Angela Cortright, principal at Spa Gregorie’s, has always believed that a spa needs to offer more than pampering—it should promote balance, wellness, healthy living and proper lifestyle choices to help clients live better long after they’ve left the spa. That’s why eight years ago she launched the day spa’s Wellness Rocks! program, an initiative that incorporates everything from yoga on the beach outings to nutrition seminars to tips and videos on the spa’s website. “A spa might be someone’s first portal into a healthier lifestyle; concepts such as nutrition or meditation might not be on her radar until she goes into a spa,” says Cortright. “Therefore, it’s our obligation as spa owners to introduce healthy options.”
The spa frequently partners with other professionals and businesses, such as yoga teachers/studios, juice bars, nutritionists and fitness centers, to present a wealth of education and experiences to participants. Efforts can be online- or location-based, and have included videos on super-foods; a blog series on lifestyle choices for acne sufferers; special offers from partnering companies; kayaking excursions on the bay; and classes on detoxification. The onsite events are promoted in the spa and through newsletters, advertisements and social media, and guests are charged a nominal $10 fee to help defray costs. Though Cortright admits the events do not constitute a profit center, they do wonders for community relations and provide great PR in the form of TV spots and articles devoted to the spa’s efforts. Staff members are encouraged to participate—and often do, since the exposure also helps them promote their own services and build clientele. Though the events aren’t held on any preset schedule, the spa offers six to eight Wellness Rocks! events per year.
For day spa owners looking to enact a similar program, Cortright advises due diligence: Conduct a background check and ensure that community partners hold the same values. Also keep in mind that these programs appeal to all ages; Cortright says that most participants are 35 and older, but she’s also amazed by her younger guests’ knowledge and interest in self-care. “A program like this is a creative way to promote yourself and separate yourself from the competition by showing that you go beyond just body services,” she notes. “Most importantly, it’s a form of community service; you’re improving the health of the entire community.”