How do you know if adopting a new trend will be a great added-value experience for your customers and boost your business’s revenues, or become an unsuccessful expense?
Marketing expert Angie Petkovic tells you more
From the dangerous and potentially harmful “vampire facial” to the strange and somewhat creepy fish pedicure, we can all name at least one trend that arrived, but ultimately didn’t conquer. At the same time, it’s not hard to list examples like gel polish manicures, to see that some trends will be profitable and may even become a staple of every spa menu. So how can you spot the good ones and use them to build your reputation?
I always advise to be cautious of adopting trends. Sure, some things may get a lot of press coverage and build a following, but will that actually convert to pounds for your business? Given the financial and reputational implications of adopting a trend, the first thing to do is take a step back and look at the relevance of the trend to your business and your clients. Consider whether this is a service you would even like to provide to your clients?
Once you’ve identified a trend you love, you’ll need to look at the cost versus benefits of taking it on. It’s hard for to adopt a trend and immediately see new customers flocking to your spa as a result. Instead, you need to focus on enhancing the experience for existing customers first, generating word of mouth promotion as a result.
So, what should you do before adopting a trend? Here are some things to consider:
- Do you actually like the trend? If you don't, don’t bother with it.
- Can you adapt it to your customers? You can’t miss the fact that the current global trend is wellness, or wellbeing. Unlike other trends, which are limited to specific treatments, this is a trend you can adopt and adapt, using it to create signature treatments. From personalised fitness classes to treatments for diet and digestive health or technology-free areas, there are plenty of options that can enhance your reputation, while still being ‘on-trend’.
- Consider the size of the market: research the statistics on the current performance of the trend in the market and the potential income it can provide, particularly in your location and for your clientele. This will give a very good idea as to whether or not you can compete with other industry providers for this service.
- Will your staff need training on this? Some trends will require you to train and develop staff. Not only is there a time and cost implication here, you will also need to look at the availability of training courses and identify how long staff will need to train. To keep up-front costs to a minimum, you might want also want to consider bringing in an external resource, such as a nutritionist, to add credibility without training costs. This gives you the added advantage of cross-selling your databases too.
- Can you pass on the costs? Some trends will be necessary to incorporate even if there is a cost attached, for example updating your thermal area at some stage. The cost of this isn’t something you can directly pass on to clients, so instead the focus is on improving the visitor experience in a bid to improve retention and increase new and repeat visits. Similarly, you will need to recoup the costs for the adoption of a specific treatment, so you’ll have to work out whether you can recover costs and make a profit within your existing menu.
- Keep an eye on the competition: in some cases you will need to adopt a trend to keep up with competition (like in the case of gel nails) and ensure you services are still relevant and sought-after. In certain cases however, knowing if your competition is adopting new trends will also identify when it is best for you not to. For example, if all other spas in your local area are introducing a juice bar, it may be best for you not to, and to instead look for something that will be unique to your spa, to drive demand.
Something you should always take into account when considering adopting a trend is what your loyal customers are looking for. Ask your existing clients to complete a survey identifying where you could improve, tell them about new trends in spas and salons in the UK to see what their thoughts on them are, and ask which trends they think would be suitable for you to add to your business.
Current health and wellbeing trends include offering signature wellbeing treatments and catering for specific dietary requirements. How long each of these and other global trends will last is anyone’s guess. However, if your business can create a unique and interesting experience for guests, it’s likely you’ll be able to build and sustain a demand regardless of whether a particular phenomenon is in fashion or not.
Angie Petkovic is the managing director of Apt PR, a UK marketing and PR agency whose clients include spas and other business across the beauty, hospitality, leisure and tourism industries
*Image credit: OPI