The Pareto Principle

A few years back, my son Charlie received an interesting holiday gift—it was a small punch machine that made guitar picks out of old credit cards. After several months, Charlie had a bowlful of picks, and I laughed after looking through them one day because they were all made out of used hotel key cards.

Before you get the wrong impression about me, I do a fair amount of travel with this job, which means I get to experience many different hotels over the course of a year. My most recent trip took me to San Diego for Unite’s Paramount Business class, and I found myself staying at the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort in Carlsbad, California. That’s very fortunate for me, because my sister Vicky worked for Hyatt for more than 20 years and her former boss and best friend Janet is now the operations manager at Aviara.

While the customer service for any guest at Aviara is exemplary and any room at this gorgeous property would make for a luxurious stay, Janet upgraded me to a suite and for two days I sampled what it was like to be one of Hyatt’s VIP guests. My suite, which was bigger than my first house, included a well-appointed living room, dining room, kitchenette, bedroom, dressing room and two bathrooms. But as lovely and big as the room was, it really was all the small personal touches that made me feel ‘very important.’

When I opened my door, I was greeted by a cheese plate, a bottle of red wine and a hand-written note of welcome from Janet which included her cell phone number. Another personalized note on a tray on the bed welcomed me back to the Aviara, and wished me a good night with an inspirational quote. Next to the note on the tray was a personalized travel bag embroidered with my name. Slippers were set out by the side of the bed, and on the desk was a leather folder with several sheets of Aviara stationery, which also were personalized with my name. 

Whether you recognize them or not, every business—including Hyatt and your salon—has a cache of VIPs. There is an observation in economics called the Pareto Principle, or the 80/20 rule, which states 20 percent of your customers are responsible for 80 percent of your business. At Salon Today, we are very familiar with this principle, because our target audience is the 20 percent of finer salons that make up 80 percent of the beauty business.

In the salon world, your VIP client is the one who pre-books several appointments out, patronizes several of your team members for separate services, and routinely buys buys retail. If you ran a report on how much each of your clients spends at your business over a year’s time, you should find a core group of vital clients that are responsible for approximately 80 percent of your business.

What are you doing to connect with these clients at a higher level and make them feel important? How about creating a club of clients, and allowing them to sample services that you’re considering for your menu—complimentary, of course? Or, keeping images of your VIPs in their digital client folders and reviewing them during your morning huddle so these guests can be greeted by name by different team members? You could even take it to the Park Hyatt level and purchase monogrammed smocks or robes for VIP guests for their exclusive use each visit.

As always, I’d love to hear if the Pareto Principle rings true for your business, and what special, personal touches you do for your VIP guests. Drop me a line at , or connect with us on Facebook and share your story.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, Click here.