Setting up shop at an event is nothing new for the spa industry. But many spas are taking the pop-up spa to new levels by bringing their treatments everywhere from hospitals to yachts to beach cabanas to law offices as a way to grow their clientele, create buzz for their business and add a new revenue stream.
“A pop-up spa is not guaranteed to generate a profit, but it can. It’s a fun opportunity to get our spa in front of potential new clients who may just need a few minutes of pampering and it’s a great way for our staff to bond outside of the spa,” says Tiffany Amorosino, CEO and co-founder of Bella Santé Spa, which has three locations in Massachusetts.
That said, the pop-up might also surprise you and generate revenue, especially if you sell small gift-like products and/or gift cards. “It can be great supplemental income if you do it right,” says Bruce Schoenberg, owner of Oasis Day Spas in New York, which also serves as a pop-up spa provider in nine major metropolitan areas in the U.S.
•• CHOOSE THE VENUE WISELY
An ideal site is somewhere with heavy foot traffic of people who enjoy beauty and wellness products and practices.
“Luxury hotels that don’t offer spa services or retail stores in our market are great places,” says Amorosino. Nancy Reagan, CEO and creator of Bella Reina Spa in Delray Beach, Fla., says,”Anywhere that has a room or a connection of rooms can become a pop-up spa. You can even do a pop-up spa with tents. We’ve done them at parties and events, in clients’ houses, out by pool cabanas on the ocean, and also on yachts.”
However, a business with a built-in clientele of large staff teams in need of some pampering is an equally lucrative option. “We target events and venues where we know our target audience will be, and we also do about 100 staff appreciation days a year, working with hospitals, hotels and local businesses,” says Schoenberg.
•• SET THE MOOD
Draw up a floor plan of what you want your pop-up to look like and make a list of furniture or decorations you may have to rent. “Try to bring as much from the spa as possible – especially POS products that people may want to purchase,” says Amorosino.
The key to a great pop-up, says Reagan, is creating the mood. “We try to use dividers (even material) between the clients to separate the services. The challenge is taking your setting and converting it into a blissful, peaceful place. For example, it’s awesome to have the ocean backdrop, but you cannot have lawn mowers or tree trimmers around that day,” she explains.
Don’t forget the details. “Create a spa atmosphere. We like to serve tea, water, and snacks, plus have music, aromatherapy and hot towels,” adds Reagan.
Stay on point visually. If your spa colors are pink and black, your pop-up spa should be pink and black too. “Think of your spa and what your brand means to customers. You try to recreate that in the pop-up,” says Reagan. And of course, make sure your spa signage and logo are visible.
•• PLAN THE TREATMENTS
Ask what the client wants first and then plan accordingly. Most pop-ups are a minimum of three hours with a sampling of mini-services, such as chair or table massage, hand and/or foot massage, reflexology, mini-manicure, eyebrow shaping and sometimes mini-facials.
“Interview the client thoroughly to see why they’re doing it, what they want, and how many employees they plan to treat,” says Schoenberg. “If they have 50 employees, we guestimate that about 80 percent might participate if it’s an open-minded type of company (60 percent if it’s a law firm) and calculate that we’ll need three therapists for the three hours at $95 per therapist plus 20 percent gratuity.” If the pop-up is less than three hours, Oasis charges more — $115 per therapist plus applicable service tax and 20 percent gratuity.
If you’re having a pop-up at an evening party or event, guests are likely done up with their makeup on. “So, you probably want to stay away from any sort of facial treatments or waxing and focus on something else like nails or massage,” says Amorosino.
•• SELL AND RETAIN
Pick a few key small retail items and gift cards to sell at the pop-up. “The retail is very limited for the pop-up spa. We always connect at least one product to one service, such as hand cream for the hand/arm massage,” says Reagan.
For retention, Schoenberg sends out his most personable therapists who know how to market. “They hand them a brochure, a voucher to encourage them to come back, and we get their email address on site. We’re really getting paid to market to their employees!” he says.