When considering your business’ competitors, you probably think about the tanning salon across town, or the gym door the street, or the hair salon that has a couple tanning units. But, in a sense, you’re also competing independently to show tanners why your services are still worthy of their time and money, and why they should be willing to pay a little more for what you offer.
Most tanning businesses today report being past the worst of our industry’s downturn that followed the implantation of the tan tax, but there’s no doubt that there are fewer indoor tanners today than there were 15-20 years ago. So, while you’re already competing with other salons and gyms for fewer UV tanners, as an industry, we can’t afford to continue to lose more. Keeping our current tanners satisfied and convincing new generations of tanners that it’s a valuable service for them will primarily be accomplished through education, professionalism, and providing exemplary experiences and service.
While it needs to go so much deeper, exemplifying those qualities starts with presenting the right environment and appearance. Right or wrong, we all know that first impressions matter. You’re going to judge someone as more professional when they’re wearing a sports coat than shorts and flip flops, right? The same is true for your business. Substance is most important, but people will draw conclusions from the appearance that might be hard to change with your actions. It’s more about how you operate, but how you look doing it will have an impact.
Along with the simple evolution of style trends, the needs to be highly professionalized and out-class low-cost competition are major reasons why we’re seeing many salons embrace more spa-like, modern or sophisticated motifs.
“I always look at businesses and their websites, and you see some that you just wouldn’t feel great about from the look. It has to be a classy place,” says Tanning Oasis owner Brian Moser.
“We just wanted to be first class. If we have to spend a few extra bucks, we do. Will people come to a place just because of that? I think it definitely adds to what you have. I think people fall into one end where they just get a tan, and go to the gym. They don’t really want an experience. We want our locations to just feel like they’re being treated in luxury.”