Steps Spa Owners Should Take in Recessionary Times


In my last blog titled “In Challenging Economic Times: How Long Will a Recession Last?” I wrote that on the South Lawn of the White House on December 5, 2008, U.S. President George W. Bush Friday acknowledged for the first time that the U.S. economy was in recession.

Now I want to provide some action steps and pointers that we in the spa industry can take to combat this current economic crisis.

Action Steps and Pointers

1.      Provide Leadership – the buck stops with you. You need to make every attempt to remain positive, enthusiastic and support staff. Don’t expect your team members to deal honestly with their failures if you don’t accept responsibility yourself.

2.      Make the Tough Calls – Make the tough call on cutting unproductive personnel and unprofitable services. Evaluate and identify the A rated players and A profitable services in your organization. Rid yourself of B and C rated staff and unprofitable services. This is the time and the moment to make sure you’re mean and lean.

3.      Increase Marketing Activity – everyone in the organization is a salesperson. Stress to staff on a consistent basis the need for marketing outreach. We cannot at times determine results but we can determine activity and everyone in the organization needs to be about marketing the spa experience of your facility.  Find the means if at all possible to find and allocate capital for media buy(s) and an effective email blast during the Christmas season.

4.      Cut debt and reliance on bank funding – if at all possible eliminate or reduce debt obligations. Call your banker to negotiate a better APR on your bank loan and line of credit.

5.      Increase your community involvement – become engaged or increase your involvement in serving on community not for profit boards. Law of Karma at work here.

6.      Take care of self – exercise, eat nutritional foods and make it a priority to spend quality time with family and friends.

7.      Enhance team communication – increase your engagement in the business and institute if not in place weekly staff meetings, one on ones with senior staff and key personnel and hold quarterly all company staff meetings in order to ensure there is effective dialogue and communication on company, department and individual performance measurements and results.

8.      Intellectual and business growth development – increase and expand your business knowledge base by reading business magazines, daily newspapers, attending chamber events, joining or forming a CEO Roundtable, attending industry workshops and expo’s. To quote an old saying “You get out of it what you put in it.”

Michael Carter President and Chief Executive Officer of Athena of Nashville Inc


4 Responses

  1. Excellent steps!
    Now is the time to rethink the way we are doing things, and plan and implement improvements. In a recession there are plenty of other “Re”s we can do: rework, rewire, relax, redesign, refresh, reclaim, recalibrate and reenergize ourselves and our businesses around a new paradigm.

  2. Rhana, thanks for your re- vocabulary. Didn’t realize that there are so many “Re-s” that we can apply to every day!

  3. Some of the best ways to market a spa in these times is to enlist the support of your best customers. I own a very small spa in rural Virginia. We have seen a 35% increase in business in the past year by utilizing this practical and cost-effective approach.

    The first thing I did was create a spa membership that provides us with a monthly income. I also created my own newsletter that is sent out on a monthly basis. This has been extremely successful!

    The funny thing about the newsletter is this. It’s not chocked full of scantily clad beautiful twenty-somethings enjoying spa services. My newsletters speaks to the every day travails we all have.

    Of course, I also promote our products and services, too. But the major draw is passionately relating to my clientele. It keeps them coming back for more.

    They have built a relationship with me and my staff because of this simple, yet profound approach.

    I hope this helps somebody else struggling to make it through these challenging times!

  4. Susan Vincent you have it right – you’re marketing authentically and consistently to your clientele. You’re speaking in a voice that obviously rings clear and true to your clients – congratulations!

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