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Your complete guide to spa management success

Everything you need to know about running a successful spa. From bookings to employee management, to choosing the perfect software.

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When you’re a spa guest, it’s easy to go with the flow of the atmosphere and just relax. But spa management is probably not as calm as you’d like. You need to keep on top of staff matters and scheduling, appointment volume, marketing, inventory, rooms, equipment, financials...  it can be overwhelming.

We’d like to help make it easier. In this comprehensive guide, we explore how the right spa management strategies and technologies can set your spa up for success.

Like any business, setting goals is imperative for effective spa management, so let’s start there. A tried-and-tested method is to make your goals SMART, meaning: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. This is a great practice to ensure goals are easier to stick to. Now, outline exactly what you’re looking to accomplish and how you’ll know when you’ve achieved your goal.

Making your spa the best it can be

As a spa owner, how do you measure success? Total revenue? Number of guests through the door?  Year-end balance sheets?

You’ll often find that improving one area of your spa business will have a positive effect on other metrics too. More five-star reviews can attract more new guests, which can, in turn, increase your revenue. As you create your top-level goals, keep this correlative relationship in mind.

To get you started, consider these five key goals for successful spa management. They are essential for the current spa environment, improving your guest experience, and the back-end operations of your organization:

1. Ensure a seamless, convenient guest experience

Consider every step of your guest journey – which often starts days or even weeks before someone enters your business. Your spa management software is the key to ensuring an easy, appealing experience from appointment scheduling, to the visit, to aftercare communications.

Online booking

An online booking system acts as your 24/7 digital receptionist, giving guests the option to book services from any smartphone, tablet, or PC. The best spa management software should offer the right online booking functionality: staying flexible while minimizing the risk of errors.

A clunky bookings process can interrupt a guest from scheduling a visit, resulting in fewer conversions – and dissatisfied guests. Online booking should be simple and intuitive, and support booking multiple guests and treatments easily. The system should also offer intelligent upselling opportunities for guests to explore, driving a higher average ticket and additional review.

To truly optimize the online booking experience, add another personalization with a system that remembers guest’s preferences and booking history. When they return to book again, the online experience is customized and quicker.

Read more: 3 Surprising benefits of online booking for salons and spas (when it's done right!)

Digital forms

If your spa needs to collect information about your guests before offering treatments – skin type, health issues, any required signatures – forms are essential. But pen-and-paper forms slow down the check-in process, aren’t easily accessible, and result in piles of paper.

Instead, spa management software should streamline the process by sending digital forms to guests prior to their visit. They can respond on their time, from the comfort of their own home, and your providers will be fully prepared when their guests arrive.

Organized, secure handling of personal data is essential to maintain trust with your guests. Storing your spa data in the cloud keeps it accessible from every location and safe from computer crashes, theft, flood, and fire. See more reasons why cloud software is necessary for salon and spa success

Easy check-ins

One key aspect of a smooth guest experience is enabling guests to check themselves in. With spa management software doing the work, you can offer a kiosk setting by way of a digital tablet near your entrance. Even better, a mobile app can automatically prompt guests to check in online when they arrive at your spa.

When technology takes care of guest check-ins, your front desk staff can focus on helping guests feel welcome and driving additional revenue. Here are six more ways in which spa software can elevate the guest experience.

Guest details

It’s nearly impossible to deliver a personalized guest experience if you don’t know about your guests. Your spa management software must maintain comprehensive details about your guests – securely – including their service history and preferences. Your staff, especially providers, should have quick access to everything from a guest’s preferred name and how they like their coffee, to past medical history, such as an injury that might affect a massage or procedure.

Spa story

Brazilian Beauty wanted an AI-powered, mobile-friendly spa management system for their 20-plus locations. They have implemented a touchless check-out process directly from the treatment room, creating an easy experience for providers and their guests. Watch this video to find out more:

2. Attracting new guests to your spa

Reaching more potential guests helps keep your appointment book full and increase your revenue. With a complete software solution, you can implement strategies focused on bringing more new guests to your door.

Referrals

A personal recommendation – from one trusted source to another – is the most effective form of marketing. Your guests choose your spa brand because they love what you do; turn them into your most ardent advocates by creating a referral program that incentivizes them to bring others along.

With the right spa management software, you can create a digital referral scheme. The program steps can be managed via smartphone, and automated reminders help you capitalize on every referral opportunity, such as after a positive review.

Not only does a digital referral program reduce paper waste, but it also helps your spa stay front-of-mind with your biggest fans, your incentive program always available in their pockets.

