Creating Spa Rituals
Boost your Business with Customer-Centered Spa Journeys
As a business, one of the most important activities you do is deciding what products and services to offer. Furthermore, as a business with lots of competition, it is harder– and nowadays even more important, to stand out. Listing massage, facials, or body treatment options by duration and type is one approach to building a set of offerings. And this might be just right for a spa serving business flyers in a busy airport; catching some much-needed relief between flights is another of my favorite ways to the spa. But it probably isn’t how you want to attract men and women looking for a more indulgent experience for their spa time.
Enter spa journeys. As a frequent spa guest, I like having a journey or an experience when I get my face and body treatments. Sure I love a 90-minute massage, but I truly love a 90-minute indulgence with warm towels, luxurious or exotic carrier oils, the sound of gently falling water and so forth. Even better, I love stepping into a full experience designed for all my senses. Almost 20 years ago I had my first spa journey in Kauai. Warm stones between my toes and fingers, kukui nut massage oil, tropical flowers in the room, and refreshing hibiscus tea were all part of my treatment. To finish, a long rinse in a volcanic-rock lined shower open to the sky. Bringing the late-evening tropical sky and the smells of the ocean created a sensual, relaxing and completely care-free way to end my journey.
Creating your Treatment Journeys
If you’re already in business, you’ve determined the basic types of services you offer — are you a mani-pedi only salon like Julep in Seattle? Or a boutique urban oasis like Project Zen in San Francisco? Do you offer full face and body treatments? Hair and nails? Keeping in mind who you are as a brand, consider who your customers are and what they expect. Age, gender, the amount of time they want to spend, how much money they can spend and, always make sure to consider any cultural influences. Finally, if you are creating your rituals in Thailand or Bali, you’ll want to incorporate elements from those cultures, just as you would creating rituals in an ice hotel in Quebec. Even if you are not in an exotic location, you can bring elements from different cultures into your spa treatment rooms and help transport your customers for a few minutes or hours to a faraway distant place.
What do you want your customers to feel (and say) after they’ve completed a spa ritual or journey? Relaxed? Refreshed? Indulged? Beautiful? Pampered? Amazed? Start fleshing in the elements, engaging the traditional five senses – sight, sound, smell, touch, and if possible, taste. One spa I frequented in Seattle always includes a small beverage. Sometimes it is an exotic juice or a fragrant tea, and once it was hot chocolate with cinnamon. Yum.
Research your competition and the services they offer. Spas in other parts of the world can also give you inspiration. Even if you’re just offering a 90-minute massage, you can talk about the oils you’ll be using, any particular techniques, stones, music, chimes, hydrotherapy, aromatherapy elements, etc. One brilliant line I saw at a fabulous spa in Montreal– “Our nearest competition is 93,000 miles away!”
Go Beyond Boring
Have you ever looked at a spa menu and been underwhelmed by the choices? Did the descriptions leave you unmoved? If the treatments themselves are amazing experiences, but the language you use to describe them isn’t up to par, spend some time rewriting. Imagine someone reading about your spa and the services you offer for the first time. Does your menu evoke smells and sounds? Can you imagine the textures and physical sensations of the ritual? Does your description evoke a faraway place or a state of being? If not, start rewriting and ask for input and feedback from colleagues, clients, and team members.
Choose your words carefully to paint a picture that draws people in and makes it hard to say no. Below is a starter list of marketing words and phrases that might inspire you as you create your next experience. As you select the ingredients and products you’ll use, try to fit them into a category of experience.
Relaxing might be coupled with comforting, unwinding, nurturing, and nourishing. Therefore products and ingredients in the “Relaxing” family might include a mist of Lavender Body Linen Spray, before and after the treatment. Glycolic and Rose Gel Masque for a soothing and magical exfoliating and skin softening treatment. And, you might try Rosewater Creme for feet and hand massage or add some Gentle Skin Essential Oil Blend with lavender, rose, Roman chamomile, German chamomile, and a little tea tree essential oils with Chamomile Butter. Kathy Steinbock, Reg. Aromatherapist, Certified Aromatherapist has created a fantastic guide to essential oils that can help you create products to match any journey you can imagine.
For a “Nourishing” family you may consider Milk Chocolate Masque to reveal glowing, gorgeous skin and pair with Chocolate Butter Body Scrub for the body. Finish with Exquisite Face, Hair & Body Oil— so perfect for face and body and is one of my very absolute favorite products ever in the whole world. (Okay. I exaggerate) Organic pumpkin, cranberry and pomegranate oils with a touch of vitamin E nourish and nurture you from head to toe.
Marketing Words and Phrases
- Indulge your senses
- Experience the wonder of
- Float away
- Discover the secrets of
- A passport to
- Fresh and revived
- Unwind all the way
- Travel to
- Let us nurture you
- Healthy glow
- Nourish mind, body, and soul
Spa checklist for designing your rituals
Once you start creating rituals you may not be able to stop. Change up your offerings every season, or introduce new products from time to time to keep your menu fresh and inviting.
- Meets the spa’s brand
- Is consistent with what the customer expects
- Involves the traditional five senses
- Incorporates modern and trendy products and ingredients
- Is part of a broader theme of services, not just isolated as a stand alone
- Leaves the customer with the right impression: relaxed, awed, revived, etc.
- Your treatment providers are excited about providing the service
- Creative and compelling copy
As a marketer and spa-goer, I can tell you wholeheartedly that the mental images you create with your words will help set the stage for amazing spa journeys for your customers.
Do you have a favorite spa journey? We’d love to hear it.