Medical Spas – A Booming Industry

Written by on January 31, 2014 in Insight - No comments

For an image-obsessed society that fights tooth and nail against aging, it should come as no surprise that the medical spa industry is booming. Affluent customers who demand the best, whether it is essential healthcare services or elective cosmetic enhancements, make a beeline to high-end med spas for chemical peels and Botox shots.

FaceMaskWEBHybrids of medical clinics and day spas, medical spas are popular all over the world. South-east Asian countries promote spa tourism as the perfect complement to a beach holiday or for sightseers to relax and rejuvenate before heading back home. Marketdata Enterprises, in their 127 page report on medical spas, reveals that 2100 spas now operate in the US, and the $1.94 billion industry is poised to hit $3.6 billion by 2016.

For many physicians who own their own medical practice, the idea of starting a spa is alluring because it allows generation of additional income with the ability to better manage work hours. But unfortunately, the highly consumer-oriented patient base of the medical spa industry is not what a typical physician may be used to. Day-to-day operations of a traditional medical clinic and spa differ from each other in many significant aspects. To open up a spa and be successful, it is important to be mindful of the different dynamics of marketing, customer service, and sales in each industry.

So you want to start a spa

Physicians who are interested in developing a successful medical spa will find the following tips useful.

Determine whether it is a feasible idea

Ask and answer difficult questions before you take the plunge. Why are you considering opening your own medical spa? Are your goals realistic? Do you have an already existing patient base which will easily convert to spa customers? Do you want to open a new spa or integrate medical aesthetic services into your own practice? Do you have enough money to fund infrastructure for the spa and the working capital? Do you have the financial ability to wait for at least three years till you start seeing some return on your investment? Have you found the right location? Do you have access to the right demographic?

Seek professional advice

If you have decided that you would like to go ahead, you may want to engage the services of a consultant, an accountant, and a lawyer, right from the get go. The medical spa industry must comply with several legal and regulatory requirements. It is crucial that you choose the right legal structure to protect yourself against any possible regulatory or legal issues, and to ensure that the practice is set up to be compliant with the law. The International Association for Physicians in Aesthetic Medicine (IAPAM) helps by holding symposiums to educate and empower physicians who want to step into the spa industry.

Set up the infrastructure

Equipment for medical spa can be expensive. If you lease the equipment rather than buy, you will be able to regularly update to the latest models offering state-of-the-art facilities. Make sure that the equipment company also provides support in replacing and repairing items quickly, and will also help train your staff in operating and maintaining the machines.

Choose, train, and develop your staff members

Remember that the medical spa industry is highly service-oriented. It is important to choose friendly, service-minded people to staff your spas with. You may consider hiring spa staff from your existing employees and training them, or recruiting people who have medical spa experience and will therefore need no further training. The compensation for medical spa staff is usually structured different than for staff at a traditional practice. Spa employees will be encouraged to offer better services if their incentives are tied to performance and customer satisfaction.

Promote your practice

You will need to allocate a good amount of marketing and advertising budget to promote your practice. It is necessary to have a well-designed professional website and an active social media presence. Don’t be shy to ask for testimonials from satisfied clients. If you have celebrities as clients, highlight them to bring in new customers.

Venturing into the medical spa industry can be very rewarding. But if you take a leap without planning or thinking through the legal and regulatory issues, it can end up being a disastrous affair. It isn’t possible to run a medical spa like you would run a clinic. Customers can be cranky, fussy and will demand to be pampered and well taken care of. Extensive marketing, client interest, and unparalleled customer service are required to run a successful medical spa.

Nisha Salim is a freelance writer specializing in the healthcare niche. She also blogs about content marketing and social media. Find her on Twitter @nocnoi.

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