How and when should you ask a guest for a referral? Check out Salon and spa referral marketing 101

Online reviews

77 percent of individuals regularly read reviews when browsing for local businesses so ensure your five-star ratings are plentiful and visible. Use your spa management software system to automatically send review requests after every visit. With regular, automated requests, you’ll position your brand to capture as much guest feedback as possible – and gather more online reviews in the process.

This can help your spa in three ways: 1.  Positive online reviews are one of the most influential aspects of online search, telling prospective guests about your business. 2. You can make your standout reviews part of your brand by highlighting them on your website and social media pages. 3. Guest feedback is a valuable resource of information. You’ll get useful insights into how your spa and providers are performing – and what areas of your business could use some improvement.

3. Nurturing and retaining spa staff

As The Great Resignation has taught us in 2021 and 2022, it’s important for businesses of any size to create a rewarding, enriching workplace for staff. For your spa, this comes down to three basic elements: empowering your providers to do what they love – and earn more money doing it; and simplifying the administrative and work processes for all.

Spa management software should enable all of that for your teams, with transparent insight into their performance, information to help them satisfy guests (and earn more tips), and simple ways to manage and optimize their schedules.

See how Sarah Johns, Spa Manager at Renew Laser & Skincare, motivates her team to deliver a five-star service every day.

Scheduling management

Spa management software gives providers convenient access to their schedules via their smartphones or tablets. In just moments, they can see a quick overview of their day before arriving at the spa. The software also offers each provider a streamlined workflow by ensuring that guest check-ins, details, and preferences land in their handheld devices. Every provider can be perfectly prepared for each new guest.

A common staff complaint is that big gaps in the day mean missing out on potential earnings. Tools such as the Zenoti AI-powered booking system can boost utilization by working intelligently to fill any gaps when new bookings come in. More providers benefit from an efficiently filled schedule throughout their day.

KPIs and performance tracking

Keeping your providers motivated, and recognizing their hard work, are important for retention and overall business performance. To help staff reach their goals, set and track KPIs (key performance indicators) directly in your spa business software – and let providers track their progress. This level of transparency can be incentive on its own, as providers strive to reach goals with their peers.

With the Zenoti platform, providers can access their performance progress via their own smartphones. When establishing provider KPIs, pick metrics that are most important for your business performance – for example a provider’s average star rating, average invoice, or retail commission. Then, set each as a SMART goal.

Read more about securing a motivated and engaged spa team.

Training

Did you know that 94 percent of employees say they would stay at a company longer if it invested in helping them learn? Whether it’s junior staff looking to grow within the industry, or seasoned providers who want to perfect their craft, everyone can benefit from training. Staff will feel nurtured and supported and deliver a better experience to guests; as a result, your spa gets more rebookings and higher review ratings.

Spas on the Zenoti platform can take advantage of Zenoti University, our dedicated resource to help beauty and wellness professionals improve their skills, and further their careers and their businesses. It offers more than 100 courses on everything from elevating the guest experience to social media marketing.

4. Growing your spa business

When you have an ambitious spa business plan, it’s essential that you streamline operations to facilitate growth. Avoid business disruptions by ensuring all operations are easily scalable and transferable to new locations.

Multi-center capabilities

If your spa brand spans across multiple locations, you can use technology to manage them all from one central dashboard. Modern spa management software gives you a birds-eye view of every location and simplifies communication between centers. It centralizes guest databases, operations, financials, inventory, and marketing, so you can maintain overall control — regardless of if you manage three or three hundred locations.

A centralized system also makes it easy to add new locations as you grow. Simply install the system in any new spa, and you can quickly plug into databases, service menus, and marketing for the entire brand.

Unifying your brand

Research shows that 60 percent of millennials expect a consistent experience from brands. Chains and franchises offer an opportunity to achieve this consistency as guests can trust they’ll receive the same great service at every appointment, regardless of which location they visit. But as your spa business grows, maintaining consistency across centers becomes a challenge.

A centralized spa software solution helps with this by keeping all guest data in one place, so regardless of which location a guest steps into, staff will have all their information and preferences on hand.

Here are five reasons growing medspas upgrade their software.

5. Streamlining your spa operations

Thanks to modern technology, tasks that used to take hours of manual work can now be completed automatically, freeing up your front desk and providers to focus on delivering a great spa experience.

Automated messaging

How much time does your front desk staff spend chasing no-shows and filling last-minute gaps? Let them get back to focusing on guests in the spa by automating routine communications. Use your cloud spa software to send out messages such as appointment reminders, follow up, and regular promotions.

The Zenoti platform can even anticipate gaps in your appointment book and send out automated offers to fill them, delivering a welcome boost to your revenue. Here’s how: Three Ways Spas & Salons Can Simplify Business Operations in 2021.

