Spa Partners Blog

Partner News, Information and Inspiration

Archive for November, 2010

Reach of Gift Certificates Expands

SpaFinder is always working to bring you more customers, and the expansion of the SpaFinder Gift Card Program creates opportunities every day.  Our gift cards, which can be used for any combination of services at spas around the world, at thousands of new retail locations. 
 
Shoppers can now find SpaFinder Gift Card at thousands of locations at these major retailers across the country:
 

  • Michael’s
  • Kohl’s
  • Office Max
  • And coming soon – Bed, Bath & Beyond!

 
In addition to our recent in-store expansion, SpaFinder Gift Certificates are now available on the travel site Expedia.com!  To give you an idea of how big Expedia is, the site averages around 15 million unique visitors per month.

With these national retailers helping us reach millions of consumers at over 3,000 new locations, we trust that your spa will be seeing a business boost this holiday season!

 expedia

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Spas and the Fair Trade Movement

eco-friendlyThe spa industry continues to celebrate an eco-friendliness, implementing green principles in spa design and touting treatments and products using “all-natural” or “organic” elements, and now the subsequent revolution seemingly showing up on spa boutique shelves and menus is one some also deem responsible: fair trade beauty products.

“As today’s discriminating spa client becomes more sensitive to the issues surrounding fair trade, they will be asking for more fair trade products in their spa treatments,” says Stacy Fader, licensed esthetician, certified massage therapist, aromatherapist, and founder of Kumani Essentials. Kumani’s new product line, consisting of hair, face, and body products, uses shea butter, sourced from a fair trade cooperative in Burkina Faso in Western Africa. It will launch at ISPA this month.

Recognized products such as coffee and chocolate made their fair trade certified debut years earlier, while beauty items such as those found in spas and salons only joined the movement in 2009. But as spa-goers and shoppers alike become more socially conscious, fair trade ingredients—shea butter, aloe, sugar, and vanilla, among the most common—may just be the next growing trend.

Though fair trade has been criticized, with arguments ranging from price distortion to the need for stricter standards, the movement is designed to encourage environmental sustainability, fair pay, humane labor conditions, direct trade free of fewer middlemen, and the promotion of knowledge, skills, and community development.  Beauty products sporting a fair trade label allow consumers to know that set standards were met; cooperatives also must be inspected on a regular basis and verified by an independent third-party certifier.

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Botox Equals Weight Loss?

Recent studies have shown that Botox® is more than a wrinkle-filler – now it seems it can help those struggling with weight loss.

The Doctors
Watch the Meet the Doctors segment with Dr. Robynn Chutkan.

A new (and ongoing) study suggests that botulinum toxin products such as Botox® can be injected into the walls of the stomach to suppress appetite. Patients are sedated at the time of procedure, as doctors use an endoscope to view the stomach’s interiors before injecting the Botox®.

The botulinum toxin “temporarily relaxes the muscles of the stomach so that it can’t contract as vigorously, and you feel full faster and you eat less food,” explains Gastroenterologist Dr. Robynne Chutkan, founder of the Digestive Center for Women, on a recent episode of The Doctors. Clinical trials showed that the food stays in the stomach longer, delaying emptying time and cutting the maximum tolerated volume, or the amount of food and liquid it takes a person to feel full, in half.

“The peak effect takes about two to three weeks, just like botulinum toxin in the skin where it takes a few weeks to kick in, it’s the same thing in the stomach,” Chutkan said.

Only ten patients thus far have been treated, says Chutkan, who shared with viewers a video of the procedure being performed on her own stomach. “It’s subtle, but you definitely feel full faster,” she says, noting that she lost seven pounds in three weeks.

In other Botox® news, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved Botox® injections to prevent chronic migraines in adults. (People with chronic migraines are categorized as those suffering from headaches 15 days or more per month.) The FDA advises the preventative treatment be injected every three months around the head and neck area to dull future headache symptoms.

