Over the past few years the internet has played a significant role in changing the way massage therapists market themselves. From social networking sites like Facebook, to promotional videos on Youtube, and review sites like Qype and Google there are now many avenues for getting the word out there about your massage business. The latest big trend is discount voucher / coupon sites offering amazing discounts on massage (plus just about everything else)… but do they really offer value to the customer (or the therapist for that matter?).
The problem with heavy discounting (and often with Groupon and Living Social we are talking up to 70%) is that it creates high demand but very little revenue. This is fine if you are selling a commodity, like tins of bakes beans, as you can keep selling more until you eventually (if you’re lucky) break even and make some money…. but translate this to your massage therapist (or many other service industries) and you have an extremely busy, but frazzled therapist working extremely long hours for very little gain.
Here’s some example figures… 1 hour massage costs £45, Groupon discount is 70% means the treatment sells for £13.50. Groupon charge including VAT is 50% = £6.75. Therapist will typically pay 30 to 50% in rental charges = £4.72 …. for an hours massage!!
Not surprisingly recent research has shown that whilst running a Groupon offer will dramatically increase the number reviews left for you business – it will actually lower the ratings you get.
(Groupon’s Hidden Influence on Reputation)
Worst of all from a business perspective is that you may even be turning away ‘full price’ clients because you are so booked up. Recently I was looking at online booking systems and found a therapy centre in London that actually said on it’s website ‘fully booked for next 2 months due Groupon offer’.. great I hear you cry …BUT fully booked and making minimal profit is anything but great and this may eventually feed into the quality of the massage treatment you receive (ever had a massage from a therapist that’s fully booked and working a 10 hour day and making less then minimum wage?).
Over the past 5 years there has been a real push amongst massage therapists to be taken seriously as health professionals and this is reflected in the advanced high quality training that is now undertaken by many therapists offering clinical therapeutic massage. Quality remedial body work should not be undervalued and ultimately these discount sites are helping draw a distinction between excellent therapeutic massage and a rub down at the local Beauty Salon.
In life you generally get what you pay for! That’s not to say there is no place for promotions – just a need for perspective. Natural Balance Therapies is a centre of excellence for massage in Brighton & Hove. For the latest offers (nothing here that’s too good to be true) click here