6 Ways to Give Your Spa More Sensory Appeal

Do clients rush into your spa right at appointment time, and once finished, leave just as abruptly? Or do they come in early to relax, stay after their treatment for a cup of tea, and linger because they’re reluctant to leave the oasis you have created?

Your spa ambience and the refreshments you offer are what elevate you from a location for treatments to a full-on relaxing retreat from stress.

The sensory stimuli that greet clients when they walk in the door are as important as the friendly smiles of staff. Creating a unique, soothing spa ambiance that makes clients feel pampered is relatively easy and inexpensive. The extra effort often leads to greater client retention, retail sales, and word of mouth advertising.

Here are six things to consider for stimulating you clients’ senses.

Multi-sensory Design Matters

The most enjoyable and memorable events arouse all five senses. Spa furnishings and accessories don’t need to be expensive, but they need to appeal to all senses and promote a feeling of serenity and indulgence. People are more likely to remember and talk about experiences encountered through multiple senses, so apply some of these sensory-stimulating suggestions to help your spa experience stick with clients long after they leave.


Soft lighting is usually associated with relaxing spas. Think candles, lamps, and more candles. Clients should be able to see well enough to read, but the lighting should be inviting and subdued. Colored lampshades and light covers can be used to create a specific mood. Beautiful pictures and flower arrangements provide visual pleasure. Keep appearances clean and simple—aim for tranquil and meditative rather than busy or complex. Don’t overlook the role of shapes and the balance of space, furniture, and objects in producing a peaceful setting.


When clients enter your spa, the outside world should fade away. The sounds clients hear should convey a welcoming atmosphere. This can be communicated through electronic new age music, a Zen-like fountain, or with nature sounds, like ocean waves or rain.

Whatever sounds you choose, find a balance between loud enough to mask street noise and quiet enough for people to think.


Like sound, the smells of your spa should quickly transport your clients out of their everyday world into a luxurious haven. Create a sensuous setting with scented candles and essential oil diffusers strategically placed near the entrance and in your waiting area.


Clients won’t come to your spa because of your refreshments, but they will talk about your refreshments when they talk about you. Every spa offers water and herbal tea—it’s not hard to rise above that baseline. Since not many spas try, clients will remember you for it.

What can you do to stand out? Choose teas that clients can’t get at the store down the street. Make sure your drinks are delicious, soothing and special—and available for purchase to enjoy at home. If you have a dishwasher, use glassware and plates. Make the presentation pretty with attractive drink dispensers, classy snack canisters, and serving trays. Fresh or dried fruit, nut and seed mixes, and cookies or crackers show clients they’re welcome in your spa.


Clients come to your spa to be touched, but their tactile experience begins outside the treatment room. What they touch while waiting matters. Seats should be comfortable and easy to get in and out of. Add soft throw pillows with a lush texture. If it fits with your feng shui, add a cushy throw rug. Don’t overlook the temperature—the room temperature should be pleasant and appropriate for the weather outside.

Tying it all together

Picture your ideal client lingering after her treatment, sipping tea, and browsing your products. Picture your clients scheduling time to sit and enjoy the ambience of your spa. When they leave, rested and refreshed, your fabulous spa is all they talk about.

What would make her stay? Feeling pampered in a sensuous cocoon. You can create that ambiance with harmonious design elements that appeal to every sense—attractive furnishings smoothly blending together, complementary sounds and smells, and healthy refreshments.

Clients want to feel cared for. Stimulate all their senses to create a feeling they’ll want to revisit again and again.

Universal Companies is proud to offer professional training and education, both online and in-person. Our customers can become brand certified or read our articles online, where they can also shop the broadest selection of spa products, equipment, and supplies. 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, consecutively for many years. (Thank you!)

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