With a captive audience in your fitness center membership, marketing strategies for your spa should focus on developing repeat business.

With a captive audience in your fitness center membership, marketing strategies for your spa should focus on developing repeat business. Having access to members three to five days a week, or more, presents a unique opportunity to stay in front of your target market with unique and inexpensive promotional efforts. With appropriate staff training, some basic marketing efforts and creative programming, your spa sales should soar.

Importance of staff

One frequently overlooked area in increasing spa revenue is staffing. Frequently, the business is already there; only fitness centers are not staffed to accommodate member requests for a specific service, time or gender. This not only leads to turned-away business (lost revenue), but also to a potentially unhappy member who is likely to visit a local day spa next time they are thinking about a service. For spas that do not have full-time service providers, the challenge is to find a cost-effective way to staff so as to reduce missed revenue opportunities. One way to do this is to develop a list of reliable, on-call therapists and technicians who are trained in your spa's services, protocols and standards. The upside for them is an opportunity to develop a loyal following of "regulars" who consistently book treatments with them. Keep in mind, for this to happen, compensation must be competitive.

While having enough quality providers is pivotal, other staff members can play a key role in marketing your spa. Training staff on how to promote spa services involves not only knowledge of the services, products and protocols, but also looking for key opportunities to suggest the benefits of services. Arming your staff with specials, add-ons and creative promotions opens the door for them to engage members. "Ask me" buttons, creative props and appropriate signage are all great attention-getters that allow staff members to remind members of the great services available and specials that exist.

Front desk staff can assist with sales by creating a list of existing spa users, and calling them regularly to give them priority scheduling. By letting members know that the spa is booking quickly, and offering them an opportunity to block out their most convenient time, you have not only potentially captured an additional treatment, but have reinforced your spa's commitment to service and personalized attention.

Offer events and packages

With staff trained and on-board to sell your spa, you can now create unique events and packages to introduce members to the benefits of regular spa services. Holding a special member event is one such example. A night of "Champagne and Shopping" in the spa will promote retail and drive gift certificate sales. Select a key holiday such as Christmas, Mother's Day, Valentine's, etc., and invite your members to a night of discounted merchandise, beverages and food, give-a-ways and instructional clinics. Be sure to arrange for some spa samples from your vendors, and set up chair and foot massages to get members near the gift certificate desk. Include incentives to purchase gift certificates such as an additional $15 with the purchase of every $100, or special retail items at cost. Invite local retailers to also set up shop in your facility.

Another way to drive repeat business in your spa is to develop unique programs, such as packages that include personal training with spa and nutrition. Have trainers and therapists work together, and showcase success stories in your facility. For example, offer the member who is a golfer a sports-specific training program with appropriate massage therapy and nutrition. This type of program, coordinated by staff who communicate and consult with each other, can meet members' individual needs and goals, plus help the fitness center with usage and, thus, retention.

Don't overlook your spa

When you are busy selling new memberships, it is often easy to overlook your existing market for driving program revenue. With a keen focus on your percentage of repeat business, you should be able to take full advantage of your existing membership, and significantly increase your targeted spa goals. By hiring the right staff, ensuring appropriate training, and providing unique programs and special events, fitness center spas will be well-equipped to drive repeat business.