Guest or Client?

Stacey Soble | May 1, 2019 | 3:16 PM

Here’s a quick poll: guest or client? Over recent years, increasing numbers of salons have adopted the hotel-styled ‘guest’ approach, but according to one of the keynote speakers at this year’s ISBN annual conference, it could be a mistake.

Dr. Leon Alexander, an environmental psychologist, author and expert in the beauty industry, believes referring to clients as guest could create hurdles to selling on additional services and retail.

"Guests come to your house for your hospitality; you don’t cook them a meal and then try to charge them," says Alexander, who joined the industry nearly 50 years ago as general manager of Vidal Sassoon and has since been advising salon owners on how to create an environment that services the emotional needs of the consumer. "You don’t sell to guests. It’s a mindset. That person sitting in the salon chair is a consumer, not a guest. Call them what you like but don’t lose sight that they are a consumer."

Instead, as Alexander will tell delegates at the ISBN conference in Bonita Springs in May, salons must build their businesses around the emotions of the consumers, creating entertainment rather than a simple experience.

"We’ve evolved in our industry from service, then to an experience. The better salons are now giving personalized experiences, rather than a generic experience. But the future is all of that, plus entertainment. The millennials require entertainment," he says.

With a PhD in behavioral psychology, Dr. Alexander has a unique insight into the emotional needs of the beauty consumer. He began his career in the UK and at one point owned 320 salons and schools. He was the director of an Aveda distributorship in England and a designer for Aveda Salons. In 2006 he launched Eurisko Design with the vision of designing space around the emotions of the consumer and accommodating the functionality of service.

Dr. Alexander is joining a phenomenal line-up of speakers at this year’s ISBN Conference to Spark Change for the Industry, all of whom will be broadcast live on the ISBN website. Each speaker will focus on leadership and its crucial role in dealing with the challenges the industry faces as disruption after disruption changes the way we compete and service clients. But while the event will be broadcast live, only those in attendance in Bonita Springs will be able to participate in the real learning that will happen after as peers discuss what they’ve heard and develop strategies for future action.

‘As an industry, we must identify the challenges we are facing, exploring how to respond and lead,’ says Valorie Tate, ISBN Executive Director. ‘Dr. Alexander will be looking at the future consumer and advising delegates on how to adapt. It’s an essential conversation we need to have in the industry,’


ISBN’s 2019 conference will take place at the gorgeous Hyatt Regency Coconut Point, Bonita Springs, FL, on May 5-7 and is open to senior leaders of multi-location businesses. The hotel is famed as a retreat where guests can watch dolphins at the beach on a private island, play golf on its stunning green or connect with colleagues in contemporary meeting spaces. The conference opens up with its traditional golf tournament or the option to take a Catamaran Cruise along Naples to meet fellow delegates at the conference. CLICK HERE to learn more and to register for or sponsor the conference.

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