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Archive for April, 2011

Preliminary Survey Results Show Wellness Week™ Big Hit with Consumers

 We are analyzing the results of a Wellness Week™ survey asking consumers to share their opinion on the recent event, held March 21-27 across the U.S. Preliminary findings show that 79% of respondents said they would return to the spa or fitness establishment they visited during the week, or refer it to a friend, and a whopping 99% hoped there would be more Wellness Weeks™ in the future. Interestingly, nearly 900 survey-takers took the time to write in spas and fitness/wellness businesses that they would like be part of the next Wellness Week™. Stay tuned for more survey results and be sure to contact Alyssa Rode at if you’d like more information about this wellness wave that is sweeping the country.

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Vows Renewals on the Rise

Springtime means love is in the air, and according to the “Top 11 Luxury Travel Trends for 2011” report by Luxury Travel Magazine and Abelow PR, vow renewals are on the upsurge, as more and more baby boomers celebrate landmark anniversaries in exotic locations. Help potential clients plan a romantic spa trip (a second honeymoon, perhaps?) with their sweetie:

  • Feature an overnight Getaway Spa Deal for two on your property overview listing. Include romantic amenities like a couple’s spa treatment, candlelit dinners, turndown services, champagne, etc. Submit a Getaway Spa Deal here; for a more detailed submittal process, click here.
  • Properties that accept SpaFinder Gift Certificates, along with day spa clients, are also welcome to post a Day Spa Deal. Invite clients to spend the day relaxing side-by-side with treatments for two, followed by a spa lunch. So SPA by Sofitel at the Sofitel London St James’ So Magnifique For Two special is a good example.
  • The couple who plays together, stays together: Entice clients with activities they can enjoy together that also offer an element of wellness or fitness. If your property is seaside, offer fitness pursuits like kayaking, wakeboarding, or paddle boarding, a fun yet relaxing pastime at the Atlantic Resort & Spa in Fort Lauderdale; land dwellers can try recreational offerings like tennis, hiking, and golf. Napa’s Silverado Resort & Spa and its Golfers Dream Package, which includes accommodations for two in a one-bedroom suite and 18 holes of golf per person, fits golf guests to a tee.
  • Encourage clients to reconnect with couples’ classes: Give EXAMPLES – art of massage classes, others, etc.
  • Partnering with SpaFinder’s SpaRahRah! is also a terrific resource to attracting new customers (our research shows that on average more that 90% of customers that buy our deals are new for our merchant partners), and SpaRahRah! has expanded to include travel deals! Partner with SpaRahRah! by SpaFinder and be branded with the world’s leading spa and wellness resource. Learn more.
  • Or, take a cue from select getaway spas that showcase special nuptial-type features: These include Cal-a-Vie Health Spa near San Diego, which has a French-imported 400-year-old chapel, perfect for saying “I do” a second time.
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Have You Posted a Getaway Spa Deal Recently? Here’s How Step-By-Step

We at SpaFinder love a good deal, and now that Wellness Week™ has wrapped up, we’re looking forward to the next major event: Mother’s Day. When was the last time you submitted a Spa Deal for your overview listing? If you have to pause and think, then it’s been too long!

Maximize your listing before it’s too late – our research shows that visits to increase significantly as Mother’s Day approaches. Plus, the Spa Deal feature is a complimentary component with your SpaFinder partnership. If that’s not reason enough, consider this: We’ve seen that clicks to a SpaFinder property listing, booking requests, and phone calls can double for those with a spa deal.

Here’s the step-by-step process to submitting a Spa Deal.

  • To post a Getaway Spa Deal (which requires accommodations and spa components), fill in the simple form here.
  • You can also post a Group Special for parties of four or more (must include accommodations and spa components) here.
  • If your property accepts Day Spa clients and SpaFinder Gift Certificates, post a Day Spa Deal here.
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Readers’ Choice Voting is Underway

Voting for the annual SpaFinder’s Readers’ Choice Awards has begun! We encourage you to remind your clients to cast their ballot in these renowned awards – those who do so will be automatically entered for a chance to win a dream spa vacation to Readers’ Choice Crystal Award recipients, Ananda in the Himalayas or Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat.

SpaFinder Readers’ Choice Awards span across more than 30 countries/regions and 35 categories, creating the most comprehensive consumer assessment of the global spa market.