Check-in/out

Delight your guests by letting them bypass the front desk entirely. With the Zenoti mobile app, geofencing technology senses when a guest approaches your spa and prompts them to self-check-in on their smartphones with the touch of a button. Providers are automatically notified of their arrival, giving them the opportunity to go and welcome them personally.

You can maintain this simplicity after the appointment by empowering guests to pay through the app and simply walk out without needing to wait at the front desk.

How spa software can help you stand out from the competition

Modern spa POS systems are designed to solve many of the pain points that come with running a busy spa. They can simplify and streamline day-to-day tasks, such as appointment scheduling, sales, employee management, running reports, and engaging with guests. The best cloud spa software solutions improve operational efficiencies so you can spend more time in the spa and less behind a computer screen. They free up your front desk from repetitive admin tasks and let them shift their focus to delighting every guest and nurturing relationships.

Regardless of if you’re a seasoned spa owner or you’re thinking of starting a spa, having the right spa POS system will save you time and drive revenue. Here’s how:

1. All-in-one spa management software explained

An all-in-one cloud spa software solution keeps your appointments, financials, operations, marketing, and inventory in one place. This not only helps you save time but can also save you money compared to paying for multiple systems.

With all-in-one cloud spa software, guest interactions are recorded in every relevant part of the system – no switching between apps required. For example, when a guest pays for something, it is immediately included in your financial history and forecasts, the commissions structure for the provider that served them, and your marketing tool for promoting similar services in the future.

The right spa management solution will help you:

  • Keep your appointment book full
  • Increase guest loyalty
  • Maximize sales and profits
  • Improve staff retention
  • Discover opportunities for development

To avoid crowding at the front desk, it’s worth investing in a system that works across all devices, giving each staff member system access from the palm of their hand.

Take a look at the video below for a quick overview of Zenoti software:

2. Making software part of your spa business plan

Many of your business goals will be governed by numbers; sales, revenue, returning guests, and so on. Your spa management software is the perfect place to keep track of these and make sure you are getting ROI (return on investment) from your efforts.

Start by setting your SMART goals, then use the reporting and analytics features to track your progress. Regularly share data with your providers to engage them in your business goals and let them know their contribution matters.

3. Choosing the right spa management software

The right spa software will help you simplify the bookings process, reduce cancellations, effortlessly keep in touch with your guests, and effectively manage your operations. It’s your invisible business partner who works in the background to increase your revenue, reduce your costs, and set you up for spa success. Keep reading for six critical steps in choosing your next spa software.

Here are some key ways spa POS systems can support your spa business plan:

Simplify appointment bookings

Cloud spa software makes appointment booking effortless for both your staff and your guests. At the front end, it empowers your guests to book and reschedule appointments at their convenience. While at the back end, it applies clever AI to optimize your schedule for maximum efficiency, while seamlessly accounting for room, staff, and equipment allocation.

Offer modern payment options

Cash and card aren’t the only payment methods guests use anymore. Modern spa POS systems should also provide mobile convenience with in-app payments, touchless payments, and Google and Apple Pay. Speed up the checkout process and free up your front desk further by opting for a system that allows you to store and automatically update card details.

Access insightful analytics

Software that includes reporting and analytics gives you real-time data insights, so you always know how your spa business is performing. From sales, to marketing, to your top performing providers, spa management software offers both quick snapshots and comprehensive historical reports — allowing spa owners and managers to make business decisions with confidence and identify areas of opportunity.

Upgrade your marketing

Your spa is gathering guest data every day — from age and gender, through to preferred providers and favorite retail products. Technology gives you the spa marketing tools to turn this data into segmented campaigns that target guests at the right time with the offers and promotions most relevant to them.

Empower your staff

It's a common source of friction for providers to have to return to the front desk to keep track of their day. Use spa business software to give them quick access to everything they need on their mobile device instead, including guest details, appointments, invoices, and more.

The best spa business software will allow you to segment the system depending on job roles, so each provider gets a view of the business tailored to their requirements.

Move to the cloud

It’s now possible to manage your business operations online in ‘the cloud’. This means your spa’s business data is held and managed by your spa software company and can be securely accessed via the internet. A cloud-based POS system makes spa management a breeze as you can access your data anytime, anywhere. It allows you to keep on top of your operations and make strategic decisions for growth regardless of if you’re at home, in the office, or travelling.

This type of setup is often more cost-efficient, as most cloud spa software is optimized to use across tablets and smartphones and negates the need for bulky desktop setups. Updates and backups are managed remotely, so you don’t have to worry about downtime holding back your daily operations.

