Solo Spa Virtual Event Success with Shannon of Anam Cara SpaMar 08, 2021
Last month, I had the pleasure of discussing spa leadership with both attendees of my Facebook Live coaching sessions, and other estheticians and spa owners: that’s why it was such a joy to start off March by sitting down with my friend Shannon Hall, the owner of Vancouver Island-based day spa Anam Cara Spa, to talk about how to make your next solo spa virtual event a success!
While many solo spa owners have tried their hand at in-spa events in the past (especially around Christmastime as a festive and educational start to winter promos!), COVID-19 has changed the game. With a limited number of people legally permitted in facilities at one time and official events being banned depending on where you are located, spa owners have been one of the many kinds of business owners who have had to get creative with where and how they’re hosting events. The solution? Going virtual!
In today’s blog accompaniment to my spa-centric podcast, Spa Business Mastery, Shannon and I delve deep into her experiences as a spa owner, how she has held solo spa events in the past, and what actionable steps she would recommend for those looking to achieve solo spa virtual event success as well.
Q: “Shannon, What Has Your Experience Been as a Solo Spa Owner Holding Events?”
With nearly 30 years in the spa industry, Shannon is a skin therapist who utilizes a blend of holistic modalities (such as gua sha, facial cupping, and Kwanzaa wands), quantum energetics, and reiki healing to encourage whole-body health. During COVID-19, she has added a menu of virtual services to her list of offerings, including virtual facials and distance reiki healing… which she says was relaxing, fulfilling, and helped her feel even more connected to her clients!
When asked about her previous experiences of holding in-person spa solo events, Shannon says, “I normally have two events per year: one in November, which is an open-house event held at my home that acts as a pre-launch to holiday promotions, and one in the Spring, which is to launch any new products that might be coming on with any partners who I’m working with.
“For these, I have always sent out mailed invitations, invitations through email, and Facebook events on my Facebook page to send out invites through that as well. Obviously, getting things organized for these events— as I usually include a draw, some swag, skin care stations hosted by my reps (such as my Dermalogica rep for Dermalogica products!), and food and beverages— takes a significant amount of time, especially when factoring in prepping and cleaning the space, ensuring that rooms are set up for people to easily flow through and mingle, and tidying afterwards. It’s a lot of planning, whether you’re part of a team or are a solo spa owner like me!
“My sales from these events have been just over $1000 CAD per 15 attendees. Each of them also had very small residual sales that resulted from clients purchasing products after having attended.”
Q: “Now, Your First Virtual Event was in November 2020. How Did it Go? What Lessons Did You Learn From Hosting It?”
“In November of 2020, I definitely chose to educate my clients on serums and nighttime rituals in order to teach them about the Dermalogica serums I had available (as well as some general fun PM skin care routines to incorporate those serums in a way that integrates into their pre-existing skin care lineup!)
“At the time, I did not have a service sales focus for this event; it was specifically educational. This particular event had no fee, which is something I would not recommend for solo spa owners looking to host virtual events; it’s better to charge and have that commitment from clients! However, what I did for this event was, for the attendees who could be verified that they were there, I provided $10 off the purchase of any Dermalogica serum to tie sales into my chosen educational topic.
“To start the event off, I made sure that everyone in attendance knew that there was a door prize available and that everyone was settled in (for this one, that meant PJs and glasses of wine!) From there, I educated about each and every serum via a show-and-tell before using one of the serums on myself at the end to provide an example for a potential nighttime routine. At the end, we opened it up into a question-and-answer session.
“To round off the night, I reminded everyone of their $10 off deal and made each attendee up a sample-sized pre-Christmas grab bag with each of the serums we had talked about. Because I have an area outside of my facility for curbside pickup, they could then come swing by and pick up their specialized grab bag after the event.
“This event was done as a Facebook Live. It was an hour and a half, start to finish.
Q: “What Would You Say the Benefits Are of Holding Spa Solo Virtual Events vs. In-Person Events?”
“When I logged off that night, my first thought was, ‘Wow. Why haven’t I been doing it this way the whole time?’ I didn't have to kick out my partner, Brian, for the night OR clean up after everyone had left! Trust me, after hosting everyone’s energy the last thing you want to do is clean your house. With doing virtual events, you don’t have to!
“In all seriousness, I felt so relaxed and far less stretched in terms of both time and finances. As a plus, my sales were even more than they had been for my in-person events. Like, twice as much! It was a real ‘ah-ha’ moment for me.
“As someone who’s labelled an ‘old-school’ spa owner, I originally found it hard to switch my mindset from doing in-person events to doing them online. However, once I got past the initial apprehension and perfectionism that surrounded setting it up and having it go smoothly, I actually started to feel excited about talking about the event online. Seeing my clients’ enthusiasm about the serum pre-launch also helped me feel more confident about it. I felt like, ‘Well, I have to commit to it now!’ And I’m glad I did.
“It took way less time to organize, way less money to run, and my guests had way more focused education than they would have been privy to in an in-person setting. My November event went so well, in fact, that I’m hosting a virtual event this April!”
Takeaways for Solo Spa Virtual Event Success
Above all, what COVID-19 has illustrated to spa business owners is that having multiple (and preferably virtual!) streams of income sets you up for success. That isn’t simply financial success, either; having more time for yourself, having more energy versus being burnt out from organizing and managing in-person events, and having more emotional fulfillment from seeing your clients happy goes a long way in furthering our confidence and imagination as leaders in the spa industry.
This is especially true for clients who have a reluctance to return to in-spa services or who cannot due to health limitations. Virtual spa events provide them the opportunity to get excited about their skin and your spa’s offerings again… and with COVID-19 not fully going away anytime soon, it’s highly advised that spa owners start getting comfortable with hosting virtual events now!
For spa owners looking to dip their toes into the exciting waters of online events, here are a few key tips from Shannon:
Have an incentive: for example, the event’s ticket price can be offered to be put towards as specific product or service
Go Live: if you would like to repurpose your event later down the road, an option is to cast it as a Facebook Live and then have it live on your social media either in your Facebook video library or on your Instagram as an IGTV
Alternatively, be exclusive: if an invite-only feel is what you’re going for, sending a Zoom link out via email or DM can help foster excitement ahead of the event’s launch
Shannon’s innovation and courageousness proves that pushing through your initial discomfort can yield phenomenal results! Thank you, Shannon, for being such an inspiration to everyone here in the spa industry. For those of you curious about how her Distance Reiki services go, book an appointment to check it out! She’s thrilled to offer her healing to other spa service providers!
Looking for more coaching on hosting your first (or next) spa virtual event? Reach out today for one-on-one coaching from a former spa owner who has been in your shoes.
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