Courtesy of The Raithwaite Estate Spa, N Yorks
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UK Spa Association

News and views from the UK Spa Association

The rise of the Sophisticated Hen. How to cater for Hen Parties.

hen party uksa blog hen party uksa blog 1

Hen parties visiting spas is nothing new, but in recent years, there’s been a real trend towards the sophisticated hen party - which can translate into huge gains for spa businesses if they cater for these groups accordingly. As an online wedding planning resource for thousands of brides each year, Guides for Brides have a great insight into what brides are looking for in their hen party spa break, and how (and why) spas should be catering to this customer.

In 2017, Blue Chip Holidays polled over 2,065 brides, bridesmaids and anyone attending a hen weekend in the coming year, and asked: “Would you rather go to a classy or tacky hen party?” A huge 85% of respondents said they’d prefer classy. Of that group, 31% percent specifically cited that they wanted to be pampered at a hen.

Our own data supports this - since January, Guides for Brides had over 28,500 page views from brides and bridesmaids on our listed spas, and we expect this number to only increase as hen party planning season gets underway.

Not only is the demand for a sophisticated, pampering hen party there, but so is the capital. According to a survey by Banana Moon, the average hen party spend in 2017 was £507 per person, which reflects the move towards more luxury activities and accommodation. Take into account that the average hen party group is made up of 13 people, and you’re looking at a lucrative demographic.

So how can you capture this customer? These are what our brides and bridal party are looking for in their spas...

Hen appropriate packages - when it comes to booking a hen party, one of the first things that bridesmaids will look at is whether a business offers a hen or wedding specific package. Not only is this far simpler when it comes to group bookings, but it tells hens that they’re welcome at their chosen venue.

A good range of short treatments - When putting together a hen party package, consider offering a range of mini treatments. Unless they are staying overnight at the spa accommodation, most hen groups will spend on average half a day at the spa, so there isn’t time for your group of 13 to have a 45 minute massage each. Between 15 and 30 minutes is the ideal length of time for a treatment, and offering a good range of options (including express massages or facials, manicures and pedicures) makes hens feel more spoiled.

Luxurious communal spaces - It’s unlikely that you’ll have enough treatment rooms to see everyone in a large group at once, so ensuring that your communal spaces work for larger groups is crucial. It may sound simple, but ensuring that there’s ample seating for everyone so that people aren’t forced to split the group will work wonders. Even better, why not offer a dedicated area for group bookings? It will ease any fears of noisy hens disturbing your other customers, and make your group feel even more special. A good example of this is Moddershall Oaks’ newly-built Snug area.

Flexible food options - It’s likely that spa visits from hens will be combined with a meal. As spa visits in the morning are most popular, you’re most likely looking at lunchtime options, but evening spas are also rising in popularity. If you have a restaurant or cafe on-site, then this is a simple solution, but adding in more options for group dining can be an easy way to both pamper your hens and make packages more lucrative. Afternoon tea is a perennial favorite (just be sure you can cater for different dietary requirements, such as vegan and gluten-free), or you can offer tapas or sharing platters while the hens receive treatments.

Group discounts - one of the quickest and simplest ways to make your business appeal to hen parties is to offer group booking discounts. A promotion like this will put you above other local suppliers, especially if you include accommodation in the deal, as keeping costs down is a massive incentive for hens.

See more wedding-specific business tips at Guides for Brides.

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