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Turning Two Treatment Rooms into a Revenue-Producing Spa

With some basic management and programming, you can turn empty areas into customer-service-friendly, revenue-producing spaces of tranquility.

MANY SMALL FITNESS centers have one or two rooms set aside for massages. Unfortunately, these rooms often sit empty or with little use. With some basic management and programming, you can turn these areas into customer-service-friendly, revenue-producing spaces of tranquility.

Equipment

First, you need to ensure that you have the appropriate equipment. You don't need to have Vichy showers or hydroculators, but, rather, a basic massage equipment package consisting of the following: massage table, face cradle, table cover, table warmer, bolster, stool, oil warmer, laundry hamper and hot towel cabinet. Typically, you can outfit a room for $2,500 to $5,500 (depending on the table and whether you want all of the "bells and whistles").

Staff

Once you have your equipment in place, you'll need to hire a team of therapists. Be sure to set their compensation appropriate to the market -- usually somewhere between 25 to 50 percent of the service, plus gratuity. (You can structure compensation a variety of ways to include flat rates, hourly plus commission or percentages.) Develop a list of available therapists who will allow you to book services during most hours of operation. Also, if you can find therapists willing to work front desk hours, you might even be able to accommodate walk-ins. The idea is to open up your bookings to accommodate as many services as possible.

Menu of offerings

In addition to having the right staff and equipment, you'll want to be creative with your menu of services. Offer all of the basics -- Swedish, deep tissue, reflexology, etc. -- but also more unique signature services that might appeal to your membership, express services for busy members and anything you feel will appeal to your base. For an additional $200 to $300, you can purchase a stone package and roaster to offer hot stone massage. Price your services appropriately; remember, you're not a five-diamond hotel or even a sophisticated day spa, but you are convenient and competitive and, if packaged and marketed appropriately, in line with your members' needs (wellness, pampering, performance, etc.).

It's all in the details

Last but not least, it's the details that will make the difference. Be sure to have spa protocols so that all services are consistent from therapist to therapist. Uniforms and specific service standards are also a must (gone are the days of therapists doing as they please). Offer robes and slippers that are pre-stocked in the locker room, and appropriate music, lighting and fragrances should greet clients upon entering the room. Infused water should be available after the service. Remember, the details will be the difference in creating an experience that keeps them coming back and keeps your rooms full.
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