It all begins with a thought and then turns into a dream that stirs feelings of excitement and anxiety. Designing your dream Spa is the most fun and creative part of the process however before decide on your dream layout, consider the financial costs and benefits you will receive.
There are two elements to Spa design: 1) designing for space allocation and flow and the nicest part 2) designing to a theme, color scheme and finishes. Both are equally as important and it is crucial that you ensure to give the correct amount of emphasis to each of the above elements.
Stay close to the reason why clients visit a Spa, this being the need for relaxation, stress relief and to correct certain skin concerns. Certain design elements will play a large part in achieving this however they will not ensure client retention or a profitable business.
The idea is to balance the two elements and to provide the most comfortable and functional environment for both your clients and staff members. Whatever design you choose make sure you are able to:
MOVE CLIENTS AROUND SMOOTHLY AND EFFICIENTLY
SELL MORE RETAIL
ALLOW FOR LARGER VOLUME OF CLIENTS
KEEP STAFF HAPPY IN THEIR OWN SPACE
GROW YOUR BUSINESS
For this issue we are going to focus on the make or break of your spa business. I cannot emphasize enough how important this area is and how much time and energy you need to put into the planning of this space.
This is the clients first visual impression of your business and should be given careful and due consideration. It is essential to have a reception desk, how big it will be depends on the number of clients it needs to service on the busiest day. It also depends on whether this desk will be used for check-in and check-out and reservations. The dream Spa reception area would include a check-in desk, a check-out desk and a separate reservations department which would be kept in a back office free from the busy front desk activities and noise. Keep retail visible and preferably to the right side of the reception desk as this is the side people tend to gravitate towards when entering a business.
The entrance should allow clients to sit and see the retail offering while they are waiting they should not be moved immediately from the reception area to a separate waiting area where there is no possibility to book more treatments, ask about certain services or even make a purchase while waiting for their therapist.
Whilst many of you don’t think that retail is crucial to the spa business I can assure and promise you that NO spa business will be sustainably profitable without a major emphasis on retail sales. Also why not change your mind set and rather think about the retail part of the experience as completing your guest experience and ensuring they take home some type of maintenance till their next visit. Retail must contribute a minimum of 30% of your total business turnover and I prefer to work with 40% retail contribution. Remember one thing: YOUR GUEST IS PURCHASING SKIN CARE, the question is WHO ARE THEY PURCHASING IT FROM???
If you can make a consultation area either as part of the reception area or linked to the reception area be sure to include it. A semi private area for the therapist and guest to consult is important but not a deal breaker as the treatment room can be used as a totally private consultation area too. Careful planning in terms of furniture positioning in this space is crucial as it can ruin a great consultation experience if for example the sun shines directly into your guests eye whilst consulting with the therapist.
Take the guess work out of the Spa journey you offer your clients. They should be able to see the reception area as soon as they arrive and thereafter the journey to the change rooms should be as quick and effortless as possible. Once the client has changed into your Spa outfit make sure the treatment room can be found easily and access to all the facilities is not too far away. Please please please try to make sure that no public places have to be passed between the change rooms and the treatment rooms. I understand that sometimes the shape of your space is not that easy to work so unless you are trying to accommodate wheelchairs try avoid having reception or public areas exposed to guests in their spa attire.
Don’t forget to create good flow for support functions in the spa such as allowing technicians to get to equipment to service it, moving dirty linen to the laundry room, getting stock to treatment rooms and receiving orders from suppliers. Try to plan this as carefully as you can. Most of these functions probably need to pass the reception area at some point in time so plan when this time will be and how it will implicate the spa guest.
I cannot stress enough how important this stage is of your business development. I would recommend that you spend a lot of time on this stage, show the plans to as many people as you can who have a knowledge of this business, your therapists who will be working in the business and very importantly an experienced spa/salon consultant all of which can give valuable input.
In conclusion I would like to wish you a truly unforgettable and exciting journey when planning and designing your spa business and remember two things: every square meter of space must be profitably designed and if you are not sure, call in an expert Spa consultant.
You are welcome to email me on Marisa@thespaconsultants.co.za with any comments, feedback and queries.