There’s no question that membership salons are trending, especially in larger cities like Los Angeles and New York.* It’s cool to be part of a club — and even cooler if it means getting discounts on must-have services you pay for on a regular basis.
Chances are you’ve also come across spa memberships (if my Korean day spa is reading this and considering an unlimited monthly offer, take my money now), “facial clubs”, and memberships at your local blowout salon. Seriously, when you start looking, salon and spa memberships are everywhere.
But what are they? And are salon membership programs worth offering? Read on.
* Hot tip: they work for smaller cities, too!
What Is a Salon or Spa Membership Program?
Whether you’re a salon or spa owner or manager, independent hairstylist, massage therapist, or esthetician, membership programs give special perks to clients who spend more money with you and incentivizing them to book more often over time. This could mean either asking them to pay for multiple sessions upfront (at a discounted rate) or rewarding your most loyal clients when they book a certain number of times or spend a certain dollar amount.
Salon membership programs tend to follow one of two models, which we’ve created a couple of cute names for:
- The Buy-In Method: Clients commit to, and pay in advance for, a package of services in order to receive a discount on those services every time. They save money long-term, and you get paid in advance.
Example: an annual membership that includes four hair cuts, plus free bang trims between cuts, for 15% off what a client would pay at cost.
- The Book More, Save More Method: Often used for client loyalty programs, this method involves no extra initial payment but incentivizes clients along the way by giving them perks as they spend more money with you. While it’s not officially a “membership program” since there are no dues, it’s still a way to make clients feel like they’re part of an elite club.
Example: the more often clients book with you — or the more new clients they refer to you if you’re thinking about building a referral program — the more you discount their services. Or, if they book a massage with you six times in six months, you give them a seventh free.
Are Client Membership Programs Good for Business?
In a word: Yes. While you may not want to commit to going fully membership-only at your salon or spa (we don’t recommend you do that right away anyway!), offering a supplemental membership program could benefit your business in a few ways. Salon membership programs:
- Encourage return clients and repeat business
- Allow you to better estimate at least a percentage of your monthly revenue
- Build rapport with your clients
- Keep your books consistently full with recurring appointments
Types of Salon or Spa Membership Programs
Monthly Programs or Unlimited Programs
Monthly memberships and unlimited memberships might sound familiar if you’re a diehard fitness studio users. Many Pilates and Yoga studios will offer these memberships at a discount to the people who attend classes most often.
Monthly memberships and unlimited memberships are very similar: the goal is to reward your most diehard clients. Here are a few examples:
- A monthly salon membership program where you’d ask clients to pay upfront for a year’s worth of haircuts. You could limit the number of times they can book (e.g. “up to six haircuts a year”) or charge a higher membership fee, then allow them to book as often as they like
- An unlimited spa membership where, for an annual price, someone can come to the spa anytime they like to use your saunas, or perhaps offers them a basic scrub anytime, while add-ons (such as facials or massages) cost extra
- A “platinum” or “gold standard” or drumroll, please, “rose gold” unlimited membership, where for a (very significant) price, a client can book any of your services as regularly as they wish, and maybe get first dibs on open spots whenever they’re on your waitlist. (You can do this with Schedulicity’s service waitlist feature!)
Service Package Deals
Another common practice is to encourage clients to pay you upfront for a certain number of services or sessions. In exchange, you offer them a discounted rate. This can be as simple as a salon package of five haircuts at a 10% discount or as complex as a custom package that allows unlimited walk-in bang trims or blowouts if they buy a package of 10 haircuts upfront. (If you’re a Schedulicity business, our Packages add-on helps automate this process.)
Loyalty Programs / Referral Programs
Similar to package deals, loyalty programs offer clients a discount for booking a certain number of times. The most common version of this is the “buy 10, get one free” model, though you could also offer a discount of 10% on every haircut to clients who have booked with you X (five, 10…) or more times. (On Schedulicity, use the Notes section on client profiles to remind yourself who gets a 10% discount and why!)
If this seems more your style, we wrote a guide to loyalty programs to help get you thinking.
How to Create the Perfect Membership Program for Your Salon or Spa
The trick to a successful salon or spa membership program is to figure out the best approach for you and your clients.
For you, that means avoiding the trap of offering so many perks that a membership program negatively affects your revenue. For clients, that means picking an offer that will resonate most with them.
To make sure the idea you have for a salon membership is actually worth it, make sure to crunch some numbers. If your offer means 10% off for every haircut and you offer it to 100 clients, what does that dollar amount actually look like over the course of the year? Make sure to tally everything up, so you really know what you’re signing on for.
Make Sure Clients Would Actually Want to be Members
For clients, ask! Shoot them an email asking if they’d fill out a quick survey to help you decide on some special offers you’re thinking of rolling out. You can set up an online survey using tools like Google Forms or Survey Monkey for free. Or just commit to asking every client who comes into your salon for a few days what they think. Decide what seems to appeal to people most before moving forward.
Adapt as You Go
The point is: Because a salon or spa membership can look very different from business-to-business, offering a membership program is a flexible marketing strategy that you can use in whatever way makes the most sense for your business or your clients — meaning it’s worth testing out, in the very least.
How to Tell if Your Salon Membership Program Is Working
Make sure to set some clear goals around the membership program you land on before you launch it. This should include regular check-ins with yourself to see how well the program is going, including tallying up the amount of income you’ve made off of program members. It could also include reaching out to a few of the first salon members to ask them for feedback as you go.
Make tweaks as needed, and don’t be afraid to phase out the membership programx if you’re sensing it’s not working for you or your salon or spa business. It’s your business, so play by the rules that work for you.