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October 13, 2015

Plan Ahead: Gift Certificate Sales & Redemption Strategies

Gift certificate sales! We love them, brag about them, and try to outsell the previous year, thinking about all that extra cash and how we can spend it. But this can be an issue, as the collected revenues from gift certificate sales are actually a liability—a promise of a future service. Therefore, effective and efficient redemption is critical.

It’s good to review this topic pre-holiday every year to get you thinking about your gift certificate sales and how you can build a strong redemption plan for the next year. The ideal plan is focused on guiding your gift certificate recipients into your spa when you need the extra foot traffic.

There are many benefits for your spa when you redeem certificates. The most obvious of these is that many of those recipients are new clients who have the potential to become regular, loyal guests. Existing clients who receive gift certificates can be enticed to try new treatments. You should think about treatments that offer a high profit margin, set your spa apart, and have a direct impact on retail sales.

Guiding Redemption

Because you may not know the intended gift certificate recipient, it's important to plan and guide redemption by offering incentives with each sale.

Examples of incentives you can add with the sale include:

  • Mid-Week Special Offers
    • This can be a special value-add promotion during your slower days or months to entice traffic when you need it most. Try offers like “Free Collagen Eye Treatment with our Signature Facial Treatment on any Tuesday or Wednesday in February” or “Complimentary Eco-fin® moisturizing hand treatment with the Spa Pedicure / Manicure package on Tuesdays through March.”
  • Bring a Friend Month or Girlfriend Getaway Month
    • Which month is your slowest? Entice multiple service bookings with group offers.
  • Bounce Back
    • If you really want to plan effectively, offer constant incentives to keep clients coming back. For example, your slow months might be February, July, and November and your slow days could be Tuesday-Thursday. The first offer that accompanies the gift certificate sale should be for February. When they come in and take advantage of that offer, they receive an offer for Tuesday treatments in March or Wednesday treatments in April, etc. By providing value over pure discounts, your offers generate more margin, lead to retail sales that boost incremental profit, and build a guest loyalty program all at once!

Building a redemption structure for gift certificate sales is all about planning, but it doesn’t take a lot of time to identify slow periods that you can promote. This will help increase overall sales, keep traffic more consistent throughout the year, lead to higher retail sales, and boost morale.

Here are a few more tips to get you started with your Gift Certificate Redemption Plan:

  • Review your historical spa usage and sales statistics.
  • Identify your slow periods, days, and times of the year.
  • Guide your redemption incentives to fill your slower times.
  • If you prefer to sell specific treatments rather than dollar amounts, be sure you're offering treatments that lead to retail and service enhancement options.
  • Take the opportunity to guide clients to signature experiences and services outside of massage with gift certificates.

And remember, there are typically three big gift certificate selling seasons for most spas: Holiday Season, Valentine’s Day, and Mother’s Day.


Universal Companies is proud to have a team of experienced spa advisors on staff and welcomes you to consult with our professionals about spa products and supplies, including ingredients, equipment, and retail. Dedicated to the success of spa professionals everywhere, we're grateful to be recognized with the American Spa Magazine Professional's Choice Award, Favorite Distributor of the Year for many consecutive years. (Thank you!)


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