In Season: Top tips for creating services based on the changing calendar.
Seasons don’t just signal a change in the weather; they also give us something to look forward to, whether it’s pumpkin-flavored treats in the fall or lazy pool days during summer. Offering spa treatments based on the time of year can have the same effect. “Developing fresh, well-executed additions to your menu creates excitement for your regular guests while providing unique options to new clients,” says Cindy Boody, spa director of Aquaterra Spa at Surf & Sand Resort in Laguna Beach, California. What’s more, crafting seasonal services allows you to experiment with new products and protocols without having to add them permanently. Following is a no-fail guide to getting started, along with expert insights for enhancing client satisfaction and boosting your bottom line.
A seasonal menu isn’t something you can throw together overnight. Most spa owners recommend planning such services at least three to six months in advance. “First, decide whether you want to offer a single treatment, an entire series, or a constant rotation throughout the year. Then determine how often these services should change,” suggests Mason Hickman, director of education and product development at Hiatus Spa + Retreat, with several locations in Texas. “Once you’ve settled on the frequency, you can home in on specific ingredients, product lines and protocols.”
It can feel daunting at first, so keep things simple—especially in the beginning. “Avoid investing a ton of money or time into something before knowing how clients will react,” stresses Jesse Tyler, spa director of The Spa at Omni Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. “Instead, look for products that allow you to react quickly based on their responses.”
Luckily, finding inspiration will be easy, whether you look to seasonal favorites, client preferences or vendor offerings. Don’t rely too heavily on fleeting trends, and instead consider your spa’s unique culture. “Your protocols should always address the type of message you want to send to guests,” says Hickman. So, focus on developing treatments that feel authentic to your spa and clientele in order to deliver a bespoke, memorable experience. “We’re built upon the premise of bringing the outdoors in, so we seek services and ingredients that highlight the power of nature,” says Tyler, adding that she likes to keep things fresh and innovative: “Our menu is based on wellness and results. Incorporating peppermint into a pedicure is nothing new, but we’ve discovered that using organic peppermint essential oil
with heat creates a tactile experience unlike any other.”
Don’t be afraid to get creative and think outside the box. “I love to travel,” says Hickman. “After a trip to Italy, I created a monthly service called Tuscan Sun, which features a Vichy shower treatment containing a blend of cypress, blood orange and wisteria essential oils—all inspired by the blooming wisteria and afternoon aperol spritzes I enjoyed during that vacation.”
Get your staff involved in the process, too. “Whenever we’re looking to change our seasonal blends, we always ask for the team’s feedback first,” notes Phoenix Wiggins, assistant director of August Moon Spa in Ithaca, New York. “Since they’ll be the ones using the products every day, it’s important that they love them as much as the clients do!”
The Right Stuff
Treatments should target guests’ needs using products that speak to each season. “We like to focus on what the skin and body need during a particular time of year. Each ingredient plays an important role, so it’s essential to understand their benefits,” says Boody. “For example, ingredients like lemon juice, pumpkin puree and grapefruit essential oil are best in a scrub thanks to their exfoliating properties.”
In fact, the scents and skin-related problems most commonly associated with each season are the best place to start. For fall, Boody recommends offering reparative body treatments that hydrate and brighten post-summer skin. “Look for anything with pumpkin to exfoliate,” she suggests. “Plus, persimmon and ginger are a unique blend that embodies fall’s warm and cozy aromas.” Indeed, Aquaterra’s most recent autumnal package boasts an invigorating persimmon and ginger body exfoliation, a vanilla and cinnamon oil massage, a cardamom shea butter wrap, and a scalp massage with warm oil—all of which appeal to the senses while tackling clients’ main problem areas.
In winter, Hickman recommends using practical ingredients that are a departure from typical holiday scents. Some of his favorites? “Winter savory, oakmoss and galbanum create a different yet comforting aroma that imparts a warm, woodsy effect,” he says. Not only does this powerhouse combo trigger nostalgic holiday feelings, each ingredient also plays a significant role in treating common wintertime issues. “Oakmoss helps maintain skin’s oil balance, while galbanum has antimicrobial properties and can heal abrasions,” explains Hickman. Tyler notes that winter treatments can also address other complexion needs, such as congestion and healthy cell function. “We’ve offered a body treatment featuring dry brush exfoliation and a castor oil wrap—a combination that stimulates lymph and liver function, helps the body naturally detox and improves immunity, all while smoothing and softening skin,” she explains.
Come spring, Tyler recommends revitalizing lackluster skin with detoxifying mud masks and pedicure services boasting fresh citrus and floral notes. “We’ll also be launching a service that combines a back facial with a brightening face treatment to prepare clients for warmer temperatures and lighter spring attire,” she adds.
Finally, summer services should be refreshing and focus on sun protection, as well as delivering a radiant glow via extra hydration. “Our most recent summer offerings featured a watermelon and lime full-body exfoliation with a hydrating coconut oil wrap and mini scalp massage,” enthuses Boody. “Sun exposure, saltwater and traveling tend to wreak havoc on the skin, so guests loved the extra TLC. Plus, they enjoyed the fruity scents!”
Spreading the Word
Because seasonal services are temporary by nature, it’s best to kick-start your marketing efforts early, as well. “If your average guest comes in about once a month, then you should announce your services at least two months in advance, although spas that see regulars more frequently can get away with a shorter timeline,” says Hickman.
Equip your front desk staff with promotional signage and flyers to help them get the word out to current clients—and make sure employees test out the new treatments, too. “That way, they’ll be more likely to encourage guests to give them a try,” explains Kash Wiggins, director of August Moon Spa.
As always, an effective social media campaign is crucial. “Invite editors and writers from local publications, as well as lifestyle bloggers and influencers to experience the offerings firsthand,” suggests Hickman. You should also create different types of Instagram and Facebook posts (i.e., stories, live feeds and still photos) to captivate clients and encourage them to use and follow hashtags associated with the services. “For Instagram, our most successful posts are inspirational quotes or photos of something in nature that embodies the season, such as fall leaves, a flowing waterfall or a tranquil hiking trail,” notes Kash Wiggins.
Above all, the key is to remain authentic. “Given that seasonal services typically run for a short period of time, you have more of an opportunity to get creative,” says Boody. “Enjoy the process and have fun tying in all of the details to create a truly unique experience!”
This story first appeared in the January 2020 issue of DAYSPA Magazine. To receive the magazine, subscribe here.