Wespend so much time searching for new ways to bring money into the spa or salon, it can be easy to overlook the things that cost more than they need to. Liz Holmes, owner of consultancy Commercial Spa Strategies and former spa director at Rockliffe Hall in County Durham, shares four common mistakes spas make and, more importantly, how you can ix them to start saving money.
1. Not having a set of values
“What I see a lot in the industry is businesses that are not really clear about their purpose,” says Holmes. “Millennials in particular now want to have a relatable brand experience. So, when beauty salons and spas set up, it’s really important to have a set of values that people can relate to. Once that underpins your story, suddenly everything you do becomes more authentic and, in my experience, can drive a higher price point.”
2. Lack of clarity in your strategy
“Most spas spend at least half of their income on payroll,” says Holmes. “As an industry, we are so good at supporting one another because, as therapists, we’re all about empathy, but I’ve come across a lot of examples of people not providing enough challenge to their teams. A balance between challenge and support is really important.
“If half your income is spent on payroll, let’s make sure that delivers. Have clear objectives, be open with your financial targets, and ensure when each therapist turns up for work they’re clear about what’s expected of them during that day; whether it’s driving client retention, rebooking or retail.”
3. Poor retail focus
“The industry average still sits at around 10% retail-totreatment revenue ratio and that’s fairly poor,” says Holmes. “We don’t focus enough on merchandising, promotions, window displays, and changing themes in the same way the high street does.
“Spas and salons need to think of themselves as high-street retailers and use some of the ideas they provide, rather than restrict ourselves just to selling skincare. Anything that’s spa lifestylerelated is something that could be on our shelves, and actually a lot of those products come with much better profitability.”
4. Not having a clear USP
“When I’m putting together a business plan for a spa, I’m often asked to do a competitor analysis – what are other spas charging? – and that’s fine, but if you really want to have a business with a point of difference, don’t just look at what other people are doing,” advises Holmes.
“Get really clear on what your unique selling point is. You could potentially be £20 more expensive for a 60-minute treatment, providing the value is there and your target audience is right. As soon as we start to think like that we start to drive our business for success.”
Liz Holmes is director of consultancy Commercial Spa Strategies and has more than 15 years’ experience in the spa and wellness sector, having previously held senior roles including spa director at Rockliffe Hall, County Durham, and national health and beauty manager at Virgin Active. Watch her video on how to cut costs at professionalbeauty.co.uk/PBTV