Party Favors

At first, Britney Simpson wasn't too excited about hosting yet another event at Seasons Spa and Salon in Perry, Georgia, when staff started planning a "Black Friday Recovery Party" last November. "We've had some parties flop," says the spa manager. However, by implementing novel marketing strategies suggested by the gurus from The Ultimate Spa Marketing System, Seasons' staff enjoyed record attendance, and more importantly, record sales.

"People were lining up outside 30 minutes before our doors even opened," Simpson says. "Not only did loyal clients show up in droves, but they brought along friends and colleagues. We even reunited with former clients with whom we'd lost touch over the years. They booked appointments, and now they're back."

Not only did Seasons break prior sales records, but the spa continued on to enjoy the most lucrative December since its opening. So what was so different about their marketing tactics that resulted in such a smashing success?

First, they capitalized on clients' shopping spirit—the event was held on the Saturday following Black Friday. Their intentions were twofold: allow guests to unwind and treat themselves after the busines and most stressful shopping day of the year, and also get in on the deal-seeking frenzy that defines post-Thanksgiving consumer behavior.

Guests were treated to complimentary chair massages, express manicures, conditioning hair services, collagen eye treatments and makeup applications. In between mini-treatments, they feasted on pizza and hors d’oeuvres donated from a local restaurant, as well as hot cocoa and coffee. The first 200 arrivals received gift bags containing $200 worth of coupons for spa services. Party guests had only one day to book mini-treatments, in order to keep spaces available and better accommodate walk-ins.

“All were gift certificates for a dollar-based discount off of signature treatments, in an effort to get people to try new services,” Simpson says. “We also encouraged guests to book and pre-pay for three future full-length services, and receive a fourth completely free.”

But as they'd discovered in the past, even the most elaborate events will flop if clients don't know about them. To devise a marketing campaign that stood out to people, Seasons worked with The Ultimate Spa Marketing System to implement a multi-step, multi-media campaign. Ultimately, the campaign cost them less than $75.

"Where most spas fall short with events is in not using enough platforms to get the word out," explains Barry Nicholson, president of the The Ultimate Spa Marketing System. "For instance, some will only use email. That's a huge mistake, because with email open rates and deliverability rates dropping by the day, relying on this outreach tool alone is a recipe for failure."

So they worked with Seasons to create a special landing web page that described the party in detail. Then they directed traffic to the site via multiple emails sent throughout the month preceding the party, an online newsletter and daily Facebook posts. But that's not all.

“We launched a ‘1000 Voice Broadcast’,” Simpson explains, “in which our owner recorded a personal invitation to the party. It was relayed to our clients’ home phone numbers.” Staff had some initial reservations about this tactic. “We were afraid of sounding like telemarketers, so we stuck to calling people who know her personally,” Simpson says.

Something must’ve clicked, because not only did loyal clients show up in droves, but they brought friends and colleagues. “A couple of regular guests stopped in on their break and said their whole workplace was buzzing about it,” Simpson says. Although they dispatched only 1000 voice broadcasts, there were an additional 2000 client phone numbers they opted not to try. Who knows what the party turnout would have been like had they called the whole list?

Either way, at the end of the day, Seasons capitalized on residual Black Friday energy, and also relieved its clients of it. "We're most definitely doing this one again next year, only it'll be bigger and longer," Simpson says.

Does your facility organize events around post-holiday stress relief? Tell us about it at koreilly@creativeage.comKatie O’Reilly

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