Why Are More Salons & Spas Offering ‘Membership’ Plans?

Image courtesy of JoelZimmer

When you buy a gym membership, do you go more often than if you had to make the decision to go and pay separately for each visit? You go more often, because you’ve already paid for it. That’s what fans like about salon or spa memberships that keep them loyal to one business, and make sure they come back every month.

Businesses like Massage Envy have brought this business model nationwide: you pay a monthly subscription fee and you get to book one massage, with optional add-ons. A recent New York Times article focused on other variations on this business model, which include memberships that entitle holders to waxing sessions, massages, blowouts, and the services of a makeup artist.

Whether it’s beauty boxes, shoe subscriptions, or VIP memberships to buy sports bras, buying subscriptions to things instead of shopping is an important current trend. Chains of spas and salons are taking advantage with plans that let customers pay either for unlimited services or prepay for a limited number.

Unlimited services include an unlimited waxing plan for $89 per month (tax and tip are not included in the monthly subscription) or unlimited visits to a makeup artist for $250 per month. There’s an app that lets you summon as many in-home massage sessions as you like, or unlimited salon sessions.

A blowout (blow-drying and styling one’s hair) chain in New York charges $80 for a monthly membership, which entitles the member to two visits.

Why would someone actually do this? Sure, the subscription prices represent a discount over regular prices, but not a significant one.

“It’s like paying in advance for SoulCycle,” a subscriber to the $89/month waxing studio told the Times. “If I’ve paid for it, I know I have to go a lot more.”

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