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spaweekIt was Spa Week a few weeks ago. While in theory it’s a good idea, friends who have gone to some pretty well regarded spas walk away from the experience totally thinking that spa is crap. And I know why.

Generally bookings are back-to-back without time to even PEE, and the clients are not terribly interested in listening to advice to improve their skin. This past Spa Week promo was spent with some serious skin know-it-alls, who clearly got their info from Allure Magazine, and we all know how I feel about THEM.  These clients just want a cheap treatment and lots of extractions no matter WHAT the damage. Extractions at any cost is asking for disaster.

Rant over.

I promised to share some tips and ideas for those willing to brave Spa Week, so here are eight for the brave souls willing to negotiate Spa Week:

1. If you have serious skin issues, pass over the promo, spend the extra 50 bucks and get a good facial where you and the esthetician can make a smart decision about what your skin needs, instead of this steam-and-cream business that goes on during Spa Week.

Now the rest of the tips are for those who simply cannot pass up a bargain:

2. Book your appt for early in the day. If that’s not possible, try to find out when the shifts change and book early in the change-over. Given the sheer volume of people that come in during Spa Week (particularly on the weekends), you are better off with an esthetician who is fresh and ready than one who has not eaten all day and probably has to pee. If a spa is open 9AM – 9PM, the shifts are generally 9-3 and 3-9.  If the hours seem odd, or they extend hours for Spa Week, try to find out when (and IF) there is a change over and book accordingly.

3. Try to go during a weekday. Weekends are crazy busy booked up and you will get a better treatment before or after work or during your lunch break. If that’s not possible, see above.

4. Be prepared to leave your credit card number to hold the booking. It’s standard. And you will get charged if you pull a no-show. The esthetician could have easily filled that appointment during Spa Week.  Most estheticians work on a commission only basis, so if the appointment is blown off, she doesn’t get paid. And that sucks. We are trying to make a living. Respect that.

5. If you think you had a great facial and are super happy with the treatment, tip on the regular price of the facial, not the discount price. The esthetician will remember the good clients for the next Spa Week, so you may get an add on for no additional charge. I’ll throw something in discounted or free if a client is a good one.

6. If you are not at all interested in purchasing product, politely tell the esthetician at the end of the treatment when the product sale happens. All spas work differently, so if you are in a spa were the esthetician walks you to the front desk to go over  product options, she will appreciate not having to spend the extra five or ten minutes. It could give her time to pee or gulp down a power bar!

7. Show up 15 minutes prior to your appointment to fill out paper work and get changed. This will maximize your treatment time. Because bookings are on top of each other, we simply cannot fall behind since there is no room for correction. If you arrive even “just on time” the clock has started and you will receive a shortened treatment since 10 minutes of that time was spent filling out forms.  This is actually a good rule to follow in general, but particularly crucial during promo weeks.

8. If there are spas you really want to try out, go to their website and get on their email list. Spas offer promos year-round, and you can snag a good deal without facing the Spa Week madness.