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7 tips for spa savings

To keep clients, spas are offering deals. Try these tips to get more value from your spa purchases.

By Karen Datko Mar 2, 2010 12:35PM

This Deal of the Day comes from Kelli B. Grant at partner site SmartMoney.

 

Business is slow at the spa. How good are the offers designed to lure customers back in?

 

Like hotels and restaurants, spas would rather fill empty space with low-priced appointments than have staff members sitting idle. "A room empty for that hour is lost," says Hannelore Leavy, executive director of the Day Spa Association. Some locations are offering a greater selection of short, cheap treatments to entice customers who want, say, a facial but can't afford the usual hour-long service. Others are creating specials for first-time visitors or repeat customers.

 

The trade-off: Often, the offers are on days that are slow at the spa -- not necessarily the days that are convenient for the consumer -- or early morning. And some of the best discounts apply only if you sign up for more than one service -- a manicure and a body scrub, not just one or the other.

 

Still, consumers hunting for deals have more leverage to negotiate, says Mary Blackmon, chief executive of review site Spa-Addicts.com. “[Owners] are willing to make concessions,” she says. Be frank about your budget, and see if you can wrangle a service to fit your needs.

Try these seven tips to massage a little more value into your spa purchases:

 

Spa-hop. Because spas are looking for new clients, they often offer discounts to first-time visitors. Take advantage and try new places. FawnFeather Spa & Salon in Heathrow, Fla., offers 50% off one service to new clients who register for its e-mail newsletter. First-timers at Botanica Day Spa in Clearwater, Fla., can choose from several deals including 10% off one service or a free mini-facial when they buy a body treatment, a $50 savings.

 

Visit off-peak. Many spas offer discounts when you book during one of their slow times. That's usually Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, Leavy says. For example, Napa St. Pierre Center for Massage in Napa, Calif., adds an extra 10% in value to SpaFinder.com gift certificates used on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. A few spas also discount early morning appointments.

 

Book in bulk. If you are willing to book more than one treatment, you can increase your savings. Just assess your needs before you buy, says Sharona Saltzman, owner of The Spa Loft in Los Angeles. If you don’t see a package that fits, ask if you can build your own. At The Spa Loft, any three services on the Beauty Buffet get you 10% off, she says.

 

Regular spa-goers can also save by purchasing a series of several massages or facials to redeem over time. Buy 10 of select treatments at Elizabeth Arden’s Red Door Spas to receive two free. Someone getting a monthly manicure at the New York location would pay $420 for the year, a savings of 17%.

 

Go to school. Some massage and cosmetology schools offer the same treatments as your local spa, but at a lower price. Several campuses of the Florida Career College, for example, have spa facilities open to the public. They offer facials for $15 to $25 and manicures for $10 to $20, among other services.

 

Leavy says the services offered this way are safe, but customers might not feel as pampered. "It may not be all that private," she says. At most schools, including Florida Career College, instructors supervise each session. Facials and massages are done in spaces separated from other clients by only a curtain, rather than a private room.

 

Check the calendar. Spas use national spa weeks as marketing tools. If you time your visit to coincide with a spa week promotion, you can save, but the discounted appointments are limited. March 8-14, gift certificate network SpaFinder.com is offering Deal Days with $50 treatments. Deal site Pretty City has Med Spa Month in May with $99 treatments, and the International Spa Association is hosting a Spa Week April 12-18 with $50 deals.

 

Read reviews. Make sure the spa is worth whatever you're paying -- that the venue is clean, the staff professional and the service good. Check spa-specific review sites like SpaFinder.com and Spa-Addicts.com, as well as more general consumer reviews at Epinions.com and complaints at the Better Business Bureau. Pay attention to reviews for specific services, too. "Sometimes a spa can be great, but the treatments vary," Blackmon says. Reviews might warn you away from one service or sell you on another.

Clip coupons. Before you book, check group-discount sites for deals. Groupon.com recently offered Los Angeles residents a $35 mani-pedi at The Painted Nail, 50% off the regular price. Just keep in mind that if a lot of people sign up, it can be tough to get an appointment at your preferred time.

 

Many spas also maintain specials pages on their Web sites, offering clients print-out coupons and codes to use at booking. A few even offer discounts on Facebook and Twitter feeds. Oasis Day Spa in New York tweets via @oasisnyc, offering links to its regular specials as well as exclusive deals. A recent tweet offered a deal of buy one service, get a second half off for that Monday and Tuesday.

 

Related reading at SmartMoney:

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