It’s that time of year again—the holidays— busy, festive, fun—and for many people, very stressful!
As massage therapists, we have the opportunity to help our clients get through the holiday season, keep their stress levels in check, and also provide the perfect gift for them to give.
The holiday season can be a stressful time for many reasons. Maybe it’s all the extra work, shopping and wrapping, cooking, cleaning and hosting guests. Maybe it’s unhealthy family drama and dealing with relationships, or missing loved ones who have passed on.
Whatever the reasons your clients are stressed—and remember, it could be a combination of some or all of the above-mentioned stressors—you can offer a much-needed sanctuary away from it all.
To promote self-care during the holiday season, create newsletters and social media posts that let your clients know you understand what they are going through during the holidays, and invite them to take extra good care of themselves. For example:
Encourage your clients to book extra sessions between Thanksgiving and New Year’s day so they can be at their best during the holidays. To this end, customize a weekly package. Offer solutions to fit their schedule, such as a 30-minute targeted treatment, scheduling around travel or making house calls. It’s amazing how easy it is to book and rebook clients when you offer helpful suggestions from your heart.
Clients will appreciate you helping them stay on track with self-care.
Also create a few holiday-themed services for your clients and for gift certificate sales. I like to offer something for everyone, from a 30- to 45-minute back-and-neck tension reducer that focuses on the upper body with heat packs or hot stones to a half-day of a pampering. A holiday-glow package could include a salt scrub, along with facial massage and full-body massage.
It’s also fun to use seasonal fragrances like vanilla, peppermint, cranberry, orange and chocolate, whether as room aromas or in many of the holiday-specific blends available from professional suppliers. Include a take-home gift, and guess who your client will think of every time they use it?
People love something new and a little different. Keep in mind that not everything you create will be a home run, but you can always repurpose products or try something else if an offering isn’t as successful as you want it to be.
Also, think about who is working extra hard through the holiday season, and how you can market your treatments to them. Retail and restaurant employees spend long hours on their feet, dealing with tired shoppers and diners, for example. How can you accommodate these workers in your business? Consider coming in early or staying late a few days a week, or taking your massage chair to their break room or the mall for some much-needed relaxation.
Create Unique Gifts
Many companies are looking for unique gifts for their clients or employees. Put together an information packet with some great offers for buying in bulk. The reason I would recommend discounting
in this case is some of the certificates won’t be used, and the ones that are will give you the opportunity to gain a regular client.
Think medical centers and offices with 20 or more employees, make a list and get your information out there.
Giving is another wonderful way to market your business around the holidays. I gave all the teachers in my daughter’s school a 30-minute massage and gained several clients who stayed with me for years. I also gave free chair massages to the teachers at my son’s preschool one Christmas, and they loved it so much it became a regular, paid job.
You could donate gift certificates to any organization you care about, and you will be the first one they think of when they need to refer someone or want a massage. Building goodwill in your community is priceless marketing.
Of course, we can’t leave out gift certificate sales. I absolutely love gift certificates as a way to build a massage or spa business. They can bring in new clients, increase your cash-flow and help your clients with their holiday shopping. They also give you a great reason to get out there and promote your practice.
I recommend one or two low-priced ($50 to $70) options for kids to purchase for mom and to have something for anyone on a budget; two mid-priced ($80 to $200) choices and one or two high-end ($200 to $1,000) options.
For your low end, think 30-minute sessions with one or two special extras like a foot scrub or paraffin wax. Mid-priced options could be one or two full services, or a 90-minute service with extras such as hot stones and a scalp treatment. Your high- end option could be a half-day of services with a gift bag and lunch or a new service a month for the new year. (Some people will still want to purchase a basic gift certificate for a 60- or 90-minute massage, so have those available, too.)
To make your gift certificates the go-to gift, make them beautiful with a gift bag or box, cards, small spa products or samples, tea and chocolates. For just a few dollars you can wow your customers and solve their shopping problems.
Once you have your specials and packaging planned, it’s time to promote. Think of the different ways you can promote your specials, both on- and off-line. Printed flyers can go on your front desk, and all around your town. Include them in your email newsletters and client holiday cards, add your specials to your website and promote them regularly on social media. Remember, most people shop at the last minute, so don’t feel like it’s not working if you don’t get a big response at first.
About the Author
Gael Wood has more than 20 years of experience in the massage and spa industry. She now concentrates on training massage and spa therapists in business, spa services and greater success. She is a regular contributor to MASSAGE Magazine and her articles include “Is Your Practice LGBTQ-Friendly? How to Create a Welcoming Space”and “What is the Best Fit for You? Business Owner vs. Employed Massage Therapist” (September). Visit gaelwood.com for a complimentary Massage & Spa Success Toolkit.
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