Guests generally do not need to be concerned with the spa ’ s business challenges . When products are unavailable due to supply chain complications , however , a short explanation may be well received .
treatment products , along with rising wages due to a shortage of highly qualified staff and treatment providers , most spas have re-evaluated pricing for retail products and service and treatment fees .
“ It ’ s such a drastic shift ,” Alison notes .“ Consumers coming out of Covid wanted to treat themselves and were not super price sensitive . The demand was thriving . We increased our price for services , which offset the price for backbar and talent . Fast-forward a year , and customers now are more concerned with prices . We have to do a lot more calculating on what we can afford so we remain profitable .”
At Chateau Elan ,“ we have not raised our prices for services . So any price increases for backbar , we ’ ve absorbed ,” Rebecca says . And , while some retail product prices have been raised , the adjustments typically follow an established pattern .“ For the most part , we only mark up our products to MSRP or double wholesale ,” Rebecca says , effectively maintaining a pre-pandemic pricing structure .
Alessandra has followed a similar practice at The Spa at Lago Mar , with retail price increases based directly on wholesale costs . Spa service prices have risen based on three factors , says Alessandra : product cost increases ,“ extra mile ” costs for increased sanitation and disinfection after each treatment , and personnel costs “ due to the pandemic making it difficult to hire experienced professionals .”
Alison notes retail pricing reflects acquisition costs .“ My margins have to remain the same , regardless of how expensive the products are ,” she says , and therefore ,“ you need to know your consumer ’ s price points ” and select products accordingly .
Spa leaders find great communication and relationship-building have softened the blow of increased pricing . Rebecca is pleased that “ most of our vendors give us a good heads-up that they were going to be increasing pricing , so we try to stay standard with MSRP . We have time to plan for the changing prices .” And Alessandra notes that “ our clients are very aware of the economic situation and understand the challenges and worldwide changes after the pandemic .”
HOW THE PATH FORWARD HAS SHIFTED Coming out of a historically chaotic timeframe and entering a new period characterized by ongoing uncertainty , some spa leaders are nonetheless making long-term plans . A return to pre-2020 strategies is the goal for some ; for others , decisions made during the pandemic will become new standard operating procedures .
“ 2023 is going to take a fair amount of patience ,” Alison predicts .“ With the economy , we are all in the same boat of avoiding excessive labor . It ’ s a double whammy : You can ’ t have too many people on your payroll , but you need to staff up in times when you ’ re busy .”
One prominent change for many spas is a shift in their preferred vendors and product lines .
In some cases , the adjustment requires only rethinking
FEBRUARY / MARCH 2023 n PULSE 33