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Day Spa 101

When most clubs decide to add a spa they don't add on additional space to accommodate the facility. Instead, they target dead space and remodel. While it may seem obvious how to go about doing your remodel, the change in floor plan can be tricky. Your rooms must be in a tranquil portion of your otherwise loud club. Rooms should be at least 8 × 10 and no larger than 12 × 12. Every room should have a sink. Rooms are most useful when they are multipurpose. Consequently, consider purchasing massage tables with backs that can be propped up to double as facial tables. Consider having two rooms adjoining with French doors for couples services. Skylights, natural lighting and windows are all good but there must be the option for dimmed to dark lighting and privacy. Splurge and put a wax pot in every room. It only takes four to five eyebrow-waxing sessions to pay for the pot.


You don't have to get crazy or elaborate with your services. Every menu should include the classics like a European facial, massage and basic waxing. Nails are optional and if offered should be high-end nail services like a spa pedicure with foot mask, massage, exfoliation and footbath. Basic nail services are competitive and tend not to be profitable. Wet therapies are optional. If you decide to offer a Vichy shower or other type of wet room-based treatment, be smart and tie it into your pool or whirlpool. Don't have that room be separate from the rest of your spa. Remember, Americans aren't gung ho for wet treatments so be prepared to market hydrotherapy baths, showers and the like.

Depending on the size of your spa build out it is acceptable to keep your menu relatively simple. One way to be flexible with your treatment options is to have a basic classic menu with a few signature treatments with a seasonal “specials” insert. If you choose this route, really think about what each member would like to receive during that part of the year. For instance, bikini waxing and pedicures are popular in the spring; massage in the fall and winter and make up during the holidays.


If you aren't currently selling retail to any great extent you need to focus on a retail revolution in your facility. Retail is free money. Retail produces members who are more loyal. Retail is absolutely a must.

With spa offerings retail is typically skin care; make up, gifts, nutritional aids, relaxation accessories and memories of the spa like robes, music, slippers and eye pads. Opting for at least one private label line (a signature line with your facility's name and logo) makes a lot of sense for many reasons.

Private label lines produce brand loyalty. Private labels also have much more of a margin for profit. No matter what lines you choose to carry have them available in your locker rooms for members to experience. Making the retail sale is all about getting products on your members. Additionally, create inviting retail displays that are visual, entertaining and that offer samples and testers.

Even if you can only devote a couple of rooms to the new spa venture, do it right the first time. Commit seasoned staff members to work on the various aspects of spa development and turn to experts for advice. Tearing down walls, experiencing wet room floods and discontinuing lines are not projects that you want to engage in…trust me.

Melinda Minton is a spa consultant and health and beauty expert living in Fort Collins, CO. She is the founder of The Spa Association, which is dedicated to enriching the professional beauty industry through self-regulation, education and sound business practices.

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