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Club & Resort Business - Article about men's spa habits features ilike for men products

Homme Improvement


 


Tailoring spa services to men helps clubs and resorts capitalize on this growing spa demographic.


By Laura Watilo Blake, Associate Editor


The secret is out. Men are getting spa treatments in record numbers. But if you're just now starting to address this growing demographic, "you're a bit behind," says Hector Pena, General Manager of Nickel Spa for Men in New York City, which opened in 1998. It's never too late, though, for clubs and resorts to add spa amenities and services that will appeal to the Y chromosome and offer the potential for customer growth.
"There are more men to evangelize," says a spa industry consultant. "Men are recognizing there are significant benefits for them, whether it's anti-aging or just trying to achieve a higher quality of life."
The stresses and challenges that come with hectic professional and personal lives are contributing to the male spa boom. According to BusinessWeek magazine, more than 31 percent of college-educated male workers are regularly logging 50 or more hours a week at work, up from 22 percent in 1980. Even with less free time, men are finding a moment for themselves here or there.
"The guys are so busy," says Kara Tull, Director of Sage Spa, located in the basement of the University Club of Washington, D.C. "It's hard to get them in for more than an hour. Most want to get a massage and get out."
For male members of the University Club, Sage Spa is their temporary sanctuary in the middle of bustling city - only three blocks from the White House.



Sage Advice
While Sage was born out of continual request from female members, men now represent 65% of the spa's clientele, three years after its opening. The key to its success has been the staff's understanding of the differences between men and women and the club's ability to provide amenities tailored to each gender - be in the type of treatment offered, or the environment itself.
Putting male members at ease was a priority from the design phase from Sage. "The men have their own entrance from their locker room, so they don't have to walk in front of everybody," says Tull, who adds that the secret entrance serves another purpose, too: "We have a lot of high profile clients - all of our Supreme Court Justices go there. They don't necessarily want people to know they are getting a spa treatment."
Pena agrees that giving men their own space will help them feel more comfortable when visiting a spa - still considered a female-dominated amenity.
"A guy fears that he will go into a spa, and the women will be talking about soap operas, clothes and fashion," Pena says. "Of course guys will be uncomfortable. And if a guy is a big football player, he'll feel really out of place."



The Right Hook


Because of their negative perception of spas, getting men through the doors in the first place requires one of several approaches.
It may seem antithetical, but Nickel Spa for Men has found that women can have pave the way for a man's inaugural visit. Once a year, the male-only spa allows women into the man zone.
"At valentine's Day, we offer a couple's massage," says Pena. "We allow women at that time only. When men come with a female, they will feel different about (the spa experience). Then guys come on their own afterwards."
For those men who are still unsure of the whole thing, some clubs and resorts offer the opportunity for men to try out the spa experience without the opposite sex present.
"We do a men's night on occasion," says Sheila Bracewell, Director of the PGA Tour Spa Laterra in St. Augustine, Fla. "We like to do things that feature our male guests, because they are the growing demographic."
Sage Spa schedules bi-monthly men's night, complete with discounts on services and complimentary beer and bourbon.
If alcohol doesn't do the trick, sometimes words make all the difference in the world.
"We offer on our spa menu the verbiage that is geared to men," says Adrienne Memmoli, Spa Manager of the Spa at Cascades, located at Woodfield Country Club in Boca Raton, Fla. "We have a gentlemens fitness facial, sports massage, and in the salon, we offer a sea foam pedicure that's unisex. We're trying to get more expansive in our menu with things that will pull men in."


Different Strokes
Even though nothing beats a good old-fashioned massage for either sex ("Massage is our bread and butter," says Bracewell), men are different when it comes to grooming needs, and spas are adapting their menus accordingly.
Some clubs and resorts have begun to offer the hot shave, "which is a big trend right now," says Tull. Over the summer, Sage Spa promoted back waxing to its male clientele. "We had quite a few men try that and get hooked," she reports.
Most spa professionals agree that once a man has sampled what a spa has to offer, he'll be a loyal customer in the future.
"When you get a male client into a spa, he will always come back," says Bracewell. "They seem to embrace it. A prime example is my dad. He's 88 years old and the last person that you would expect to do the whole spa thing. He had his first pedicure in his 70s, and now he has one every month. He thinks it's the best thing, and he enjoys chatting with the girls. He also loves massage, and he says it's what keeps him going - that and golf."


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