Ask your clients to vote now.

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Down to Earth Movement Goes Beyond Earth Month

Going green has been an increasing trend for the past decade now, so much so that it’s almost no longer a trend. Beginning with the green food movement, consumers have become more and more aware of what they’re putting in their bodies. Now, not only are they also aware of what beauty products they’re putting on their bodies, they’re becoming more conscious of what the spas and beauty product companies themselves are doing to make the world a greener place.

A key trend set to shape the beauty industry in 2011, emerging from innovation from the past year, is the ‘Down to Earth’ movement, according to the experts at Mintel Beauty Innovation. Closely linked with sustainability, the Down to Earth trend addresses the practicalities of making and marketing green beauty.

“There is a lot of education and encouragement around the green spa concept,” Taya Tomasello, U.S. director for Mintel Beauty Innovation told SpaFinder. “ A lot of trade shows talk about focus on not only how to make your spa or salon more green and how it can appeal to consumers, but also how it can save spa or salon money.”

Beyond carrying green beauty products, day spas can evaluate their energy and water use and equipment, which in the long run, can help save costs on utilities, Tomasello pointed out.

In fact, 85 percent of spas in 2010 already employ environmental sustainability, according to the International Spa Association.

An even simpler, no-cost step that spas can take to become more green and “down to earth” is to make a point to recycle.

‘’What we do see is that 66% of consumers are looking for products to have recycled packaging, so even  recycling can be a low cost way to implement green practices and make consumers feel better about going to that spa or salon.”

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Plastic Surgery Defies Recession, Group Botox on the Rise

Photo via Flickr user stevendepoloPlastic surgery procedures increased nearly 10 percent from 2009 to 2010 with more than 9.3 million surgical and non-surgical procedures logged in 2010, at a cost of nearly $11 billion, according to Dr. Grant Stevens, chairman of the media relations committee of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), which commissioned a study released this month. Dr. Stevens is also a board certified plastic surgeon and founder of Marina Plastic Surgery Associates in Marina del Rey, CA.

“We were surprised and thrilled to see increases in a variety of areas because it points to a positive change in economic indicators for 2010 – 2011,” said Dr. Stevens. “In my own practice, I’ve seen a major increase in demand by men – the study showed an increase overall of 88 percent since 1997, breast lifts, and generally a bigger caseload proving that beauty is recession proof.”

Patients between the ages of 35 and 50 accounted for 44 percent of the total, the majority of any age group.  Requests for liposuction, eyelid surgery and abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) topped the list of most requested surgical procedures, according to Dr. Stevens.

“According to the ASAPS study, 19 percent of the patients belong to an ethnic minority,” Dr. Stevens said. “That’s a major uptick, since traditionally many surgery practices have catered to white women. It’s great news.”  He added that laser procedures, including laser hair removal, as well as chemical peels and breast reduction, are also popular and getting more so.

“The ASAPS study demonstrates that people of all ages and races want to look better, be it for themselves, a significant other or because they are seeking employment,” Dr. Stevens said.

Also, Botox was far and away the most requested non-surgical procedure. In fact, Anita Wolf, a registered nurse at Madison Skin and Laser Center in New York has noticed that what was once a procedure done in secret is becoming a group activity.

“In the past we found that people didn’t want anyone to know they were receiving Botox or filler injections,” Wolf said. “Today, they are happy to attend a Botox party with friends, sisters, brothers, and even their moms and receive treatment together, so we’ve added a party element including free food and beverages and giveaways,” states Wolf who has worked in aesthetic medicine for over seven years.

The medical spa will be hosting a Botox/Filler Party on April 19th, just in time for Mother’s Day.

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Introducing SpaRahRah!

By David Edwards – Vice President, SpaRahRah

We’re very excited to introduce you to SpaRahRah!, the only social commerce (or group deal) marketing vehicle dedicated exclusively to the spa, fitness, salon, and wellness markets. SpaRahRah!, which debuted in New York City in October, is now offering local deals to spa and wellness enthusiasts in five cities (NY, LA, Boston, Philadelphia, and greater Miami) and has also launched SpaRahRah! Travel, the first social commerce offering focused 100% on spa, fitness, and wellness-oriented travel deals. We are gratified that SpaRahRah! has been enthusiastically received by merchants and consumers alike as a true innovation in social commerce due to the vertical targeting of the spa and wellness markets – and the huge volume of high-quality consumers that come to SpaRahRah! through SpaFinder to learn about spas, salons, fitness, and wellness providers.