Cloud spa software is especially useful for multi-location spa brands. It enables all centers to dial in to one central platform to unify pricing, services, guest profiles and more. Your head office will be able to lead the way and deliver a consistent brand strategy across centers, while your guests can trust that they will receive the same great service at every location.

To discover even more benefits of cloud software, read our Why the cloud? eBook.

4. The power of integrated spa marketing

A great spa marketing strategy will grow your business by increasing guest loyalty, return rates, and spends. When you’re using an all-in-one business management system with integrated marketing tools, it uses your guest and appointment data to create marketing campaigns that are equally professional and effective.

Below are four ways your spa business software can support your spa marketing strategy. For a complete guide to driving revenue with effective spa marketing, take a look at these 5 Essential medspa marketing ideas.

Target the right guests

Marketing is the most effective when guests receive promotions that are personalized and relevant to them, rather than every offer being sent to your entire database. Spa management software allows you to segment guests based on age, gender, preferred providers, the date of their latest visit, or their favorite treatments and maximize campaign success and ROI

Win back lost guests

Create an automated email to win back lapsed customers with minimal effort. It’s simple: create a tempting offer and set up a rule which sends it to any guest who hasn’t visited in a specific time period. Let your cloud spa software do all the legwork and send out the email automatically any time a guest meets your chosen criteria.

Automate to save time

Consider any regular emails you might want to send out. For example, congratulating a guest on their birthday, or requesting a review after an appointment. Save your front desk or dedicated marketing person hours by automating the process. In Zenoti, you can set up the email once and let the system work in the background to ensure no birthday or milestone gets missed.

Offer digital gift cards

In a 2020 study, 44 percent of last-minute Christmas shoppers said they were planning to give gift cards or money to their loved ones. Spas are in a great position to capitalize on this trend and secure additional revenue. Offer digital gift cards for quick and easy gift giving for Christmas, birthdays, and other celebrations.

Inspired? Read 5 Must-have marketing strategies for salons & spas

Spa story

Luxury spa brand DePasquale The Spa utilized their pandemic downtime to upgrade to Zenoti. Using their new marketing and bookings tools, this single-location spa achieved nearly 5,000 bookings for their post-COVID reopening, with a 53 percent mobile and online booking rate.

Utilize cloud software to support your business operations

The right all-in-one spa software makes business management a breeze while helping you grow your brand with data-driven marketing, insightful reports, and revenue-boosting sales tools.

It brings your appointment book, POS, guest profiles, marketing, inventory, and financials all into one central dashboard to increase efficiency and productivity. By taking care of your back-end admin, it reduces pressure on the front desk and empowers staff to spend more time doing what they love.

The system collects vital business data in real-time and gives you access to clear and comprehensive reports from the palm of your hand. It can tell you about your sales, appointments, and provider performance at a glance, allowing for quick, strategic decisions on the go.

The best spa business software is designed to support some of the most common goals of growing spa brands. We’ll cover each in more detail below:

  1. Meeting rising guest expectations
  2. Leveraging data for business decisions
  3. Increasing revenue and reducing costs
  4. Transforming retail
  5. Transitioning to a new system

1. Meeting rising guest expectations

Guests expect you to deliver a beautiful and relaxing experience at every touchpoint. This includes the spa, but also digital channels such as your website, online bookings, SMS, social media, and emails. Your spa business software can help you:

  • Inspire loyalty and trust with a consistent tone of voice, messaging, colors, and imagery.
  • Communicate via SMS to ensure you reach your guests every time.
  • Minimize front desk lines and wait times
  • Deliver a personalized and consistent experience across all locations.
  • Request reviews after each visit to gather and action valuable feedback.Meet expectations for touchless transactions.
  • With Zenoti, guests can check themselves in and out, and providers can add items to their invoice – all through their own smartphones.

Spa story

Massage Heights used Zenoti to elevate their guest experience. They improved guest communications, while predicting guest behavior to delight them at every opportunity. Watch the full story:

2. Leveraging data for business decisions

Spa software systems use your business data to give you actionable insights for improvement in real-time. Equipping you with:

  • Clear and concise reports on key business metrics.
  • The insights you need to make strategic business decisions.
  • The ability to set and track spa business KPIs.
  • To get started, read our guide to choosing the right salon and spa management KPIs.
  • A view of how the business is performing across the entire organization, specific centers, or regions.
  • With Zenoti, you can also measure your performance against your peers through an industry-leading benchmarking tool:

3. Increasing revenue and reducing costs

Spa management software gives you the tools to increase guest spend and retention, while reducing overhead with improved operational efficiencies. That boost to your balance sheets can enable you to upgrade your facilities, pay your staff more, and keep growing your business.

