency while staying flexible in order to adapt to a rapidly changing industry and business environment. While the leader may feel pulled from every direction, industry experts insist that the key to profitability is staying unwaveringly true to every aspect of a solid business plan, even if it means delaying an action, revising a previously successful procedure or losing an employee.
Depending on the size of the spa, frequently one owner cannot do it all. "Today businesses do well with layers of management," says Canavino."Best Practices require the right infrastructure," agrees Ducoff, a judge for the most recent Global Salon Business Awards. For example, when Canadian spa owner Eveline Charles approached the $3 million range in sales with two large facilities, she hired a full-time accountant. Says Ducoff, "Eveline recognized the need to have her internal structure disciplined." No matter how many people you can afford to help you, however, the buck still stops at the owner's desk.