April’s professional beauty industry events in New York City included the IBS and IECSC at the Javits Center, and a SpaExec event at the nearby Yotel. Trade show vendors reported that attendees were in a buying mood, with high amounts of foot traffic, especially on Sunday, and some booths selling out of key items on the first day. Manufacturers offered dozens of classes, and the formal education program for IECSC included Spa & Wellness Business, Medical Spa, and Massage Therapy tracks, along with classes required for CIDESCO certification.
The SpaExec event offered, as always, a vendor showcase with the opportunity and an educational portion, which focused on technology issues in spas. Dan Chandre, V.P. of Strategic Development for Booker Software, provided the keynote presentation, “Web 3.0: Investigating the Shifting Internet Landscape and Where Spas Fit In”. The focus of Chandre’s presentation was the surging mobile internet market, including statistics such as these:
• 1.2 billion smartphones will enter the market over the next 5 years
• As of 2012, mobile internet traffic increased 192.5% from 2010
• 86% of smartphone users have used their phone to research whether to visit a local business
• From Jan 2012 to Jan 2013, spas using Booker saw a 358% increase in mobile bookings
The message was clear: Mobile is here to stay and spas need to be prepared to leverage its use to continue to grow business.
• Provide a mobile-friendly website
• Add mobile-targeted promotions to your marketing campaign, especially in social media
• Find ways to use mobile technology within the spa, such as check-out or booking options
The keynote presentation was followed by a panel discussion on using technology within the spa. Panelists included Paul Pagliaro of Milano Software, Wendy Bosalavage of American Leisure, and Cara Solomon from Body Restoration Spa in Philadelphia. The discussion centered on three areas: online booking, social media and yield management. The general consensus was that all of these are elements of a successful spa business—but most spa directors in attendance felt they needed more education, more time or more personnel in order to manage them properly. —Lisa Starr