Revenue-generating features often include:

  • Loyalty programs that encourage guests to visit more often and spend more. (did you know that 52 percent of consumers say that loyalty programs are a key reason for choosing specific brands?)
  • Automation of repetitive admin tasks, such as sending out appointment reminders.
  • Empowering employees to manage their own day from their mobile phones and increasing efficiency.
  • Identifying areas of wastage, such as gaps in provider schedules, or products running out quicker than expected. Here are 3 ways to manage pilferage at your spa or salon.

4. Transforming retail

Do you have a trusted, high-quality range of products that your guests love? Asking your providers to champion it in your retail section can boost your revenue with little investment from your end. Simplify inventory management and turn your stock into profits by:

  • Selling your retail products online by integrating your spa management solution with a webstore, such as Shopify.
  • Enable stock level alerts to ensure you never run out.
  • Manage your stock digitally with auto-generated purchase orders to make reordering swift and accurate.
  • Scan retail barcodes using smartphones for quick stock takes.
  • Manage stock between locations from one central dashboard to save time.

Spa story

With 16 locations, Skin Renewal used to have little oversight over the group’s inventory, causing backlogs and delays in stock deliveries. By switching to Zenoti, the chain centralized their inventory management, saving over 500 hours per month in the process! Here’s how.

5. Managing the transition to a new spa software

To ensure your new spa business software gets used to its full potential, you need to manage the transition carefully:

  • Get buy-in from your staff. Explain in detail how the new solution will help make their days easier and increase their commissions to ensure they are fully on board.
  • Give your providers the tools they need to familiarize themselves with the new software prior to implementing it.

Zenoti offers in-person training as well as Zenoti University, an online platform where providers and managers can learn both the software and other useful business skills at their leisure.

When 100+ location chain Massage Green wanted a software with centralized management of memberships and operations, they switched to Zenoti. Over the course of a few weeks, we helped them migrate millions of records spanning over several years, as well as train their staff. By enabling online membership and gift card sales, Zenoti contributed to over $438,000 in revenue.

Spa industry tips and trends for a post-COVID world

The global wellness market is estimated at $1.5 trillion and grows by 5-10 percent each year. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, guests are returning to their beauty routines in force and the industry is bouncing back. Zenoti benchmarking data from over 15,000 beauty and wellness businesses showed an average 15 percent increase in revenue between 2019-2021.

During the same time period, the average spend per visit in spas increased by over 27 percent, likely driven by guests looking to get more out of each appointment after a long wait. Don’t miss out on this revenue opportunity. Give guests the complete package by introducing upselling opportunities, such as a longer treatment at a discount, or retail offers to complement a service.

The spa market is going from strength to strength as the world recovers, and it’s a great time to be in, or enter, the industry. Make sure you stay on top of trends to keep your spa at the forefront of must-visit destinations:

Clean beauty

Individuals are becoming increasingly aware of the devastating environmental impact of climate change, and many are showing this through their shopping habits. In fact, 57 percent of consumers are willing to change the way they shop if it reduces the impact on the environment. At the same time, guests are more conscious of what they put in, and on their bodies, with a poll showing that nearly 50 percent of women are already using clean beauty products.

Keep reading for five beauty and wellness trends to embrace.

Mental wellness

The global mental wellness market grew by 7.2 percent during the pandemic. As a spa business, you are perfectly placed not to just look after people’s bodies, but their minds too. Emphasize the mental health benefits of your offerings and see if there are any treatments that you could add or tweak to make them more mentally helpful.

Finally, don’t just limit mental wellness to your guests – look after your providers too. Make sure you’re offering a safe environment to discuss feelings and concerns and look for input on how you can reduce stress and friction in their workday.

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Emily Martin
Zenoti Copywriter
A self-confessed bookworm with a passion for languages and weaving together words. Happiest when immersed in nature, either on horseback or skis, or curled up with a good thriller. Emily's writing focuses on sharing trends and insights impacting the beauty and wellness industry.
Cullie Poseria
Senior Product Marketing Manager, Fitness
Coming from a healthcare family, growing up as a competitive athlete, and being trained as a filmmaker, and MBA, Cullie brings diverse experience to her storytelling and digital business-to-business product marketing. Her writing focuses on sharing trends and insights from her experience in software, entertainment, wellness, and fitness.
Emily Martin
Zenoti Copywriter
A self-confessed bookworm with a passion for languages and weaving together words. Happiest when immersed in nature, either on horseback or skis, or curled up with a good thriller. Emily's writing focuses on sharing trends and insights impacting the beauty and wellness industry.

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