On My Mind - SHRINKING SERVICES: Short, Mini and Express
by Julie Register
Short: Lasting a brief time, Appearing to pass quickly, Not lengthy,
Succinct, Rudely brief, Abrupt, Inadequate, Insufficient, Lacking in length or amount, Lacking in
The Free Dictionary
A few years ago I first heard about shrinking services. Short, 20-30 minute services were one of the big marketing strategies that spas were using to fight the poor economy. Spas proclaimed:
- Maximum results in 30 minutes or less
- Our express services are perfect for a time-crunched luxury
- Mini services for your lunch break
- Short services for when you are pressed for time
- If you're in a hurry, our express spa is perfect for you
- In a rush? Select from our 25-minute menu.
At the time, I shook my head and thought that these short/mini/express services were lose-lose situations for both spa guests and spa businesses. Here's why:
From the guest's viewpoint:
- Massage: I've been told that it takes ~20 minutes just to warm up and relax enough before you can start getting the benefits of massage. Steam and sauna before a massage helps shorten that time but won't eliminate it. I question the efficacy of a massage that is only 20-30 minutes even if it's very targeted (back, for instance).
- Facials: Surely steps must be skipped to fit a facial in this short a period of time. Steam, extractions, masks? Certainly there is no time for the extra hand, foot and/or scalp massage that are often my favorite parts of the facial. How could a mini or express facial be as effective as a facial that is twice as long?
From the spa's viewpoint:
- Massage: The spa still has to clean the sheets, towels, robes, etc. that are used. No savings there. The spa still has to take the time to set up and turn the room. No savings there. The spa still uses product - massage cream, oil, etc.. Not much savings there. For almost the same amount of material and labor, they get paid significantly less.
- Facials: The spa still has to clean the sheets, towels, robes, etc. that are used. No savings there. The spa still has to take the time to set up and turn the room. No savings there. The spa still uses product - cleanser, moisturizer, etc.. Perhaps not as much - a tiny bit of savings for a skipped mask. For almost the same amount of material and labor, they get paid significantly less.
Around that time, I was introduced to a spa owner whose ideal massage consisted of getting in and getting out of the spa in 50 minutes flat. She thought the shorter the service, the better for busy people everywhere. I wondered why she even bothered going to a spa. She was incapable of understanding that someone might like to relax before and after their services and that relaxation time might actually be good for them. Accordingly, her "spa" did not appeal to me. I don't know if it appealed to other über-efficient, multi-tasking, Type-A personalities who can't spare an hour to decompress. I wonder what real value she offers her guests.
Since these short/mini/express services have come into vogue, I've been watching and testing my lose-lose opinion about them. For the most part, I stand by my conclusions.
I would love to hear from spa leaders who have data to show that short/mini/express services have been effective in improving the spa's bottom line, guest satisfaction, guest
and staff satisfaction. Do spa guests prefer these services over regular length services? Did new guests come to try these services and turn into loyal guests that purchased regular length services? Did the response to these short services justify their existence?
That's what I have to say about Short, Mini and Express Spa Services. Thanks for "listening." I am interested in what you have to say about it. Share
it with me at jar@DiscoverSpas.com.
After this article was posted, I was asked if I felt the same about express nail services.
I myself have used “express” pedicures – basically a nail trim, shaping and polish. I schedule them when my nail tech can't fit me in for a regular pedicure. The short service is just fine. But I don’t tend to think of nail services as spa services although most people do now. I think of manicures and pedicures as salon offerings and originally hadn’t really thought about including them for this article.
On My Mind Articles
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