Make Your Hydro-Treatments Pay!

Make Your Hydro-Treatments Pay!
Douglas Preston
hydrotherapy treatment strategies
Step 1: What is your goal?
Yep, you need a goal, and not a vague fuzzy goal such as, “I want to have a good hydro clientele.” We need more.

First of all, assuming that we’re going to buy this equipment no matter what, we need to know why we’re getting into this service area. If it’s to make more money, then we’ll need to look into the cost of each treatment, find a breakeven point per service, and then price the services to make money beyond that. How much should you charge? Find that breakeven point first, check out your competition, and then price your services above both. Anybody who’s not planning to be the best spa in your area? No? Then charge like you’re the best. You can’t realistically expect to be the highest quality spa and the low cost leader at the same time. Just go ahead and allow yourself to make some money, please.

So, we want to make more money through superior hydrotherapy services, right? The next question then is:

Step 2: Who is your target customer?
Oh yeah, the client. Remember him or her? The one breathlessly waiting outside before we even open who’s savvy enough about these services to want to hop into that tub or on the table for a little healing rain? What will get customers into your spa for these specialty treatments and keep them rescheduling for more? What results will they be expecting? We don’t really know for sure, do we?

To keep your hydrotub and Vichy equipment spouting water, you’ll need to be very clever in making sure that you’re appealing to the right consumer. There are two types of spa users that you will be serving most often: the dyed-in-the-wool, just gotta have it, Spa Enthusiast, and the gift certificate-waving Spa Package Pamperling. Each of these spa visitors have their own unique way of utilizing your services, and each represent a very different kind of business opportunity for you. Let’s examine them closely and see how we can make the most of their visits with us.

Spa Enthusiast
Get down on your knees and worship this person! She (I’ll say she) is the most lucrative and rewarding client you can possibly find. Treat her like gold! This lovely creature loves your spa, loves your services, and wouldn’t dream of going anywhere else for her treatments. She doesn’t need to be reminded hourly that she has an appointment with you–she can barely wait until she comes back in! She buys all of her spa products from you without any coaching, rarely if ever returns a purchase, and loves to experiment with your new arrivals. And fun? This woman is an absolute joy to work with! Why can’t they all be just like her? She’s healthy, a true believer in personal care, and is current on all the latest techniques for keeping her face and body beautiful, just like her close friends whom she refers to you. This client is the ultimate calling card for your business, and you can find her if you look carefully enough.

Step 3: Actively market your hydro services.
How to get this customer interested in your hydrotherapy program? Speak directly to her in your marketing efforts. She’s not a typical bargain hunter but loves an unexpected deal or perk. Charge her top dollar but deliver nothing but the best that you have, and deliver on it consistently. Tell her what to do and she’ll do it. If toning and firming of the body’s skin is what she wants to achieve, then give her a program that promotes those results. Treatment series coupled to a faithful home care routine is a must for this woman, as is maintaining a properly kept appointment schedule with you. Don’t be afraid to take a proactive approach with her–she’s there for the results and you are the professional that’s advising her. But remember, be as serious about what is needed to get treatment results as a nutritionist would be about the behavior needed to reduce weight. The same goes for all of the other benefits your hydro equipment is designed to produce. Believe in it, talk about it everywhere, schedule and lead your clients, and earn a wonderful reputation for great results and sterling professionalism; your hydrotub is not an amusement park ride.

Spa Package Pamperling
This is the life-giving blood of any new or established spa business. They come in every size, age, and enthusiasm about the role of a spa in their life. They are less likely to see the spa as a serious or affordable routine for themselves, but rather are there for a little “pampering”. Pampering is that scary, hard-to-recognize result that is so much taken for granted in the spa business.

One thing is certain: the Pamperling has come to the spa because either she or some kind-hearted soul wanted her to have a day of sheer personal indulgence, and it’s unlikely that they don’t really know what to expect from the spa beyond something unforgettable. And that’s exactly what you’ll give them by recommending your hydro services!

