Spa Trends:By Cheryl Witman
Among the most misunderstood and widely defined terms in the English language is the word Trend. Just ask several people for their definition of the word trend and you are bound to receive a diverse assortment of ideas. The one thing that is constant with all the solicited definitions, however, is that a trend is an indicator of what is coming. And, what is coming, in fact, what has already arrived, is the amazing growth possibilities of the Medical Spa as an extension to existing medical practices, as well as stand-alone facilities. Moreover, although trends may be temporary newcomers to the scene, do not be fooled. The next iteration of the Medical Spa trend is here to stay!
So how to you get ready to jump on the trend bandwagon? Well, for starters, stop staying on the sidelines, and get ready to join in, get your proverbial feet wet with some time-honored research and professional advice. Recognize that people are looking for a one-stop shopping experience to receive all their aesthetic needs from one physician or aesthetic enhancement professional. And, they are looking for that one individual that will take a keen interest in their immediate needs, and help them plan for the services they want in the near and long-term. Based on this knowledge, create a plan of action that is sound and thoughtful, and be sure you are ready and able to offer services that you know your patients and potential patients want, need, and are willing to receive from you.
The national best seller, Blue Ocean Strategy, reminds us that “By looking across time – from the value a market delivers today to the value it might deliver tomorrow – managers can actively shape their (organization’s) future and lay claim to a new blue ocean.” This means that it is incredibly important to identify insights into what is going on right now in the industry and marketplace to shape your adoption to this new trend – a “blue ocean” versus a “red ocean,” which is already well penetrated – in ways that provide you with a unique, new business opportunity.
What’s the first step of trend niche development? Hire a consultant to conduct an assessment or “environmental scan.” They will analyze your demographics and visions to see if they make sense for your location and patient base.
Prudent professionals are increasingly seeking veteran consulting firms that specialize in medical spa business development. One such nationally recognized firm is Beautiful Forever, a NY-based national organization that provides comprehensive one-on-one consulting services, practice and medical spa assessments, and a do-it-yourself, “medical spa in a box” program.
Here are some trends just ripe for your consideration today to build the new breed medical spa of tomorrow.
The Niche or Specialty Medical Spa. Specialty medical spas or spas that focus on a niche or specialty service tend to differentiate themselves successfully from others while thriving profitably and successfully with limited competition. The very successful professional will start incorporating niche services into their practice. Some of these will include weight management, nutrition, and fitness. They may also provide lifestyle-changing services, for example, services that include personal whole being assessment, lifestyle coaching, and obesity-specific services. Finally, since childhood obesity is at the top of the American healthcare agenda, look for niche services that specifically target teenagers. Take a hard look at your passion, your talent strengths, and the services you believe you are best equipped to provide, based on technology and training. Hone the skills that you believe will provide you with personal and professional success.
Dr. Sidney Kass, MD, who has been offering medical spa services for 13-years, including full service varicose and spider vein treatments says- “by utilizing the latest non-surgical technologies I am able to achieve great results for those wishing to eradicate their unsightly spider and varicose veins. Because of patient needs and requests, I am adding age-management medicine to our services”.
Men’s Medical Spa
Some of these niches include men’s spas, wellness medical spas, women’s spas, age management centers, hospital-based spas, and others. A men’s spa can offer a variety of men’s health and wellness services including men’s facials and massages, men’s sexual health advisory services, bioidentical hormone therapy for men, age management, injectables, lasers, skin tightening, vein treatment and other day spa and med spa services catering to men such as consultations for surgical procedures that can be offered off-site from a plastic surgeon.
Wellness medical spas
Wellness medical spas can offer a number of treatments and services including massages, facials, scrubs, wraps, oils, herbs and other therapies designed to reduce toxins, relieve stress, improve blood circulation, accelerate lymphatic drainage, provide nourishment to hair and the scalp, and help balance and ease the mind and body. East meets West spas are gaining in popularity in large, diverse, metro markets such as Los Angeles and New York and can combine the science of Wellness with that of fitness programs, meditation, and non-invasive procedures.
