I have never actively offered gift certificates for several reasons, but I’m starting to revisit my conclusions, which you are welcome to debate, since I’m hardly infallible:
- I’ve always thought of gift certificates for personal services as “girl” things, and over 80% of my clientele is male.
- I’m a person, not an establishment – when giving a gift, most people want some kind of selection.
- The kind of massage you get a gift certificate for is generally perceived as a pampering indulgence, and that’s getting frowned upon these days.
- I work from home, which is a setting that some people find strange or uncomfortable – which is not something that will occur to most gift-givers who like this environment. And there’s a significant price differential if I do a housecall.
Now, I have actually sold a couple of gift certificates, though I don’t even mention the option on my website. Both were for two massages. The first was purchased by a woman and her mother in Florida for her sister who lives in NYC. One of them had had Thai massage and wanted to introduce her sister to it as a Hannukah gift. I guess her mother didn’t have any good gift ideas and jumped on the idea. The other was quite a cute situation – I have a regular client in a nearby law office who raves about me to his co-workers and tries to convince them to stop wasting their money at the asian rub-and-tugs. A few of them come to see me when they’re in a lot of pain. One Christmas, two of them came over to buy a gift certificate for a 3rd guy (who had been to see me once or twice), and the recipient came in for his first massage within a week of getting the GC. He said it was the best gift he had gotten in several Christmases.
I’ve also had a few clients lately who have said they wish they could come more often, but they can only afford to indulge a few times a year. I really should have piped up about adding me to their wish list when people ask what they want for birthdays, Christmases, etc. but after giving a good session, I’m just not in sales mode. I need to change that just a tiny bit. I mean, I know massage therapists who get a bit heavy handed about scheduling your next appointment at the end of your current one, but that really wouldn’t work with the last-minute nature of how most of my business happens. Besides, most appointments made more than 24 hours in advance tend to get cancelled.
So, I would love to hear from anyone about their experiences –
- Getting a massage/spa/personal services gift certificate, or
- Giving a massage/spa/personal services gift certificate, or
- Incorporating gift certificates into their own small businesses
And then starts the fun of determining Terms & Conditions…
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