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Archive for June 2014

Some things are evolving and some things stand still…

We all travel on the motorway and stop off to have a sandwich or pasty with a coffee, or pop by the fast food ‘joint’.  We’ve all accepted this as the norm, and as a stop gap to something better – by why?

I’ve just had the most amazing shopping experience at Gloucester service station, where they are doing things differently!

It’s eating as if I’m sitting in a trendy cafe in Notting Hill – I’ve  bought dinner with the most outstanding local fresh produce, all from the Gloucester services on the M5.

It’s just great for someone to stop, think honestly about what their customers want, and not accept what everybody else is doing.  Instead they are using the space to the customer’s advantage.

I think it’s probably a step too far to take the wife for dinner , but it’s always good to have it up your sleeve!

So, how does this apply to spa retail?

Ever feel like your pushing water up the hill? The management and commission systems have not changes for donkey’s years and the space is a few shelves with spot lighting is the same place in nearly all spas.  It could be that the typical product houses net margins are so poor that spas don’t really see this as time well spent.

If you look at Gloucester services, it’s really inviting – you want to go in and spend money. You have the choice to spend a small amount or even do your weekly shop. You’ve got choice and that’s a major issue for spa retail – lack of choice.

Why not sell chocolate bars, we all eat them and love them? Clothes, books, magazines – you need to have something the for ‘guilt’ purchase. What about your till teaser? The Natural Spa factory have some great ideas with this from face mask to massage candles.

If you fancy a chat about how you can make the most of your space, get in touch.

How things are changing…

10 years ago we didn’t fully understand what a Spa was and how to utilise the space that was given to it. How things have changed!

We’re having some really fascinating conversations with Hotel Owners and General Managers about the contribution of ‘Spas’ and what they can bring to the hotel.  Years ago, the word ‘Spa’ would appear on the bottom of the P&L under leisure or other income,  and generally only get about 2 minutes in the ‘lime light’ of the management meeting.

However, in some cases Spas are now bringing in more profit than food and beverage, and more than conferencing.

The Spas that we are talking to bring in between 46-50% operating profit to the hotel, plus the increase in hotel room occupancy of 7-15%, annualised or an increase in room yield of £3-£10.

So, the Spa has really found it’s place within the hotel industry and, as General Managers start to embrace the business of Spas and selling the space just like hotel rooms, we will only see revenue grow.

You still need to look at margins and how to make the Spa stand out and sell more treatments a the right price. This comes from independence, just like your hotel restaurant, you’re not a chain and don’t have the same menu as the hotel down the road, so why does your Spa? It’s time to let the Spa Managers do exactly that – manage.

Just like your Head Chef changes the food menu every season, so should your Spa. Does your Head Chef go to his suppliers for training or food ideas? I hope not! So why is your Spa Manager following the formulaic guidance of the Product House? Its time for you to come up with treatments that are right for you and your customers, and that sell and give you back the margins that work for you. Freedom is what’s required from the typical Product Houses. That’s why we use the Natural Spa Factory  for all our products.

I’m always happy to chat on the subject of Spas, so please feel free to contact me.

Top Tips… on Designing a Spa

  • Understand what your brand is and who you are.
  • Visualise your facility in 3 images.  Are they attractive?  If yes, these will be your marketing shots and should sum up your business without words.
  • Understand your Revenue Centres and the costs each will need to run them.
  • Ensure the spa space will entertain your clientele for 5 hours or more.
  • Design v Cost – make sure you have budget for your vision.

Contact me for more information

Top Tips… on selling your products as retail

  • Design your retail area – your customers are buying the experience as well as the product.
  • Full shelves are more attractive than empty ones.  Fill them from the front a maximum of two deep.
  • Leave a tester pot on the side, with some tester sticks, customers love to try beforehand.
  • Buy in multiples of 3.  It looks like you are offering more.
  • You will need POS material – perhaps with your brand on it – it attracts attention.
  • Put small items such as massage candles, or face packs at the till as inexpensive, little add ons.