According to the International Spa Association, there were more than 18,000 spas operating in the United States in 2008. Standing out from the competition and positioning your spa for success isn’t easy but a SWOT analysis can help. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. These are the internal and external marketing factors that can help or hinder a business. A SWOT analysis takes a close look at each of these factors and provides valuable insight.


The "Strengths" section of a SWOT analysis highlights positive characteristics that give a business a competitive advantage. A day spa SWOT analysis will mention good qualities related to the resort’s facilities, staff, equipment and services. An on-site beauty salon or well equipped facilities with cutting edge gear are two possible examples. However, your strengths need to single you out from the competition. If the majority of spas in your area include beauty salons, your salon is no longer considered a strength.


The "Weaknesses" section of a SWOT goes over the undesirable characteristics of a business. Poor company culture, bad training techniques, financial limitations, staffing problems and other internal factors create weaknesses. An inexperienced staff and a limited service menu are examples of shortcomings that may be mentioned in a day spa SWOT. If you have trouble identifying weaknesses, ask current customers and clients.


The "Opportunities" section of a SWOT outlines the positive trends affecting the entire marketplace. These trends operate outside the spa’s realm of influence. They cannot be controlled or created, nor can they be tied to any single organization. Say, for example, spa-themed birthday parties become very fashionable. This is an opportunity for all spas. Study news reports related to spa treatments, customer buying behavior and financial data to identify opportunities.


In this section, highlight the social and financial trends that are negatively affecting all the spas in your market. If women in your area aren’t spending as much as they used to on beauty treatments, this change could threaten the well being of all spas. Like opportunities threats, are external marketing factors. They cannot be controlled or created by decision-makers within the spa.

SWOT Applications

Incorporate SWOT analysis findings into your marketing plan. Target customers that will be impressed with your strengths and do not place much importance on your weaknesses. Take a close look at your weaknesses and find out how much it would cost to rectify them. If the income you stand to gain outweighs the costs, go ahead and address the problem. Promote strengths in your marketing communications.

Be proactive when it comes to the outside forces. Capitalize on opportunities. If day spa parties become the “it” thing, allow group appointments, offer party-related services like catering, and considering hiring a party coordinator or event sales person. Develop strategies to lessen the effect of threats. If the economy forces customers to tighten their belt, offer discount packages or inexpensive stand-alone services that are easier on the wallet.