SPA MARKETING: Mothers Day vs. Father's Day

When it comes to Mother’s Day and Father’s Day promotions, there is no favorite parent. Learn to execute seamless marketing plans that will perform double-duty for both holidays.

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Every spa professional knows that Mother’s Day is second only to December’s festivities when it comes to gift card sales, and followed, of course, by Valentine’s Day. But what about Father’s Day? Although not an obvious contender for top revenue-generating occasions, the holiday—and the male market to which it caters—is not to be ignored. In fact, according to the International Spa Association, men now comprise 30% of spa-goers nationwide, and are quickly transforming the spa world into gender-neutral territory. With the imminence of both Mother’s and Father’s Days, the question remains: How does a spa owner plan for the “mother” of all spa holidays and the male-centric underdog? DAYSPA talked to seasoned experts about ways to streamline marketing efforts to optimally serve both holidays, without straining your resources. Here are their seven simple tips:

1. Plan simultaneously.

“Set up your promotions at the same time, so you know what you’ll be offering for both holidays well before you need to start marketing or advertising for them,” advises Felicia Brown, owner of spa marketing outfit Spalutions. “This will not only spare you the unnecessary stress of last-minute planning, but may also help you save money on ad designs and supply purchases.”

As many treatments speak more loudly to women than to men (facials, body wraps and manis/pedis)—and vice versa (sports massage, for instance)—the natural choice would be to promote specific treatments during their respective holiday months. However, keep in mind that some offerings, such as gift cards, and Swedish or deep-tissue massage, work well for both groups. And, promoting these services for both parents stands to work to your advantage.

“If you are planning to offer special treatments for the two holidays, see if you can utilize the same product(s) for Mom and Dad, while designing treatments that appeal to both male and female spa-goers,” says Brown. For instance, try recycling oils and treatment room fragrance from Mom’s “Lemon Meringue Mani/Pedi” to create a “Citrus Sports Massage” for Dad.

Name changes like the one above can work wonders and save valuable training and marketing time. The “New York Minute” facial protocol you create for busy moms, for instance, can easily be spun as Dad’s “Wall Street Express.”“This way, links and/or details in your marketing collateral can remain, requiring just a simple change in the title,” points out Ron Kustek, owner of Los Angeles’ Le Petite Retreat Day Spa.
Quick tip: For your treatment rooms, order gender-neutral scents and oils such as green tea, sandalwood and eucalyptus, which will please both male and female sensibilities throughout May and June.

2. Divvy your marketing dollars wisely.

Because Mother’s Day is the more historically popular holiday for gift card and certificate sales, one might argue that more marketing and advertising dollars should support your spa’s celebration of the fairer sex. That’s how most of the spa pros we spoke with saw it, anyway. But, as Brown points out, this all depends on your spa’s unique goals. “If you’re more interested in reaching a new market and increasing revenues through loyalty,” she says, “then Father’s Day is where you should spend more.”

Based on analysis of past years’ performance, Kustek has found that Mother’s Day presents a more worthwhile opportunity for investment. “85% of our spa’s spring holiday marketing resources support Mother’s Day, and 15% Father’s Day,” he reports.

Consider your own spa’s goals and target clientele before arriving at your marketing investment breakdown. You should also study recent years’ financial reports.

3. Keep it simple.

You don’t always have to reinvent the wheel when launching a promotion, especially if money’s tight. Tamara Friedman, owner of Tamara Spa + Wellness in Farmington Hills, Michigan, has found that one central theme beautifully serves both occasions: a general celebration of gender. “We always dedicate the entire month of May to women, focusing on female health and beauty,” she says. “It is the start of warm weather, so we promote our upcoming summer treatments, encouraging guests to get themselves sandal- and bikini-ready. We also offer a lot of packages for female friends and mother/daughter duos. Our most popular package is a “four generation” specialty targeting Great-Grandma, Grandma, Mom and Granddaughters. Our mother/daughter Spa Champagne Treat [4 hrs./$450 for 2 guests] package is also very popular.”

That same messaging applies in June, but for men. “We advertise popular men’s treatments such as massage, sports pedicures and laser hair removal, to prepare male clients for summer,” explains Friedman. “We also focus on men’s skin care and advertise specific packages they can enjoy with their significant other or kids.”

With such a broad promotion, the spa is highlighting services it already offers, and doesn’t have to worry about much else besides color-coding its marketing collateral.

4. Use equal-opportunity messaging.

When devising Mother’s Day and Father’s Day marketing strategies, it’s important to acknowledge right- and left-brain mentalities—and cater to both. “Women are usually better at planning in advance, so you want to be sure they know well ahead of time what will be available for a holiday,” says Brown. “Men, however, are often last-minute shoppers, so it is vital to offer online options for purchases, and perhaps even special conveniences such as reminder calls, delivery services or late hours that accommodate their schedules.”

As always, ongoing marketing efforts should include in-spa signage, recorded phone messages and email signatures, e-newsletters and social media promotions. Be sure you have procedures in place that link all of these efforts to keep your messaging consistent and efficient. “Never expect just one arm of your marketing strategy to be enough to get the word out about any promotion or special offer,” Brown reminds.
5Couple up. Another avenue to explore is couples packages, which make for great gifts from significant others (for both holidays), or from children looking to spoil their parents. They’re well worth promoting, big-time, and for both holidays.

“A lot of our male clients had never tried massage until they visited with their wives,” says Bruce Schoenberg, president of Oasis Day Spas, with multiple locations in New York. “So for Father’s Day, we tell women, ‘Treat your man to a massage or a day of relaxation—the two of you can enjoy it together.’ ”

Along the same lines, both holidays are great occasions to promote “tag-a-long services,” which bring new meaning to the term “add-on treatments.” Brown explains, “When Dad comes in to book some Mother’s Day pampering for his wife, offer to schedule him a sports massage or men’s facial to enjoy when he drops her off. And, for those who forgot Mom this year, promote some ‘tag-a-long’ services for women around Father’s Day.”

6. Neutralize the extras.

Many spas like to send women home with flowers for Mother’s Day, but Kustek has found a cost-saving compromise. “Giveaways in the form of chocolate appeal to both men and women,” he points out. Half-flutes of Champagne work well, too.

7. Alert the media.

Once you have your Mother’s/Father’s Day marketing plans in place, start spreading the news, ASAP. Schoenberg suggests focusing in on one common message for a streamlined media campaign. “In this year’s case, it’s the idea of showing appreciation to the mom or dad in your life, and how the spa is the ideal vehicle for expressing that appreciation,” he explains.

Remember to alert the media two to three months before your promotions launch, to accommodate longer lead times. Schoenberg suggests connecting with online service HARO (Help a Reporter Out) as a means tracking down media outlets that might be interested in covering your spa’s promotions. Through this free platform, media members post requests for specific sources needed for articles on which they are working. Be sure to check the “Lifestyle” section for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day leads!

Whatever you do, don’t let the second-quarter holidays pit your spa in a battle of the sexes. Adopt a dual approach, and you’ll always remain Mom’s and Dad’s favorite!

Carrie Borzillo is a freelance journalist and author based in Los Angeles.