For (Young) Adults Only

The Bliss Spa chain’s welcoming message to 20-somethings rings loud and clear in the spas’ interior design, retail areas and fun, youth-inspired attitude.

Myth #2: Young people are always broke. Certainly our economy has been in better shape. But just as it’s always been a rough adjustment for young adults to start their new, independent lives, reveling in that independence has been a priority for them. What disposable income they have they want to spend on themselves. Investing in spa services is less of a luxury for them and more a rite of passage.

“Regardless of all of the comments about student loans and a difficult job market, younger guests seem to have more disposable income that they are able to spend on themselves,” Kerschbaumer says. “In our experience, younger spa-goers are just as, if not more, interested in looking good, living healthy and generally taking care of themselves.”

Best strategy: Appreciate the unique financial mobility of the 20-something. 18-to-24-year olds are mostly single, and they do not yet have a mortgage or the expenses an older guest may have. “This allows them to spend more time and more money on themselves,” Kerschbaumer says. “So if properly approached and invited, young guests can actually visit more often and spend more per visit than older ones who have exponentially more going on in their lives.”

Even those young people who don’t have a lot of their own spending money are worth getting into your spa. As King notes, “They may come in the first time with a coupon, but if you provide them with quality treatments that show results, they come back.”

Instant Messaging

The minute you walk into a Bliss Spa, you know you’re somewhere cool. The reception and retail area is lit and arranged like a candy store. Locker/relaxation areas are appointed with modern, hip décor, plenty of magazines and snacks such as crudités and brownie bites. Sipping cucumber-blueberry water as you await your appointment, you notice that Radiohead is playing softly on the speakers. The receptionist offers you a lollipop.

Bliss Spas have built a reputation for being hip, light-hearted and fashionable. The flagship spa opened in New York City in 1996 with a clear mission: fun. It developed a marketing mascot (a perky blonde cartoon character with a twinkle in her eye), a distinct signature color (almost-Tiffany turquoise) and a language and tone that are relatable to the young spa-goer. “Bliss infuses happiness into everything we do,” says Brooke Temner, Bliss’ senior communications manager. “From our pretention-free attitude to our upbeat music, our spas are designed to be fun, positive environments that leave guests uplifted, glowing and empowered to take on the world.”

When it comes to skin care, however, Bliss is no-nonsense. The chain (now with 21 locations worldwide) hires highly skilled professionals and ongoing training is required. It has become known for its results-oriented treatments as much as its youth-oriented image, and the dual strategy works: While Bliss does invest in targeted marketing, its brand has grown almost entirely by word of mouth, Temner says.

You, too, can start building your roster of “generation next-ers” by implementing five specific steps across your business. You can be subtle or aggressive in your changes, depending on what works best for your day spa.