The global spa industry is expected to grow to more than $185 billion by 2030 as more consumers focus on their physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing.
Current trends include greater diversity in spa services with multi-day retreats, sound baths, mindfulness sessions, crystal healing, and light therapy. Along with new options for extra attention and pampering, spa guests also want greater convenience, like more flexible booking opportunities and payment options.
But which tactics lead to measurable positive business outcomes? Industry benchmarks can help answer this question.
In the 2023 Beauty and Wellness Benchmark Report, Zenoti shares key findings from data analysis of salons, spas, and medspas across the U.S. and Canada – including a comparative view of membership-based spas vs. non-membership-based spas. The report focuses on three achievement levels: top performers (top 10%), high achievers (top 25%), and the industry average.
Insights from the report can help spa owners, managers, and therapists see how they stack up against average and top-performing spas – and see the strategies that can lead to growth and improvement.
Here are four of the key findings for spas from the 2023 report.
1. Higher revenue at membership-based spas
Data reveals that membership-based spas with above-average revenue earn more than comparable non-membership-based spas.
In fact, the higher the revenue, the greater the impact of the membership model. In 2022, top-performing spas (the top 10% of earners) had 22% higher revenue than their non-membership peers. High-achieving (the top 25%) membership spas earned 6% more than high achievers that don't offer memberships.
However, non-membership spas often show greater results in specific tactical areas. For instance, they successfully implement bundle selling at a higher rate – yet earn less revenue overall.
This may be due to non-membership businesses focusing on upsell and add-on opportunities. But more important, it illustrates the powerful, reliable outcomes of memberships: recurring guest revenue, higher visit frequency, and customer loyalty. All with less effort per visit.
How to get started with memberships
Hoping to implement a membership program at your spa? First, consider your objectives. Do you want to focus most on frequency of appointments, greater staff utilization, or something else? Your goals are the starting point for the type of memberships you should create for spa guests.
If you hope to achieve more appointment frequency per customer, setting up a certain number of visits within a particular timeframe may help. Similarly, a membership program that promotes add-on treatments and services can help boost utilization.
No matter your primary objective, you can create a membership program to match.
2. Better tips and commission opportunities
As important as overall revenue metrics and benchmarks are, it’s equally valuable to understand know how each provider can maximize revenue – and, in turn, earn higher tips and commission.
That must start with spas optimizing providers’ earning opportunities -- the key to retaining great talent. That means keeping each service provider busy throughout the day and giving them the information and technology to boost their invoice totals: client preferences, add-on recommendations, service upsells, and easy rebooking.
Here again, the membership model shows a marked advantage in terms of average monthly tips per location. In the high achiever category, membership-based spas receive nearly double the tips of those in non-membership-based spas. The industry average is just as fascinating, showing that providers received a whopping 4.3 times the tips of their non-membership peers.
The psychology of higher tipping
Why would spa members tend to tip more than general spa clients?
It could be they view the extra cost of membership as a special investment – and feel more motivated to reward staff members for their attention. From a practical standpoint, members have already paid for their monthly costs before they arrive for service, a situation by which they're likely to tip more after treatment.
Also, consider that membership brings with it special benefits such as priority booking and discounts on spa treatments. These added benefits can also motivate guests to tip higher as a means of showing appreciation.
Since many memberships also include retail discounts, clients may be incentivized to spend more on products -- leading to higher commisions for staff members.
3. The cost of no-shows
Wellness professionals everywhere understand the cost of last-minute cancellations and no-shows: lost revenue, underutilized staff, and no tips or commissions.
At the industry average, membership-based spas see considerably fewer no-shows than non-membership-based businesses. In fact, for every $46 (the average spa invoice) the average membership spa loses to no-shows, the average non-membership spa loses nearly $120.
Filling in the gaps
As seen in the data, spa businesses can learn from the top performers, who have found ways to reduce or eliminate no-shows. How do they do it?
First, no-show numbers near zero are a sure sign of online booking. Zenoti data analysis shows that the higher the online booking rate, the lower the no-show rate.
Online booking allows spa management to build safeguards into the booking process. For example, a spa can share their cancellation fee policy during online booking, a strategy that encourages clients to reschedule instead of cancel. Spas can also ensure some payment for a no-show or cancellation by requesting clients’ credit card information and storing it on file for billing purposes -- which can then be charged for a cancellation or no-show fee.
Spas can also offer more touchpoints to clients in between visits, with automated email reminders and two-way texting keeping upcoming appointments top-of-mind with clients.
Finally, clients who purchase spa memberships tend to be more diligent about keeping appointments to get full value from their investment.
4. Best-in-industry staff utilization
Every beauty and wellness business wants to see optimal utilization - making sure no open slot goes unfilled.
Data shows that membership-based spas enjoy the highest utilization rate of in the industry, with an average of 51% - just ahead of barbershops at 49%.
The top 10% of non-membership-based spas also show impressive utilization, with rates nearly 2.3 times the industry average in the same category. High achieving non-membership-based spas have a utilization rate 1.6 times higher than average.
To achieve these results, spa businesses may employ multiple tactics including intelligent scheduling, consistency in rebooking, personalized marketing campaigns, and even same-day availability notifications to regular clients or spa members.
Other utilization strategies
Top-performing spas tend to leverage technology in ways that improve utilization. Here are a few examples.
Scenario: During online booking, a client is unable to book at their desired date or time.
Strategy: The online software automatically suggests another location, keeping the client within the network at their preferred date and timeslot.
Scenario: While booking via the spa's mobile app, a guest is distracted and leaves the booking unfinished.
Strategy: If the spa has enabled an 'abandoned cart' reminder feature, the client receives a friendly reminder to finish booking the appointment.
Scenario: The front desk is swamped, calling guests on the wait list to let them know their preferred time slot is available.
Strategy: To boost efficiency and utilization, the spa allows guests to add their name to an automated waitlist, via mobile app or online booking tool. When a slot opens, the system automatically recognizes the next person on the list and sends out a text message, to which the client can respond within 20 minutes.
For today's spa businesses, benchmark data can shine a light on the spa industry as a whole - and help each business understand its place in the market. By noting the top trends and tactics, spa owners and managers can compare their current state against similar businesses, paving the way to better objectives and results.