How to Start a Luxury Day Spa

Starting a Luxury Day Spa

If you dream of operating your own luxury day spa, now is the perfect time to get started. According to Lynne McNees, president of the International Spa Association, the spa industry is (nearly) recession-proof.

In tough times, the need for stress relief increases. Millions of people turn to spas to help them disconnect and recharge. During the 2008 recession, the U.S. spa industry recorded over 160 million visits, a 16 percent increase from the previous year, with total revenues of $12.8 billion. By 2013, annual spa visits had increased to 164 million, with total revenues of $14.7 billion.

What’s more impressive is that the spa industry is mainly comprised of individually owned spas, with no dominant chain spas.

1. Creating a Business Plan

Running a spa involves more than just being a skilled practitioner. You need a solid business plan to identify costs and create a roadmap. Key decisions include:

Determine your services and income goals

Offer at least two of the following services: massage, skin care, or body treatments. Carefully selecting services will help differentiate your spa from competitors.

Types of Spa Services

Services offered generally fall into three categories: skin and body care, hair removal, and makeup.

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Skin and Body Care Services:

  • Facials, body exfoliation, massages, wraps, hydrotherapy, body tanning

Hair Removal Services:

  • Electrolysis, waxing

Makeup Services:

  • Cosmetics application, color analysis, eyelash and eyebrow tinting, eyelash extensions, ear piercing

Consider necessary equipment

Assess costs and potential profit for each service. Limit initial services until your spa reaches specific milestones.

Decide on your target audience

Consider targeting men and couples in addition to women. Tailor services to appeal to corporate clients for events.

Decide on operating hours

Open earlier and stay open later to accommodate busy schedules. Offer express treatments of 30 minutes or less.

Determine your product offerings

Offer high-quality products that align with your spa’s image.

Hire and provide training

Identify the staff you need and provide ongoing training to ensure excellent service.

Create marketing strategies

Implement tactics to attract new and recurring customers such as an SEO-friendly website, specials, and regular communication with preferred clients.

2. Choosing a Great Location

Choose a location that is easily accessible and attracts foot traffic. Surrounding area should be safe and contain retail businesses.

Determine the amount of space you need for various functions and consult with an interior designer or architect to plan the layout.

3. Financing

Consider family, friends, personal loans, or Small Business Administration loans to raise capital for your spa.

4. Creating a Great User Experience

Pay attention to details that enhance customer experience, both online and offline. Some tips include:

Select an attractive location. Design an appealing website that allows easy service exploration and appointment booking. Arrange merchandising to boost sales. Provide lockers with ample space. Soundproof treatment rooms. Invest in comfortable equipment. Set the right mood with adjustable lighting and music.

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5. Training and Retaining Staff

Implement ongoing training to ensure consistent quality of service. Consider administrative roles to assist with various tasks.

Use the provided resources to learn more about starting a luxury day spa.

International Spa Association: Represents the spa industry worldwide

SpaFinder Wellness: Offers resources for the wellness industry

DAYSPA Magazine: Focuses on the day spa industry, providing insights and news

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