Over the years, many health clubs have moved away from offering tanning beds as an amenity, due to the health risks associated with indoor tanning by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This move has left a profit center void for some clubs. And for many, that void has been filled by water massage beds, which offer dry, full-body massages through the use of pressurized water.
“I think they’re a very good addition to a club,” said Tom Deimler, the vice president of sales and marketing at California Family Fitness. “They’re a nice way to transition out of tanning and use that space for something that’s healthier.”
While water massage beds can cost a few thousand dollars per unit, there are numerous benefits and perks to adding the amenity to your club’s offerings.
For example, they offer numerous health benefits for members, such as reducing pain, anxiety and tension. They can also help members warm up their muscles before workouts, or loosen them afterward to counteract soreness.
As California Family Fitness learned, the first and most important step to implementing these beds is adjusting your budget and projected profits accordingly. “Fitting it into your pricing strategy is key,” said Deimler. “It took us a while to get warmed up to the revenue generation potential, but we are starting to see that profit now.”
Once you’ve determined a price point for the water massage beds, it’s time to develop your strategy for selling the amenity to your members. According to Deimler, there are three ways to do so.
“Sell that service as a separate service in your club, like any other retail item or service you might sell,” said Deimler. “After somebody has joined, have them sign up for a package of sessions or one to however many you can sell them, and continue to resell that prospect.”
If you have some members who prefer to only get billed for their memberships, you can always take the bundle route. “The second way is making it part of a membership upgrade option where you get to use those beds as part of your membership,” said Deimler.
And of course, you can always try a healthy mix of the two methods. “The third way is to do a little bit of both,” said Deimler. “That’s what we currently do. You can buy it as part of your membership or as something separate from your membership.”
Outside of pricing options, there are other ways you can effectively market water massage beds. An often overlooked component of selling any amenity is its visibility and ease of access for members.
“It took us a little bit of trial and error trying to figure out where to physically put the beds,” said Deimler. “At first, we started out with private rooms and then we gravitated more toward open areas with more visibility in order to increase sales. If you stick them in a back corner room, they’re out of sight, out of mind for the members and staff.”
In addition, it’s important to clearly demonstrate what the water massage beds do and how they benefit the member. To do so, your staff must be educated on their functionality and benefits. Otherwise, they’ll have a hard time selling members on the product’s usefulness.
“Get a good, visible area to place the beds and decide what sales process you want to pursue,” said Deimler. “Once you decide that, make sure the staff is trained on how to use the beds, give as many demonstrations as possible and have everybody on the staff actually use it.”
Even more, a staff member who is passionate about the positive effects of water massage beds should have more success selling them as a service.
“Pretty much everybody on staff can sell the benefits of those beds,” said Deimler. “It’s just better if they’ve used it and they understand it. They become excited ambassadors about the use of the beds for members.”
Follow these tips, and water massage beds could be your next big profit center.