It’s important to remember that Social Commerce 1.0 ended at the end of 2010, and we are now in Social Commerce 2.0, which is evolving rapidly. Consumers are no longer impressed by just any deal – they want personalized, compelling deals, special packages, and hard to access, exclusive locations.

At SpaFinder, we are also seeing three major trends in response to both consumer and merchant demand.


-Hyper local/mobile apps that geo-target consumers

-Verticalization (OpenTable in Restaurant, DoodleDeals in the Mom and Kid space, SpaFinder’s SpaRahRah! in spa and wellness)

Business owners are also demanding that group deals prove they are profitable by delivering new and repeat/high-value customers.

Please stay tuned for a SpaFinder announcement about a special webinar on Social Commerce when we will discuss the profitability factor and how you can make social commerce work for you – rather than you just working for the deal providers.

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Deals Gone Wild

SpaFinder’s 2011 Spa Trend Report forecasts that the group buying & online deals craze is here to stay…but big changes are on the horizon. Remember when coupons were unfashionable things people snipped out of the paper? Or, when spas didn’t even consider using the term “deal”?
Well, put an “e-” or “group” in front of “coupon,” and you have the hottest Internet craze to date, poised to accelerate at an even more dizzying pace going forward.  Here we explain what changes you can expect to see in the year ahead and which ones impact the spa industry.
Online group-buying deals and flash sales have suddenly burst onto the global scene, and the old-fashioned “deal” has morphed into a hip online industry. With spa and wellness deals a mainstay of generic sites like GroupOn or LivingSocial (where roughly 20% of total deals are spa-related), it’s a sure sign that spa-going has achieved massive, mainstream traction.
The phenomenon is mushrooming globally, with 500-plus major group-buying sites estimated worldwide. North America alone has over 130 “daily deal” sites, including first-mover GroupOn and LivingSocial, the DealList, Yelp, BuyWithMe, etc. The UK has its Groupolas and Wowchers; Spain has Groupalias; Australia has Jumponits, Scoopons, and Spreets; China has QQTuans and Meituans; Thailand has Ensogos and Sanook Coupons; and Singapore has AllDealsAsia. Dozens of sites cater to a single city. And look for major expansion efforts by the powerhouses: GroupOn is already moving into places like Hong Kong, Singapore, Philippines, Taiwan, and China. 
With so many spa deals (treatments, yoga classes, even Botox) being blasted into email inboxes, there has been one extraordinary effect: Millions of people now are expanding their spa/wellness horizons, trying new spas and experiences they wouldn’t have without the “50%-75% off.”


BIA Kelsey Research projects that spending on “daily deals” in the U.S. alone will approach $4-$6 billion by 2015, up from $873 million in 2010. And with so many companies backed by hundreds of millions in venture capital, deals will certainly remain a huge deal in 2011. Here is what we see ahead for the spa consumer and industry: 


·    Consolidation: Consumers will still have an overwhelming number of sites to follow, but a “dot-deal” shakeout (on the dot-com model) looms, in part because of an avalanche of similar and “cookie-cutter” sites, along with players like GroupOn marching across the globe buying and re-branding local deal sites. Branding and meaningful differentiation will become important factors in determining the “shakeout” winners.

·    More personalized and spa-specific deals: Spa deals have typically been thrown in between blow-out specials on lube jobs or “two hours of whitewater river rafting,” but new personalization science/software, and the rise of luxury and spa-specific platforms like SpaFinder’s SpaRahRah or Gilt City, will deliver discriminating spa-goers more relevant deals, even “curated” by experts. With the more exclusive customer targeting, higher-end spas (who avoid mob deals like the plague) will jump in to offer more luxury and unique experiences far beyond the $39 massage/facial. For many, the spa deal quest will evolve beyond the “rock-bottom price at any old place,” to seeking (and finding) credible, real values (i.e., $130 for $300 worth of spa services) at a location you actually dream of visiting.

