Operating During the Pandemic: What Salons and Spas have Learned

As spas and salons move past the one-year anniversary of the first COVID-19 lockdowns, it’s a good time to reflect on the enormous challenges presented by the pandemic. Salons and spas across the country were closed for months, and even when they were able to reopen, they had to brainstorm creative solutions and observe new safety measures. These challenges taught salon and spa owners a number of important lessons that will help prepare for the future.

Work in salons and spas is mostly in close quarters, so when they first reopened, concerns about employee and client safety made mask requirements, social distancing policies and capacity limits absolutely essential. These changes also brought about a greater emphasis on cleanliness and sanitation.

Following CDC recommendations, salons and spas are required to regularly clean and disinfect surfaces, equipment, and commonly used areas in between serving customers. Staff are expected to frequently wash and sanitize their hands. Practices like these have made salons and spas as safe an environment as possible given the circumstances.

They also found innovative practices to deal with lost business. As we’ve highlighted previously, without the capability to offer in-person services, salons and spas emphasized beauty product sales and offered customers options that would help drive revenue when customers were unable to receive their normal treatments and services. And exclusive brand products and promotions helped attract and retain new business.

There was also a renewed focus on customer relationships. Salons and spas regularly reached out to clients to confirm they were satisfied with their beauty regimen and, when appointments weren’t available, to offer advice and product recommendations. Those that implemented these practices helped foster strong relationships that improved customer loyalty and elevated the reputation of their salon or spa.

Finally, the beauty industry showed its charitable side by driving charitable efforts to help keep other spas and salons afloat during these difficult times. When looking back at how they navigated the pandemic, salon and spa owners can use the invaluable lessons learned to help find continued growth and secure the future of their businesses — in good times and bad.

Kathy Lopez, Account Manager for SASSI, the Salon and Spa Specialty Insurance program at Brownyard Group. She can be reached at klopez@brownyard.com.

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