How many times have we been bombarded with the same mantra of the typical spa goer?  For years the demographic has been: female, 100 thousand Euros per year or more in household income, 48-55, college or university educated. Of course we have now added men to the mix.  In this ultra-competitive market spa owners and directors need to break out of the standard category and become very specialized.  Notice the word “special” as the root of that term.

Niche Equals Rich

What does your spa truly specialize in? Are you known for anti-aging facials, color cosmetics, contouring services or massage? Being a catch all spa really doesn’t allow room for competition with spas spread across the land like Starbucks. As a test take a red marker to your menu and eliminate those services that really aren’t popular. Is your hydrotherapy room being used?  Do you really need 29 different types of facial services? Does your staff understand the technical aspects of your Yin-Yangian Adventure? I’m joking of course but point being if no one, neither client nor technician has the first notion as to the details of the therapy, it needs to go. Furthermore, consider the cost of training, sundries and product used during services that aren’t popular. When you do the math it will likely turn out that these random treatments aren’t generating enough revenue to stay on the menu anyway.

Have a Team Meeting

What is your team passionate about? Are you performing, for example, a high number of waxing services or make up touch ups along with your spa therapies?  Would these add-on services warrant a specialized suite just for those additions that your spa apparently does very well?  Are there services that are requested but not offered at your spa?  Your front line team will have a lot to offer in terms of what is and isn’t working on your menu; comments from clients and what is said and done in the treatment room that management often isn’t privy to. Finally, what does your team collectively want to be the best at? Are they excited about esthetics or body treatments; medical services or rituals? Find the pulse of your team.

Who is your Clientele?

Pare down your demographic a bit. Trim your primary user down beyond the basics. We aren’t measuring your gift certificate sales or the many that may come to your facility occasionally or on a whim. Focus on the 10% of your most frequent guests. Especially if your facility is a day spa or club spa, what are the demographics of the “regulars” who truly support your bottom line? Interview guests; invite your regular customers for VIP parties that embrace communicating with them about what they treasure in your spa and what they would change.  When I owned spas I would say, “I so enjoy your company…would you invite your best friends and join me for a party?” My 10% would literally invite all of their best friends and the feedback and referral business was incredible.

Perform an Assessment of your Product Lines

Are they working for you or are you working in vain for them?  Walk through your retail space and make some tough decisions about what is and isn’t working for your spa. So often we become sucked in to the inertia of a line that is only in part selling or is gathering dust. What products truly resonate with your customer? Going through your retail sales records and your physical inventory on a quarterly basis is worth the time and effort in determining what you are doing right and what you could be improving.


In line with trimming your menu, your retail and the focus of your spa, reassess your message. Focus on very simple advertising and public relations messages that are easy to remember and understand. As the advertiser or marketer you are going to grow painfully bored of your slant. However, it takes the consumer simple repetition to digest and recall your ads or the snippet or sound bite constantly put before them. If you diversify that message too much your will confuse the spa goer and often lose their business to the spa next to yours or the spa with a similar name or logo. Your marketing message must be distinct and to the point.

Finding your focal point as a spa is a crucial first, next and last step to ensuring your organization’s success. The best way to excel beyond the range of your competition is to redefine the standards of service and technical care in targeted areas where your team is capable of truly shining. Take the time to finely tune your range and future direction and then stabilize and expand that effort through marketing and promotional prominence.  Create your spa’s niche where your talents and differences can truly shine.