Last month’s Smart Tan Magazine cover feature was titled “Tanning is Evolving.” While that article focused on the evolution of the actual tanning process with new types of equipment, it’s certainly true that the tanning industry is also evolving in countless other ways.
Oh, how things have changed in just 10 years. For the most part, today’s most successful salons are now fundamentally different than they were in the early 2010s.
“I bought my first salon in 2011 and later that year, when I went to my first convention, all I heard was ‘We are tanning salons; we do not sell anything but tanning.’ Being brand new in the industry, I decided that I would take as much advise as possible, so I got rid of everything that wasn’t tanning.’” says Sunsational Spray Tan Spa owner Rhonda Culligan.
“By 2014, the ‘buzz’ in our industry had drastically changed. I’ll never forget when I went to the convention that year. The show floor was filled with so many things other than tanning. The guest speakers were talking about how they had recently brought in several other pieces of equipment. Not only did they bring other services in, but they were giving them away for free. What? How is that possible?”
Since then, Culligan has redefined the potential for not one, but two salons, with enhanced focus on sunless tanning, diversified service options and an EFT-centric pricing model.
“My friends in the industry will often hear me say the phrase: ‘If you wanna do what the ‘Big Dogs’ do, you have to do what the ‘Big Dogs’ do,” she says. “What I mean by that is, if the ‘Big Dogs’ do $500k a year by focusing on EFTs and diversifying their services, then you better do the exact same.”
Culligan is far from the only one embracing this approach. Many around the industry are turning to a “tanning spa model,” featuring UV and sunless, of course, but also a variety of other beauty or wellness services. We talked last month about the monumental impact the latest and greatest tanning equipment is making in salons around the country, and how its hybrid technology fits perfectly into the mold of a “tanning spa,” serving to connect the dots between tanning and spa. While hybrid equipment is probably the best way to make a huge leap into the spa business, there are other ways to supplement your major investments and further improve your business and increase memberships counts and revenue.
It really doesn’t take much more to live up to the tanning spa model. Many salons today already offer red light services, the most natural step into the spa lane. Even something as simple as teeth whitening is another added bonus and help make membership a no-brainer, even if it’s something the person will probably never get around to using. You can find great deals on new or used massage chairs, body wraps or other affordable diversification options that you can use as another small incentive for membership and also promote as something new you’ve added for the benefit of your customers.
Of course, many tanning businesses have featured these types of equipment for many years now to varying degrees of success. While some high-end beauty services can certainly be added a la carte and make you a ton of money, it’s become more clear over time that most types of affordable diversification equipment requires a different approach. Few clients want to pay $X a session or a month to try a service that they’re not familiar with, but they will appreciate and utilize them as an additional benefit to their membership.
As Culligan said in last month’s article, “Basically, it’s like you’re selling them one thing, then you’re like there’s more, and then there’s still more […]. Nobody can believe the price point. One lady said she was expecting to pay a couple hundred dollars for everything here.”
There lies the other key. As we also mentioned last month, Culligan and others are offering high-ends sunbeds, spray tans and all their other services at highly aggressive rates – $69.95 a month in her case.
$70 a month for all that? Yes! While many owners will surely believe that’s offering way too much for way too little, the results Culligan and many other tanning businesses are experiencing are very real. They’ve certainly invested more in equipment than your average tanning business, and this pricing model is working wonderfully for them. If you still don’t believe it, just keep on reading…