Women-Centric Medical Spas
Spas can also specialize exclusively in female-centric services or cater exclusively to women. While such spas are common in certain cultures and geographies such as the Gulf region, they can be adapted to Western markets with a different tact and orientation, offering women a spa like setting and services in the privacy and comfort of an all female staff and environment.
Age Management Medical Spas
With babyboomers outpacing the growth of any other specific age group, it is no surprise that there is a huge emphasis on the growth of age management centers that offer anti-aging or age management services that combine bioidentical hormone therapy with diet, nutrition, fitness, exercise, health, and well-being. Patients can spend thousands of dollars each year for a physician to supervise their age management regimen while undergoing an annual or semi-annual battery of hormonal, blood, dietary, nutrition, and physiological assessments.
Hospital-Based Medical Spas
Another type of specialty spa is a hospital-based spa that caters to recovering hospital patients, their guests and visitors, hospital physicians and staff, and others. Hospitals are increasingly looking towards non-insurance and out-of-pocket sources of revenue to stem the tide of declining reimbursement and thin margins. Cosmetic medicine, now a burgeoning industry, provides that source. A number of hospitals are contemplating the development of Cosmetic Medical Centers or Cosmetic Medical Spas.
Dental Medical Spas
Remember the old TV show, “Smile, You’re on Candid Camera?” Just like the TV show, you just never know when someone is looking at you, watching you, and evaluating you – based on your smile. We have become a smile-obsessed nation, not just based on vanity for vanity sake, but a terrific smile denotes health and youth – the qualities that an aging population highly value. This has given rise to a host of teeth whiting, and full mouth renovation techniques. It has also introduced us to the concept of going to the dentist for positive results, not just another teeth cleaning or tooth filling experience. With more and more emphasis on the importance of a winning smile, the rise of dental spas is no surprise. A medical spa within a dental spa is a definitive new trend, driven by the competitiveness in dental practices, the demand for cosmetic dentistry, and the dental professionals’ desire to add non- insurance dependent services to their practices.
Increasingly excellent marketing techniques will reveal that diverse ethnic groups have a strong loyalty to those that can best cater to their specific needs. Different ethnic groups will be drawn to physicians and aesthetic services professionals that recognize their specialized needs. Ensuring that you understand the patient population is key to growing your business and your niche.
Tourism Medical Spas
Other future trends for specialty spas may include international medical spas, resort-based medical spas, cosmetic surgical spas, and others. With the boom in medical tourism, it is very likely that destination health care institutions with provide spa services to incoming foreign patients in order to combine their experience of a positive clinical combine with a caring and hospitable, spa like setting.
Cost remains a primary reason that many patients do not move forward with cosmetic procedures – or even seek a consultation. Anyone can now move forward with cosmetic procedures because of No Interest financing provided to you from forward thinking financing organizations like Care Credit, a patient financing company which is a division of GE Money. Patients will increasingly use financing to purchase the aesthetic services they want right now.
Remember that most of these services are elective, and therefore not generally covered by insurance with the exception of vein treatments and some age management consultations. Who knew that financing options would one day be available to the average consumer seeking cosmetic enhancements and medical spa services?
“Making dreams possible is the result of patient financing options,” says, Peter Bogdan, MD.
Making a trend your own is easy.
Decide what it is that you can do to embrace one or more of the trends outlined here. Do not get distracted from the core of your practice. Be sure to add services that best augment what your vision and practice mission has already established. The most successful expansion into the world of medical spa innovation comes with careful planning and a true understanding of what the professional wants to accomplish. Remember that planning is the key to any new enterprise.
Be sure to seek out professional guidance and really evaluate your plan before you set it into action. It is essential that you approach any new expanded service area with personal and professional honesty, that is, what can you realistically accomplish.
Now is the time to evaluate where your practice is headed so that you can take full advantage of using the many possible medical spa trends to energize your practice. Make the trends listed here part of a permanent menu of practice offerings.