How to open a spa: Part 7 – Pre-opening countdown

 

Once you have taken care of the treatments and services menu of your future spa, the equipment and technical requirements of your facility, and the group of professionals that will run the operations of your new business, you are moving into the pre-opening countdown phase of the process. During this step, you need to consider 3 main things: Training, pre-opening sales drive and marketing buzz, and the software system you will be using. Let’s see this in more detail.

 

Training

This is one of the most important aspects you need to take care of during the pre-opening countdown. In particular, you need to focus on the following types of training:

 

  • Treatment training – This is the training that your product houses will be doing for their treatments only. One must not get confused with the fact that spa product house partners provide training for everything. The client journey, customer care, towel draping procedures, etc. will need to be done by your appointed spa trainer or the spa consultant. This specific training will not be done by the product house partners as this is not their area of expertise.
  • Signature treatment training – Depending on who has created your signature treatment offering, either the involved product house partner or your head therapist/ trainer will need to conduct this training.
  • Training of SOPs, client journey, optimizing reservations – Depending on the expertise of the professionals you have hired, this training is normally either carried out by the head therapist, spa supervisor or spa manager. This training will include protocols and procedures that are unique to your spa. For example: client flow, treatment indications and contraindications, customer service, taking reservations to optimize revenue, retail sales, back of house procedures, opening and closing procedures, etc.

 

Pre-opening sales drive and marketing buzz

It is very important to provide the opening of your future spa with an effective marketing approach. Pre-opening sales and getting in touch with the media to organise familiarisation trips and generate a pre-opening buzz is an important part of reaching this goal. While working on your marketing strategy, you also need to keep in mind the following:

 

  • Brand positioning – It is very important that you define your brand positioning. This will have an important impact on your future messages and tactics.
  • Design – Keep in mind that a unique design is one of the best ways to provide your spa with a story. If your spa has a unique design, this is the time to highlight that feature.
  • Online community – You should try to engage people early in the process. Building an online community will help you to generate a buzz around your future spa.
  • Dynamic website – Your website is going to be your professional business card. Because of this, you need to create a visually appealing and inviting site, which is easy to access from several devices. Most importantly, it needs to have a solid e-commerce platform in place. Likewise, it would be a good idea to create a blog on your site that allows you to establish a solid presence on social media channels and at the same time show your potential clients that you know what you are doing.
  • Give away spa experiences – One of the best things you can do during the pre-opening countdown is inviting journalists and bloggers to enjoy the facilities and services of your spa. This is a very effective way of generating a growing online buzz.
  • Distribution partnerships – You should not be afraid of building distribution partnerships to sell your services. However, if you decide to explore this venture, it is important to work with partnerships based on commissions per reservation and make sure that most of your bookings happen on your website.
  • Measure everything – You should get a good sense of your website traffic, social media activity and online reputation. This knowledge will give you a good indication on the things you need to do when you open the doors of your spa.

 

Software system

You also need to use the pre-opening countdown to take care of the configuration of your software system according to treatment type, treatment room and all therapists. Even though most spa softwares are quite complete nowadays, it is important to invest some time making sure that you have it properly configured, that you have the appropriate revenue management system in place and that your spa reservations team knows how to take appointments effectively. This will be instrumental to the success of your spa.

 

To wrap up on the pre-opening countdown stage, if you invest your time wisely on a thorough training programme for your entire team, a strong pre-opening sales drive, an effective marketing approach, and a robust yield management system, you will be paving your way successfully into the next stage. You will then be ready to embrace the last phase of the pre-opening of your project: The soft-opening of your future spa.

By Sonal

Sonal Uberoi creates and delivers smarter spas around the world. Spas and hotel groups hire Sonal to help them design, set up and manage their wellness businesses. Her finance background and worldwide operations experience in the spa, wellness and hospitality sectors make Sonal the go-to expert for business optimisation solutions. Connect with Sonal on LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/in/sonaluberoi.

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