1. Offer something new
The first step is to identify gaps in your current treatment menu. Suites’ core product houses are Decléor and Carita, and spa manager Dee England started by looking at which treatments these brands didn’t offer. “I knew I wanted a good body and face exfoliation; Decléor does one and it’s beautiful, but it’s part of another treatment rather than a treatment in itself”, she says. “I wanted a thorough sugar or salt scrub and a good back treatment.”
One of the spa’s most popular signature treatments is called I’ll Be Back and incorporates elements that featured separately in various existing treatments. The spa took deep cleansing, hot-cloth toning, exfoliation, deep-tissue massage, acupressure and a treatment masque and focused it all on the back for a unique treatment.
2. Ask clients for feedback
“We sent out a survey to find out what clients’ favourite treatments were and if there was anything they thought we were missing”, says England. “Again, a standalone exfoliation treatment was one of the main things they said, because you expect to find that in a spa.”
England notes that she waited until the spa was established enough to gauge client demand before investing in creating its own treatments.
“We’re coming up to our third birthday now and the first two years were largely trial and error with treatments. We’ve found that massage, exfoliation, body brushing and detox elements are popular, so we know where we can go with treatments.”
3. Get the team involved
England’s main piece of advice is to get therapists involved in the process from the start. Not only will it let them know their expertise is valued, but it’ll give you an important insight, especially if, like England, you don’t perform treatments yourself. “I got the therapists involved to find out what they thought was lacking”, she says. “If you get them interested by asking their advice it’s going to pay off. I want them to enjoy it and get excited so they deliver an excellent treatment.”
Each of the signature treatments incorporates an idea offered up by one of the team members. For example, there is a massage movement, which is named Ellen after the therapist who suggested it. “Everyone’s got their own little piece of the treatments and they’ve all experienced and performed every one of them”, says England. “I even got the spa host and spa assistant involved because then they can sell and promote the menu and really know what each involves.”
4. Find the right product house
Bringing in a new product house for use purely in your signature treatments is one way to set them further apart from the rest of your offer. “I started looking for a product house that would let me showcase the treatments rather than the products”, explains England.
She eventually settled on Natural Spa Factory. “We’ve got aromatherapy with Decléor and a super-luxe brand in Carita, so I wanted something that was different. I liked that The Natural Spa Factory isn’t as well known, because I didn’t want the brand taking over the treatment”, she says.
Opting for a brand that doesn’t have its own protocols will allow you more freedom to put your own stamp on the treatments. “There are no treatments attached to The Natural Spa Factory so there aren’t any restrictions”, says England. “I liked that we weren’t going to be told what we could and couldn’t do with it. We were left to our own devices, which made creating the treatments even more fun.”
When it comes to choosing a product house, England’s advice is to “get lots of people involved; go to trade shows to see what’s out there and talk to different product houses, and, finally, don’t let your core product houses try to talk you out of it.”
5. Streamline your menu
Once you’ve got your collection of treatments ready to go, focus on streamlining your menu to make sure they stand out. “We condensed our menu to concentrate on the core treatments we know people enjoy. In our first brochure, when we were still finding out what clients wanted, we had every Decléor and Carita treatment, and some were a bit repetitive of one another”, says England.
Now onto its third brochure with the full collection of signature treatments, the spa wanted to make sure they shone through. “We’re still fairly new in the spa world so we’re trying to attract different types of people in from different areas. The signature treatments mean no one else offers what we do, so hopefully people will travel further”, she adds.
6. Make it bespoke
“People are looking for something that feels like it was created for them”, says England. Alongside the treatments, the spa has developed a menu of “spa side orders”, 25-minute add-ons for £25 each, including a scalp massage and foot ritual that can be added to any 55-minute treatment. “It’s nice to give clients a little something extra and more option to tweak the treatment and make it exactly what they want; the cost doesn’t go up too much”, she says.
The spa is now looking at taking this a step further and creating smoothies that link to each signature treatment, blending the key ingredients from the products used to provide a total experience for clients. PB