How to Run a Successful Spa: Small Details that Make a Big Difference

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How to Run a Successful Spa: Small Details that Make a Big Difference


With the world becoming more aware of the value of self-care, there’s no better time to launch a spa business. Been in the industry for a while? Then you may have seen the trend of people prioritising their well-being and putting aside time for a massage or manicure more often than a few years ago.


But one can never take customers and good business for granted. For one thing, with beauty clinics not requiring any licenses to operate in South Africa, there will always be lots of competition entering the market. How does your spa keep one step ahead of the competition? You don’t necessarily need a huge change. Try our tips and easily set your brand apart from the rest.


Easy Money Management Strategies

One way to secure your spa’s future is to implement smart financial management from day one. With healthy cash flow in place and by setting aside saved capital, you’ll weather the storms when hard times do hit the beauty industry, as was the case during the pandemic.


Buy Quality not Quantity

A cost-saving strategy can prompt you to buy low-quality items without you realising how it hurts your business in the long run.


For example, towels are used a lot in the beauty industry for various services. Regular washing will cause the fabric to deteriorate quickly if you don’t buy durable ones. Rather take out a little more cash when setting up your spa and avoid having to replace towels sooner than you expect.


Below you’ll also see additional benefits of only buying high-end bed linen and bath towels.


Become Energy Efficient

With loadshedding becoming the norm in South Africa, it’s wise to invest in alternative energy sources such as solar panels. You’ll be able to provide services and still earn a living, even when the power goes out. Do make sure you use as little energy as possible so you don’t deplete reserves too quickly. Here are some examples:

  • Use insulation and covers to minimise heat loss at your hot tub
  • Maintain consistent room temperatures, instead of heating spaces up or cooling them down every now and then
  • Upgrade to new appliances that draw less power
  • Use LED lights where possible and switch off overhead lighting whenever you’re not using a room
  • Buy linen & towels that require minimal care & maintenance

Making certain changes will require initial capital investment, but in the long run, the savings will be worth it.


Even just cutting down on utility costs will already result in a lower electricity bill, which benefits your bottom line.


Reconsider Your List of Services

Are you a jack of all trades or do you offer only one or a few specialty services? Neither of these approaches is necessarily wrong, but do consider if a change in services can benefit your brand. Cutting down on services that don’t draw many customers could mean you need less staff, resulting in lower HR costs.


Managing Your Team

As owner or manager, you can’t be everywhere all the time, so you can’t monitor if your team members always put your brand in a positive light. Managing company morale can help keep receptionists, beauticians, and other staff loyal to the business, which will motivate them to always give their best.


Employees want to feel valued, so an easy way to maintain a positive work environment is to consciously look for reasons to compliment them. Whether they folded bath towels correctly or received good feedback from clients, mention it so they’re aware of your appreciation.


How to Draw More Customers

Of course, you need to get enough people through the door to keep the doors open. Here are our top 4 tips.



You can offer staff or clients incentives to market your services to new customers. Customers could get discounts for bringing friends along and staff can get free treatments for family members. It costs the company very little—no major marketing campaign necessary—and hopefully, some of those individuals will become regular customers.


Gift Cards

Another way to boost client numbers is by turning your services into gifts.


Mention your gift card system to all customers. By having gift cards on hand at reception, you have a quick, effective upsell option.


Just make sure your receptionist is a good sales rep!


Be Accessible Online

In South Africa, more and more people go online to search for products and services. Make sure your local community can find you whenever they search for ‘spa near me’, and keep an eye out for messages via Facebook or your email inbox.


Tip: consumers want feedback from their peers when vetting new service providers. Publish positive reviews on your website so others can see you impress with everything from quality bathroom towels to friendly service.


Extend Your Hours

Details your online profiles must make clear are your operating hours. Consider being open an hour or two later—or earlier—than other beauty clinics in the area. Someone needing a manicure before going to the office, or a massage after a hectic day, will pick you above competitors.

Improving the Customer Experience

Your best method of marketing is word of mouth, but for that you need to wow with customer experiences. Here are some easy ways to level up your service delivery.


Lockers for Security

With South Africa’s crime rate, people find it difficult to relax in most environments. So, they may find it difficult to unwind on the massage table if they’re worrying about whether someone’s rifling through their bag in the corner. Small details, such as offering a locker, make you the safe, considerate vendor in town that respects clients’ need for security and privacy.


Plush, High-Quality Towels

As mentioned above, quality trumps quantity in this industry, especially with daily-usage items like bathroom towels. The luxurious, soft texture of quality cotton bath towels communicate professionalism and helps a client feel they’re getting value for money, even in the finer details of your services.


Looking at cotton bath towels, you’ll notice specifications that include GSM (grams per square meter). Using this, you can gauge the quality, feel and durability.


Implement Proper Towel Care

Back to your staff. Make sure they follow the right maintenance procedures for any linen, especially your towels. They can quickly start losing softness if you wash them incorrectly, so avoid harsh chemicals. Also separate colours so your whites stay white and use white vinegar instead of fabric softener to avoid yucky buildup.


Soundproof Your Spaces

Here’s another way to show you respect clients’ needs.


Spa customers come to you to escape reality for a little while, so help them experience solitude. They definitely don’t want to hear what’s going on in other treatment rooms, making soundproofing a valuable feature you want your spa to be known for.


Adding the X-Factor

The tips above will elevate your services and benefit your reputation, but make sure you have a USP that keeps people from trying out other vendors. Some examples:

  • Offer unique services: If market research shows there’s a great need for a specific spa service not yet available in town, perhaps it’s time to acquire the knowledge or employ an expert.
  • Chilled towels: You’ll find this trend in upmarket spas, so start implementing chilled towels as one of your signature characteristics. Add eucalyptus oil to help clients relax and draw sweat from their skin after a hot session in the sauna.
  • Signature towel folding: Take professionalism and your company theme to the next level by folding all your towels in a certain way.



How Big is the Spa Industry?

Worldwide, the spa industry is worth US$ 52,9 billion. Despite the industry getting hurt during the Covid pandemic, it’s a tourism niche that has grown quickly in SA in comparison to some others, thanks to people being more aware of managing their well-being.


Do You Need a Licence to Operate a Spa in SA?

No, you don’t need a licence to open a beauty salon or spa in South Africa. There are regulatory bodies you can join that will benefit your brand though.


How do You Prepare a Chilled Towel?

To prepare your chilled hand towels or face cloths, add ice water and essential oils (10 drops) such as lavender or eucalyptus oil to a large container. Soak the towels in the water, remove them and then wring out excess liquid. Fold them using your signature method and place them in a sealed bag or container for storage in the refrigerator. They’ll be chilled and ready for use after about 2 hours.


Need Help with Spa Supplies?

Spa clients have certain expectations when it comes to the quality of service, products and even bed linen you use in treatment rooms. Comfy’s range of bedroom linens and bathroom products such as hand towels are perfect for the spa industry.


At Comfy you’ll find:

  • Towels and bedding in neutral, practical and beautiful colours
  • Quality products at affordable prices, helping you manage your bottom line
  • Range of products that also help you create a hypo-allergenic environment
  • Bath and hand towels as well as face cloths for all purposes, from quick-drying Ultra Light for general use to Super Plush that will impress with their luxurious feel
  • Add on products such as Super Plush bathroom mats, helping you create a signature look throughout the property


You can customise your order with our user-friendly ordering process, to purchase bedding and bathroom sets of the exact types and colours your spa requires.


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