Regional spas, salons urged to boost online marketing tools

Regional spas, salons urged to boost online marketing tools

DUBAI- Regional spas and salons have been told to improve their digital marketing presence, thereby potentially increasing monthly revenue by as much as eight times within two years.

That is what happened to UAE-based Cool Aroma Men’s Spa according to Namita Ramani, CEO and Founder of Spa Genie, who was speaking to hundreds of salon and spa owners today at the Spa and Salon Management Summit in Dubai.

An online marketing expert with more than 16 years’ experience in Dubai, Ramani helped turn around Cool Aroma’s fortunes, simply she says by optimising its website and driving traffic via social media    platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, and using online ads.

“Within the first month of working with Cool Aroma Spa, bookings increased by 20 to 30 per day just from online leads, while revenue increased by 30 per cent,” said Ramani. “Two years later, monthly revenue has grown eight-fold. To meet increased demand, Cool Aroma is now opening a new salon that is four times the size of its existing facility.”

The Spa and Salon Management Summit is co-located with Beautyworld Middle East, currently taking place until tomorrow (29 May), at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Spa and Salon Management Summit at Beautyworld ME 2014The two-day summit, concluding tomorrow, has an international line-up of experts discussing key topics and issues that affect running a spa and salon business in the GCC and wider Middle East.

Sarah Cross, Co-founder of British Brand CODE Beautiful, and another speaker today, added that the only way forward for salon and spa marketing is to embrace digital and social media.

“There are one billion Facebook users, five million Instagram photos uploaded every day, six million unique visitors to Youtube every day, and more than 400 million tweets per day,” said Cross.

“Consumers are so savvy in their research and as salon owners, we have to embrace this huge opportunity to engage our audience via social media; it’s fast, direct and effective. Videos and the new buzz word VLOGS (video blogs) are the new go-to medium for knowledge these days.”

Despite the call for more salons to pick up the slack in online marketing and use more consumer friendly tools that directly engage customers, UAE salons still lag behind more established markets.

Mustafa Sadek, Founder and CEO of UrbanBuz, who spoke about increasing spa profitability with loyalty programmes, said: “It is now more important than ever for spas and salons to make sure that their loyalty programmes are leveraging mobile technology and social media.

“Customers expect to have constant access to information about their favourite outlets anywhere, anytime, and they want to feel that those outlets are looking after them and making the effort to provide it. This is why digital loyalty and marketing platforms offer such ideal opportunities for growth. Companies who fall behind in making use of these channels risk losing ground to their competitors.”

Added Ramani: “The salon and spa industry needs to stop wasting money on print advertising.  As many as 70 per cent of UAE spas and salons don’t have a website, or if they do it’s a very poor one.

“The only way for them to survive is to embrace social and digital media.  This is the future of salon and spa marketing.”

The good news for the regional spa and salon industry is that it is currently enjoying a boom. Leading analysts Euromonitor International estimates that the retail value of the spa industry in the UAE is expected to reach US$ 440 million in 2017, significantly greater than its US$ 330 million value in 2012.  In Saudi, the spa industry is set to reach US$ 58 million in 2017, an increase of 16 per cent from its US$ 50 million value in 2012.

Now in its 19th edition, Beautyworld Middle East 2014 has grown by 24 per cent year-on-year, making this year’s edition the largest ever.  The leading international beauty and wellness trade extravaganza in the wider region brings more than 1,300 international and regional exhibitors in contact with one of the world’s most exciting marketplaces.

Organised by Epoc Messe Frankfurt, Beautyworld Middle East focuses on the five integral show elements of Cosmetics & Skincare; Fragrance; Machinery, Packaging and Raw Materials; Professional Equipment and Spa; and Hair, Nails & Accessories.

Other show highlights in addition to the Spa and Salon Management Summit include the Beautyworld ME Boutique; Fragrance Station; Walk of Beauty by Madi International; Nail It! by OPI and Nazih Group; and Hair Education by Ghd.

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