The Client of the Future part 2

A DAYSPA 3-part series

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Last month, industry experts consulted their crystal balls to give readers a fascinating profile of the day spa client of the future. In Part 2, DAYSPA asks the experts,

“What treatments and services will the client of the future demand?”

Check back next month for revealing insights on the best marketing strategies to get the client of tomorrow into your spa—today!

Last month, we learned that while women will remain in the majority of a day spa’s future clientele, more men, teens, elderly and people of all socioeconomic backgrounds will be drawn to spa—if day spa owners can continue to target these groups’ specific needs. Our experts also predicted that Baby Boomers will want tailored antiaging protocols, younger spa-goers will want to know that your spa is green and connected to the community, men will want express sensory getaways that fit their busy lifestyles—and everyone always wants value for their money. Given these considerations, what are the services, treatments and trends that day spa owners need to focus on to attract the client of the future?

MARTI MORENINGS, founder and CEO of Universal Companies: We must move from the ‘luxury’ category into the ‘necessity’ category to thrive, and the key to that is prevention. Delegates at last year’s Global Spa Summit identified the preventive health segment as the biggest opportunity for their future business.

STEVE PECK, president of HydroPeptide: The No. 1 trend will be prevention and antiaging! As people look for results, they will find them in the science lines. Clients will still avoid questionable ingredients, but I predict that science will trump the organic leaders of the past.

"If your body is your temple, then the spa is the seminary."

NANCY TRENT, president of Trent & Company: The Baby Boomers who were at the core of the spa boom in recent years are just as concerned about their arteries as they are about their wrinkles. This gradual shift is changing spa’s focus from beauty and fitness to health and wellness. Spas have to become the source for wellness information: If your body is your temple, then the spa is the seminary.

IDO KADMAN, industry consultant: Spa owners should be ready to court Baby Boomers with new programs—such as pain relief, rehabilitation and physical therapy—that cater to their specific needs.

Morenings: The Baby Boomers are more open to a holistic lifestyle than their parents—and they have plenty of disposable income to spend on spa experiences. But Millennials are also likely spa candidates, and since they’ve been trained to look for deals, spas will have to woo them with perks and loyalty programs. Millennials will also use spa more for holistic wellness and stress management than for luxury and pampering. I’m hopeful that the spa client of the future will not be driven to spa by the promise of a 50% discount, but rather to take control of their health.

JAN MARINI, president and CEO of Jan Marini Skin Research: We’re also going to see a continuation of the trend toward results-oriented services. And repeat spa clients aren’t just seeking relaxation and pampering, they also want one-stop shopping. If they can get their Botox, laser hair removal and facial in one location, it’s a major plus.

Peck: The scope of spa clients will broaden to include everyone from teens to Baby Boomers—and if you have the room and the budget to make accommodations for a wide spectrum of people and needs, then do it. But being good at one thing and doing it right will get you a lot further than trying to dabble in a little bit of everything. The biggest demographic with the most dedicated money will still be the antiaging category.

"If you never take risks and are always a follower, you're not likely to achieve extraordinary success."

SONIA BOGHOSIAN, president and CEO of Bio Jouvance: Clients’ personal needs have always fueled the trends, which is why relaxation and antiaging services—as well as services related to beauty and wellness—are the future of our industry.

LINDA NELSON, founder and CEO of M’lis: I believe that the six trends for the spa industry are: 1. Programs that change the client’s lifestyle and health without gender or age boundaries; 2. Education in lifestyle, exercise, stress management; 3. Mentoring; 4. Non-invasive therapies; 5. Trust in the spa environment and therapists; and 6. Natural and organic products.

Kadman: Current growing trends also include snooze areas or sleep pods and cell phone–free zones where clients can unplug and relax. As a spa owner, you should aspire to bring in services before your clients ask for them. If you never take risks and are always a follower, you’re not likely to achieve extraordinary success.

Trent: Here are few trend predictions: 1. Spas will align with physicians to provide much more than just age management, but also diagnosis and treatments for sleep disorders, depression, weight gain and more; 2. Sex will be the new sleep as more day spas take the lead from the Miravals of the world and get involved with people’s sex lives with courses, treatments and products in their retail areas and online stores; 3. Prevention-oriented healthcare will become a necessity for both patients and physicians who are fed up with mainstream medicine, giving way to functional medicine—a discipline that involves a comprehensive assessment of an individual’s genetic predisposition to various chronic diseases. Consumers will turn to their local spas for this kind of insight.

"We must begin to listen to the client’s wallet..."

Nelson: The goal for the future should be to market entire lifestyle programs including nutrients, mentoring, stress reduction therapies, massage, esthetics—and that also includes retail products. We teach our spas that you need to be bringing in more than 50% of your business in retail because that is where you will make your profits.

Marini: In order to meet the demand for high-tech services, spa owners may need to consider partnering with a physician who can provide non-invasive medical procedures and injectables. The medical spa trend is not going to decrease and spa patronage will increase substantially due to a growing and comprehensive array of ‘fix-it’ services.

Peck: The era of the spa/fitness/integrated health center/hospital/spiritual retreat/wellness center/beauty clinic all-in-one locations is on a serious upswing. The ‘pure’ spa is on the decline, while the hybrid spa is busy inventing new services, staying in touch through social media and reacting quickly to trends.