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Tips on How to Attract Laser Hair Removal Patients

Laser hair removal has remained a popular treatment even throughout the recession, and this month’s issue of Skin, Inc. Magazine provided some tips on how to attract even more laser hair removal patients. Here are a few of its tips summarized below.

  • Save clients money
    Because a major source of business for many spas and clinics is word of mouth, Skin, Inc. Magazine suggests offering potential clients savings in real money – not just $10 off a treatment – through creative pricing models and referral incentives. You can offer savings for each referral, or since laser hair removal treatments usually require more than a few appointments, offer a buy-four-get-two-free option.
  • Upfront pricing
    Consider listing your prices online. Upfront pricing allows clients to determine whether six or eight treatments fit their budgets, and that helps them plan for desired services. If clients begin treatments, and then find out they won’t be able to afford the multiple treatments needed, they’ll likely jump off the wagon within six months.
  • Spend advertising dollars online
    Utilizing the internet and developing an online advertising strategy will likely increase awareness of your spa or clinic and reach a higher number of new potential clients. Hiring a marketing expert with search engine optimization expertise can pay off through the growth in business it can supply.
  • Opt for low- or no-cost ads
    Take advantage of social media – the number of people tapped into various social media outlets is expansive and there’s no reason not to do it since it’s free, Skin, Inc. magazine reported. The promotional opportunities are endless and can reach customers you might not otherwise reach
  • Offer value add-ons
    With many laser hair removal treatments not being the most pleasant of spa experiences, offering perks such as topical pain relief for no extra charge won’t go unnoticed by customers.
  • Extend hours and staff
    Realize the cyclical demands of laser hair removal. For example, in February, try to plan ahead for the high volume experienced from March through August, Skin, Inc. says. Increasing staff and business hours can allow you to increase sales volume and meet the needs of your customers.
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SpaFinder NewBeauty Relationship Blossoms

SpaFinder NewBeauty CoverThe creative energy between SpaFinder and New Beauty is bursting at the seams!  The New Beauty SpaFinder directory is hot off the press and the recent Hammam supplement, featured in the Fall 2010 issue of New Beauty magazine, is now up on the SpaFinder website.  Click here to learn more about this exciting trend (which gets an A++ for timeliness). 
 
In September 2010, I shared with you how thrilled I was about the budding partnership between SpaFinder and Sandow Media.  Today, just two months later, I am happy to report that this relationship is in full bloom!  Yolanda Yoh, editor-in-chief of New Beauty magazine sums it up quite nicely in her editor’s letter, “Spas help us slow down and find quiet time to create the space to build beauty on the inside: It’s only logical that spa and beauty are intertwined.” The first SpaFinder supplement which debuted in the Fall 2010 issue of New Beauty magazine was an extraordinary introduction to the popularity of hammams, a trend which I indentified as up and coming this time last year (2009).  So in the spirit of partnership, between spa and beauty, here’s the first of many exciting collaborations to come.

Hammam Section

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New York Times: Shorter Treatments Are More Enticing

spa treatmentsJust this week, the New York Times published an article titled “The Spa Half-Hour” about how many hotel spas have scaled back in size, begun offering shorter treatments, and started programs catered to local clients in order to compensate for the business travelers they lost this year. As locals are being enticed with shorter treatments at hotel spas, day spas could also benefit from offering some shorter treatments for today’s time-starved, budget-strapped consumer.

The article cites a June 2009 survey from the International Spa Association, which reported that 86% of its member spas were offering more 30-minute options than the traditional 60- or 90-minute services. Margaret Lora, spa director at Spa Merge, New York, told the Times that the shorter treatments were necessary for the spa’s survival. “The 30-minute treatment had almost disappeared from spa menus because it was really not very efficient for a spa to sell 30-minute treatments,” she said. “In today’s market, it’s a way to touch a customer when the spas haven’t been as busy.”

Many hotel spas have already caught on, and the NYT rounded up a few of them. The spa at Andaz Wall Street in New York offers 15-minute massages and facials. The New York Palace’s spa and fitness center offers 25-minute treatments, and the Seagate Spa in Delray Beach, Fla., offers mini treatments for under $65. Express spa treatments are also popular with people who live or work near the Peninsula Spa by ESPA in Manhattan, the Times reported.