·    More manageable, exclusive deals: “Flash-mob” deals that have a small day spa selling 5,000 massages have led to well-publicized gripes by both businesses and consumers (no appointments, short-shrift service, etc.), leaving spas so overwhelmed that their businesses are jeopardized. Look for the parameters of deals to become more exclusive, flexible and manageable.

·    Location-based and mobile “deals on the spot”: With location-based powerhouses like Facebook, Google (especially after their recent, failed attempt to buy GroupOn) and Yelp getting in on the action, deals will soon be even more ubiquitous online, as well as headed to your mobile phone. Right around the bend: A spa-seeker launches a mobile app, finds real-time deals in that area, clicks and buys the coupon and then strolls into the spa to redeem.

·    Retention and engagement: In 2010 spas embraced group-deals to attract new customers, but in 2011 there will be a much more intense focus on how to retain them, with new tools, training and technology to engage customers after the hordes rush in.

·    Deal fatigue: Look for some consumer push back, especially from the spa enthusiast, who is, after all, seeking stress reduction.  Ultimately for them, having a regular spa appointment with a favorite therapist at a familiar spa will trump the few dollars saved and the energy needed to engage in deal frenzy.

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Get Ready! May Is Melanoma Awareness Month

Melanoma AwarenessMay is Melanoma Awareness Month and as most of our spa partners know, SpaFinder is a longtime supporter of the cause.  SpaFinder’s Melanoma Initiative has been our main philanthropic cause for several years, after our spa industry colleague and friend Alex Szekely, former president of the Golden Door and Rancho La Puerta, died of melanoma at the age of 44. SpaFinder President Susie Ellis was inspired to make it SpaFinder’s mission to educate others about melanoma awareness and prevention.

"I Will Reflect" Melanoma Awareness BraceletsSpaFinder’s “I Will Reflect” melanoma bracelets continue to grow in popularity. Bracelet sales have reached over 30,000 within the last few years, with proceeds going toward melanoma research. The “I Will Reflect” bracelet has a clear wristband that turns purple when exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light, reminding the wearer to apply sunscreen or find some shade.

What is Melanoma?
Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer. The disease begins in skin cells called melanocytes. These cells make melanin, which gives skin its pigment and also protects deep layers of the skin from the sun’s UV rays.  When skin receives too much UV light, melanocytes may begin to grow abnormally and become cancerous melanoma.

SpaFinder urges you to spread the word to your clients, friends, and family about the dangers of melanoma, which accounts for more than 65,000 new cases a year — and claims the lives of 11,000 of those diagnosed. It is with early detection that this disease can be stopped.

What SpaFinder is doing:

  • Offering the “I Will Reflect” bracelet for consumers and spa partners to raise awareness about early melanoma detection & prevention.
  • Spotlighting spa partners who offer treatments, events, and initiatives for Melanoma Awareness on the Club Spa blog, Facebook, and Twitter.
  • Planning editorial features on the Club Spa blog including:
    • Sunless Tanning Spa Treatments and DIY Sunless Tanning Products
    • “Share Your Melanoma Story” open forum on the blog, aimed at creating an open space for visitors to share their experiences
    • Spotlight on The Big C – Laura Linney’s character on the new Showtime drama has melanoma
    • Sunscreens, makeup and lip balms that protect
    • SpaFinder will be making an annual donation towards melanoma awareness
    • We are offering our SpaFinder’s Melanoma Initiative as a great resource to our spa partners and consumers to educate them on prevention and tips.

What you can do:

  • Encourage your massage therapists and estheticians to discuss sun safety with clients.  It is also a good tie-in to selling your own sunscreens.  Along those lines, it is a good idea to display your sunscreens prominently and let it be known (through signage, etc.) that your business supports the Melanoma Awareness Initiative.
  • Offer the Melanoma “I Will Reflect” Bracelets to your customers as a gift or for purchase.
  • Hold an event related to Melanoma Awareness.
  • Link to SpaFinder’s Melanoma Initiative on your website to provide a resource to your customers.  Our page is chockfull of information, including:

How to Spot Melanoma
Melanoma Prevention Tips

Are You at Risk

Link & Resource

To find out more about the SpaFinder Melanoma Initiative and to purchase SpaFinder’s “I Will Reflect” bracelet,  contact Katelyn Franklin at, or visit

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