Trent: A couple more predictions: 1. Clients will seek out radical detox regimens—whereby weight loss is viewed as simply an added benefit—focusing on health improvement, chronic disease prevention, and relief from symptoms of fatigue, headaches, insomnia and other health problems; 2.We’ll also move toward the concept of slow healing, along the lines of the slow food movement. As we’re not really designed for fast solutions, if we fix one thing and ignore the rest, we inevitably will not be well. True healing and balance comes from addressing everything holistically, as a combined unit.

Morenings: A client’s wellness journey should start with a spa’s core offering. Proper use of natural elements and mastery of ancient healing techniques will come from a commitment to ongoing education and training. Some treatments the spa-goer of the future will respond to are pain management massage, contrast hydrotherapy and pressure-point aromatherapy.

"I was never one to go for the next fancy gadget or machine."

Trent: Men, children and pets are also going to be in the mix and spas will need to continue to offer services that appeal to secondary spa demographics. I think there will be more ‘business & bonding,’ whereby sending employees and clients to a spa is perceived as more productive, time efficient and cost effective than golf and steak dinners—as will be bringing spa treatments to the workplace.

SKIP WILLIAMS, spa financial development consultant and vice president of Resources & Development: I may not be the right person to ask what the next ‘hot’ treatment will be, but what I can tell you is that past trends within our industry have been driven by the spa owners, consultants, magazines and manufacturers telling us what the next hot thing will be. I cite ‘green’ and ‘wellness’ as examples of what I’m talking about. We may think those are important trends and consumer surveys may also lead you to that opinion, but consumer spending often tells the opposite story. This habit of announcing the next big thing must stop and we must begin to listen to the client’s wallet and announce the ‘hot new service du jour’ only when we have data to support it.

What kinds of services and treatments should day spa owners expand upon? And are there any tired trends that you think should be eliminated?

JANE WURWAND, founder and owner of Dermalogica and The International Dermal Institute: I think they should eliminate anything too fussy, too long, too expensive and likely too difficult to train anyone to do anyway. I’d like to see more express services. Anything like ‘Queen for a Day’ has to go!

Morenings: Spa treatments that are truly therapeutic will win out over ‘frou-frou’ treatments with marketing pizzazz but little substance. And results will win out. In a study by SRI International for the Global Spa Summit, 71% of respondents said they would be more likely to visit a spa if they learned that a series of research studies demonstrated that spa treatments deliver measurable health benefits.

ANGELA CORTRIGHT, founder of Spa Gregorie’s: I think that things like chocolate facials and champagne pedicures are a little frivolous. On the other hand, you have to be able to have fun, but to have an entire menu revolve around champagne or chocolate is a little silly. Certainly more organics and botanicals are another great benefit and spas can do more to enlighten people to the vast healing power of Mother Nature.

Kadman: If you’re concerned about investing money in a trend that hasn’t been proven, conduct a survey among your clients first and ask them if the service or product is something they’d be interested in.

KIMBERLEY COMISKEY, president and owner of Kimberley’s A Day Spa: We haven’t eliminated anything at our spa, but we stay on top of reports regarding what works and doesn’t. We have lovely, glamorous services, but I was never one to go for the next fancy gadget or machine. We need to preserve the integrity of the basics, rather than jump all over every trend.

"The wellness industry is predicted to eclipse the $1 trillion dollar ‘sickness’ industry within the next decade."

Peck: Day spa owners also need to focus on their own expertise because customers are becoming more educated, are asking more questions, and are turned off by a bad response or if they feel you haven’t added anything to their existing knowledge. After all, you are the expert.

Boghosian: For younger clients, spas should shorten service times and bring in products with less fuss, more results. For middle-aged and more mature clients, skin lifting and nourishing treatments as well as antiaging treatments should be offered at various prices, so it can be affordable to middle class and upper-class clients.

Wurwand: We certainly have to look at pricing. Quite honestly, the other day I was looking at a spa menu with an hour-and-a-half service for $285. Who’s taking that? I think that’s really done. With the success of the deal sites, you can see that people are looking for value, which doesn’t necessarily mean bargain or cheap, but they want value for their money. I don’t necessarily support Groupon, but what it has demonstrated is the enormous appeal and demand for spa services.

Marini: Clients also want home-care products that have some type of proven medical validation. These spa-goers will look for clinical data that demonstrates results for adult acne, rosacea, discoloration, and lines and wrinkles. They know that just because a product is expensive, it doesn’t mean that it works. Spa owners will need to be knowledgeable in order to assist their clients in sifting through all the choices and rhetoric.

Comiskey: People want something that gives them immediate results. They want the facial that they can see has removed age spots, fine lines and wrinkles. It’s like waxing. They want it that immediate. Any trend that’s ‘here today and gone tomorrow,’ which a lot of spas tend to leech onto, is not viable for the long term. At our spa, we have a stable menu of services and clients appreciate that.

Nelson: Americans are embracing the idea that regular visits to trained estheticians, massage therapists and lifestyle mentors in spas is essential to good health. The wellness industry is predicted to eclipse the $1 trillion dollar ‘sickness’ industry within the next decade and spas that are marketing the concept that ‘inner health reflects outer beauty’ are the most profitable spas in the country.

Morenings: According to ISPA research, only one in four Americans has had a spa treatment. There’s a huge opportunity to attract a new generation of spa-goers if we maintain quality levels and commit to results-oriented therapies. It is imperative to communicate the benefits of spa treatments to your clients and prospects. Deliver the results. Communicate the benefits. It’s as simple—and as complicated—as that! •