“I’m a huge fan of the Peninsula Spa, but during my busy workweek I just couldn’t find the time to dedicate to an hour treatment,” said Jamie Brown, a 30-year-old marketing executive, in the NYT article.

In July, the Four Seasons Hotel New York introduced a “neighbor’s recognition” program offered to people who live in Midtown and the Upper East Side, the Times said. Under that program, a 50-minute massage midweek costs $210, which is regularly $225 on weekends. The spa also offers reflexology, custom massage and aromatherapy in 25-minute sessions.

“You don’t have to look any further than electronic media to understand that people spend less time on basic activities like communicating and getting the news,” says Natalie Matesic, the spa’s director, in the article. “The spa industry is no exception. Now more than ever, there is a need to offer quicker and shorter services that are still effective.”

Does your day spa offer shorter treatments, and do you think it’s an effective way to capture more clients?

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Spa-ing and Dealing

Does your getaway property offer commission to travel agents? If not, you may want to consider it – it’s an excellent way to gain maximum exposure and drum up more business for your property. Recent examples include Le Meridien Cancun Resort & Spa’s unveiling of an agent cash incentive up to US$100 per reservation on top of their commission for travel completed by December 20, 2010, a move that appeared on media outlets such as SpaFinder.com, Travel World News, and Travel Weekly.

And since 1986, SpaFinder has been the travel agent resource for spa travel, providing our registered agent affiliates with specials, commissions and FAM trips, and more. It’s simple – just fill out these questions below, and we’ll update your property listing with your commission offerings for SpaFinder travel agent affiliates to view.

Please submit the following info to Travel Agent Editor Kate Phillips at kate.phillips@spafinder.com.

  • Commission offered:
  • Cancellation policy details:
  • Added value offers (e.g., room upgrades, free robe, or bottle of wine) for Spa Finder customers:
  • Exclusive offers (e.g. additional commissions, travel agent incentives, etc.) offered to Spa Finder Travel Agent Affiliates. Please also provide start and end dates for each offer.
  • Travel Agent Rate:
  • FAM Trip Specials:

 

  • Please provide separate contact information for travel agents, if different from main number:
  • Name:
  • Phone:
  • Email:
  • Fax:
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On the Lookout for Special Events

calendarDo you have a weekend yoga retreat in the works? How about a cool photography or cooking workshop? If your spa is hosting a special event, we want to hear about it!

SpaFinder encourages you to take advantage of this FREE, useful feature – with 15,000 spa enthusiasts visiting our website on a daily basis, submitting a spa event is an effective way to promote your property. Not to be confused with Spa Deals, we categorize special events as happenings that run within a limited time period (i.e., parties, workshops, galas, weekend educational seminars, etc.). For examples, view existing events on our dedicated Special Events page, which is updated every Friday. (Events will also be posted under the Activities section of your SpaFinder property listing.)

Here’s your chance to brag about the amazing opportunities your spa is offering! We encourage you to let us know about your special event by filling out a few quick questions here. It’s a tremendous, FREE way to gain exposure in more areas of SpaFinder.com!

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Spa-Goers Select the Top Spas of 2010

Readers' Choice AwardsSpaFinder’s 2010 Readers’ Choice Awards have recently been announced, but in case you missed the announcement (or the amazing media attention it’s garnered), click here for the complete list of winners.

Spa-goers cast more votes than ever before in the Awards’ eight-year history, populating ballots for their favorite spas on six continents and in 35 countries/regions. Additional awards went to spa-goers’ top ten picks in 31 unique categories, including Best for Golf, Best for Romance, and Best Brand.

Additionally, SpaFinder’s annual Visionary Award, honoring influential leaders in the world of spa and wellness, went to Dr. Mehmet Oz. Vice chair and professor of surgery at Columbia University, director of and the Cardiovascular Institute and Complementary Medicine Program at New York Presbyterian Hospital, Dr. Oz is best known for being host of his own self-titled TV show.

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