How to open a spa: Part 8 – The opening


We are now in the final step of the ‘pre-opening’ phase and at the beginning of a whole new set of challenges. The success of this stage normally depends on how well the pre-opening phase has been orchestrated, right from the conceptual design through to the pre-opening training and generating the right buzz about your new business. In the following lines, we will discuss how to keep your expectations real during this stage and what kinds of things you need to do in order to fine tune operations before your potential clients arrive to your new business. Let’s take a look.


Focus and expectations

During this step, which we call ‘opening phase,’ your main focus is on ensuring that you are fine tuning operations. Many spa managers or owners who are new to the business expect THE ‘opening day’ to be a big and key day, and it definitely is. However, it is important to realise that there will not be an ‘avalanche’ of people walking through your spa’s doors. The number of clients visiting your new business will depend on how well you worked on the previous stage of marketing and selling your spa during the pre-opening phase.

Another important thing to remember is that your operations will not be seamlessly ‘perfect’ the day you open your spa. There will still be many small things that will need working on, and these small items will still be works in progress for many weeks to come. In spite of this, it is unrealistic to wait until you have everything ‘perfect’ especially because every day you delay the opening of your spa, you will be losing revenue. Additionally, the ‘perfect spa’ ends up turning into a moving milestone as one discovers how much more there still is to do.


Final checklist

Throughout the series of articles on how to open a spa from start to finish, we have elaborated a number of different checklists for some of the steps you need to take in during the entire process. Your final checklist needs to include the following set of things that will help you fine tune your operations during the opening stage:


  • Last details of spa dress up and setting up – It is very important to ensure that everything is in place.
  • Client rehearsals – Invite key people you trust in order to give you valuable feedback on how their treatment was. This will allow you to test drive your client flow, your therapists to practice their treatments and also get used to preparing for treatments and clearing up in an efficient manner.
  • ‘Soft-opening’ – These client rehearsals can be done during your ‘soft-opening’ phase. A soft-opening period (even if it is just one week) gives the staff an opportunity to make sure that they feel comfortable with all the treatments and the whole client flow.
  • Fine tuning of SOPs – This is the right time to further improve your standard operating procedures.
  • Staff feedback – During this stage, it is very important to get feedback from staff on whether they can contribute positively to changing things.
  • Client feedback – Similarly, you need to take note of any feedback from your clients. Are there any things that are not working out? It is not uncommon that certain steps in treatments or in the client journey need to be worked on after the opening.
  • Launch date – At this stage, you need to set your spa’s official launch date and look at when you would like official photos taken of the spa and what shots you would like to have. This is quite important for the image of your new business.


Running a healthy spa

Now that you have done your homework, you are finally ready to open your new spa. Even though the success of your business will depend on how effectively you will manage your operations from now on, we strongly believe that providing your spa with a solid foundation is the very first thing you need to do in order to have a prosperous business. In other words, the way you move from the conception of your new spa to the moment you open the doors of it, will have a huge impact in the future of your business.

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

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