How to be a trendsetter and not a trend follower in your spa or massage practice

Each year, the International Spa Association releases a report on the spa trends for the year. This year, key among the trends were personalization – treatments and services geared to the unique needs of the individual – and prevention and wellness. The latter trend reflects a desire on the part of clients that want to support good health and prevent problems rather than wait for something to happen.

Another trend was more treatments for men who increasingly are seeking the spa experience because they realize the importance of taking good care of themselves. Among men’s treatments noted by ISPA are “macho-sounding therapies – like the “sports massage” or “executive massage” to relieve pain.

If you took note of these trends, you might have made some adjustments to your own spa or massage practice services and products. However, while following trends to meet the evolving needs of current clients and attract new ones is important; you also want to be wary of being too much of a “me too.” The goal should be to incorporate trends into your business that make sense but to adapt or modify them with your own creativity and strategic approach.

Steps to becoming a trendsetter

In “Are You a Trendsetter or a Trend Follower? How to Avoid Setting Yourself Up for Failure,” published in Inc. earlier this year, Jayson Demers, founder and CEO of AudienceBloom, offers advice on how to become a trendsetter.  Among his recommendations, Demers advises find your style, surround yourself with innovators and know your customers. Here are some ideas for each:

Find your style
: Your unique style sets you apart, identifies and defines your brand. Once you identify your personal style – whether it’s friendly, sophisticated, clinical or even technology focused – make sure it shines through in everything you do from decorating your spa or massage practice, to the supplies and equipment you use, to the design and messaging of your promotional materials and also the way you interact with your customers. For example, if you want to show that you technologically advanced, in addition to online bookings and text appointment reminders, have tablets out in the waiting area for clients to use to read or check into their social media accounts.

Surround yourself with innovators
: Hire a staff that’s creative and resourceful in their approach to problem solving and coming up with new ideas. Plan idea-generating sessions where everyone gets together – on site or in a location away from your spa or massage practice – to brainstorm.  As a way to attract more men clients for sports massage, partner with a local golf course for an event.  Or partner with a fitness center and offer discounts on membership to clients.

Know your customers
: Ask your customers questions about what they prefer. Use the input to make changes to your offerings to suit client needs and preferences. If you offer aromatherapy massage – a popular trend - add additional  essential oils to your back bar based on client suggestions.

With 2016 not too far off on the horizon, expect to see new trends forecast by ISPA.  Just remember that being a trendsetter doesn’t mean that you disregard the latest trends in massage or skin treatments. Just make sure to put your personal stamp on them and everything else you offer.