Step 4: Package your plan.
This is the golden opportunity to make those hydrorooms splash with pamper-making magic! While the Spa Enthusiast will likely follow your recommendations for good self care and thus partake of your hydro programs, the Spa Package Pamperling is less likely to reschedule, less likely to make a significant product purchase, and much less likely to articulate the benefits of “pampering” in a way that will lead to the getting of more of it. Probably another gift certificate will be needed to see her again, and that for another one-day-a-year pamperfeast. Your spa packages need to be a marvelous way to introduce new customers to new services, and hopefully get them to reschedule for more. That means you should design your spa package programs to include a healthy tour of your various exotic offerings. Who wouldn’t love a relaxing and toning hydrotreatment followed by a skin smoothing sea salt exfoliation under the Vichy rain? Here’s an example of a spa fantasy experience:

Water Music Rejuvenation Package
This unique and totally relaxing spa experience is a wonderfully refreshing escape for the mind and body! Your program begins with 45 minutes of sheer heaven in our warm and invigorating French Hydrotub where you’ll be pleasantly massaged by an array of air and water jets while immersed in seaweed-rich marine extracts and aromatic oils. You’ll then be guided to our Vichy spa where skilled hands will gently massage you with skin softening sea salts. Relax under a delightful rain of warm water that rinses your skin and promotes healthy circulation. Following a quiet herbal tea break, a highly trained aesthetician will treat you to a skin firming and hydrating facial treatment, where you’ll also learn some fascinating tips for taking the best care of your skin at home. What a marvelous retreat from the stresses of modern life!

So go ahead and confidently let the water flow in those spa packages. Create several different versions of them but make sure there’s some hydro in every one. This has been my instruction to many a spa and virtually all of them have found the plan extremely productive in selling these specialty services and products.

Is that all there is to it? No, there’s more.

Step 5: Service and sales training.
Let those hydro vendors off the hook and let training professionals handle this part of your business investment for you. There are some great resources available out there whose business it is to keep your spa team up-to-date on all the latest advances in hydrotherapies and treatment products. A good trainer will know how to use most types of popular hydro devices and will thoroughly understand the needs and sensitivities of the hydrotherapy client. This is no place to pinch pennies. Ask the experts for referrals to skilled spa trainers, and be sure incorporate that training into your own in-house program. This is an investment in your business; you’ll pay dearly for poor, perfunctory spa training, believe me.

An important and almost always neglected component of any meaningful spa training is in service and product sales. Why again is it that the hydro services have been moving more slowly than expected? Who exactly in the spa is actively selling customers on them? Be honest now. Are you really doing all that you can to interest spa visitors in the services they know the least about? Don’t wait for clients to discover them on their own. Many clients, even long time regulars, use a remarkably small percentage of what your service menu offers, just as most repeat restaurant customers select from a narrow portion of the dinner menu–that’s why they create “daily specials” to sell the halibut. Even then they still have to have to print specials on the menu or, better yet, instruct the wait staff to describe them in tempting ways. The same goes for you and your spa staff if you want to attract a greater number of your customers to your specialty hydro treatments. It’s still a developing market.

Step 6: Be focused.
My spa, Preston Wynne, removed its hydrotub (a menacingly mean-tempered machine of poor quality) after 10 years of battling with it. Service sales never grew appreciably and we needed the space for more in-demand treatments. Did the tub fail? Other than mechanically (relax, most of them are very reliable these days) no; we failed to focus on the hydrotherapy business sufficiently to make it successful. For us hydrotherapy was always a sideline to our aesthetics services around which we have built a considerable reputation for results. We just weren’t that serious about hydrotherapy, although we continue to operate a Vichy shower that has become the pivotal device in many of our body therapies. The point is, it may not be prudent to spend thousands of dollars on equipment and products with which you plan to take a “plug and play” approach. It’s not likely to benefit your business unless, perhaps, you’re a large resort operation who has the financial resources to provide marginal amenities that meet every client request. In that environment it is the availability rather than the frequent utility of specialty equipment that matters most. Unless you can afford to indulge customers on that level, you should plan to manage your hydrotherapy investment with care and dedication. This is the way to prosper in the specialty services business!

Best of luck to you!

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