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Massage Today
December, 2015, Vol. 15, Issue 12

Time for Holiday Planning

By Terry Russell

By now, many of us are knee deep in our holiday plans and festive parties. For the attendees, it is just a matter of juggling their already tight schedules and making sure they show up. For the host, it has been weeks, may be even months of planning and preparing for the big event or night.

No doubt, regardless of the holiday, there is always a group of people looking forward to it, possibly even counting down.

If you are among those excited for the holidays, then you are probably always looking ahead and mapping out what should be done and the time table it should be completed in. This is the same approach for holiday planning with your business menu. What holiday plan you ask? The holidays are the best time to change up your regular menu a little and make a little extra cash in the process.

Tying a service into the holiday is generally an easy task if thought out and planned well in advance. You probably have heard more than once in your life about the importance of staying a step ahead. This is true with holiday planning, however that step is more like a quarter a head.

Plan Ahead Now

christmas presents - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark We are now in the fourth quarter and enjoying the successes of 2015 and about to ring in the possibilities that come with a new year. In a few weeks, 2016 and first quarter will be here. First quarter brings Valentine's Day and Saint Patrick's Day to the plate. While not necessary to tie into both, you should definitely pick one to tie into. If you wait until first quarter to start, you may find yourself scrambling last minute to pull something off. The time to plan is now.

Valentine brings thoughts of love, chocolate and flowers. How can you bring one of these to your massage or body treatment? Simply offering a rose oil or chocolate lotion to your treatment can boost the price and the excitement of your client's next service. While Saint Patty's Day is not nearly as romantic, it brings to mind luck, green clovers and pots of gold. It may seem hard to tie in a scent related to this widely celebrated holiday. How about a challenge? What scent comes to your mind? My entry into this challenge is light spearmint. It brings to mind fields of green.

Right after you ring in the New Year, it is time to start thinking spring – Mother's Day, graduation, weddings and Father's Day. Get the rhythm here? A little pre-planning can help take off miles of frustration, not to mention by budgeting for these seasonal festivities you can go big without breaking the bank. Too many times, businesses wait to the last minute and have to order in a rush. Many times this is a cause for expedited shipping at a premium. To add to the negative, it leaves one little to no time to market so the word of your specials is at a minimal to the say the least.

You need to budget your time as well as your expenses when it comes to seasonal promotions. Allow time to develop the protocol for the seasonal offering. This step is actually easier than it sounds. Many suppliers have quick and easy protocols already created and just waiting for you to put your magic touch on.

In addition to creating the protocols, adequate time needs to be spent testing the products and protocols to make sure it is a snug fit in your practice. Once it is deemed worthy, train your staff so that the services go off seamlessly and leave the client wanting more. That way, the client is looking forward to coming back next season to see what you have in store for them. Have you noticed how all of a sudden the couple of months that you allowed have now disappeared?

Get Creative

If creating a special menu item seems too daunting to attack, there is a tried and true way to capture the festive crowd without a lot of fuss and muss. Gift cards are the key. Gift cards marketed in a creative and festive manner may just turn out to be your ticket. A small token attached to the card such as a teddy bear, heart shaped box, plastic champagne flute are just a few items that come to mind when thinking of creative ways to give a gift card. Think the gift card is the lazy way out? Think again. The New York Post last year reported that $44 billion in unused gift cards has been left on the table since 2008. The thought of unused cards is not that surprising when you think about that junk drawer of yours in the kitchen. You know the one. That one drawer that catches everything you really want to save but not sure what to do with it at the moment. Think about all the things in that drawer that you have forgotten about.

Gift cards remain a popular choice among gift givers. Eighty percent of shoppers are expected to purchase a gift card this season. In 2014, the average spend on a gift card was up 4% and averages to a little more than $160 spent per consumer. This has become such a business that there are several online services designed to exchange the cards. One key factor in selling gift cards is to make sure you include an expiration date. Many big box stores have increased the expiration time to generally five years with a small caveat of charging a monthly fee after a year on inactivity helping to decrease the value of the card.

Even with gift cards, planning ahead in both time and money will help ensure a successful addition to your practice during the holiday season. By now, it is too late to think about the holidays that are upon us, but for Valentines Day your timing has never been better. I know it is hard to concentrate on things that are months out, but with a little discipline, you can enhance your time now and make the future easier.

Think of your promotions in the terms of marketing, budget and seasons. It may help to buy a nice size calendar, go to the holiday, count back 10-12 weeks and pencil in the holiday plan you wish to execute. That way, you have a friendly reminder in front of you consistently keeping you on track of the next big deal. After several seasons have past, you will find this becomes second nature to you.

Hopefully you will find you are less stressed and enjoying the season at hand knowing the next holiday is in the bag. With a little careful thought and pre-planning, the holiday season can find you with your only worry how to juggle the parties at hand and enjoy the spirit of the current season. Here's to a bright and successful 2016!

Terry Russell has been involved in the massage community since 1999. His previous career includes being a full time therapist at Spa Palazzo in the Boca Raton Resort & Club, as well as owning a successful private practice. As the Director of Sales – Schools, Distributors & Franchises Division at Universal Companies, his efforts are now focused on bringing schools, distributors and franchises the best of equipment and supplies with outstanding customer service. For more information, visit


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