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The whole of the UK is now back in business and tanning customers again. Understandably, the relief is palpable and it has been an absolute delight to see flooded across social media and of course, in our conversations with salon owners and operators, that tanning bed reservations and queues to tan are beyond all of our wildest expectations – long may this remain!
Unfortunately, at the time of writing, many countries throughout mainland Europe remain in lockdown or in some level of lockdown; but it is clear that the restrictions are slowly easing and the vaccination programme is having a positive impact on the confidence of governments to enable society to re-open.
We should ask our customers to post positively and look at marketing initiatives to encourage them to do so.
With the tanning season upon us, the timing for re-opening is ideal. Of course, there’s no doubt many salons will need to make the most of the season to claw back and hopefully, boost cash reserves that have been depleted during the last year. But the initial signs are good, indeed they are very, very good.
It is also so wonderfully reassuring to see the number of new tanning salons at various stages of opening. Many of these are completely new businesses, with people coming into the industry for the first time and this, I believe, is such a pertinent point to note. As I have mentioned before, there is no online option for our sector and the desire to tan and feel the warmth of the sunshine on our skin, particularly in the UK where we don’t get an abundance of sunshine, is probably stronger now than it has ever been.
Established salon chains are announcing and opening new facilities, keen to capture the strong demand for tanning and build upon their brand loyalty as we slowly begin to emerge from the effects of the pandemic.
Whilst there’s no question our business is about responsible cosmetic tanning, there’s equally no ignoring the fact that people gain more than just a tan when they visit a professional salon. Social media comments make it abundantly clear that a tan is just part of the overall experience.
Feeling good about oneself (and who doesn’t feel better with a tan?) is a powerful factor in our overall well being and, as you will be aware, there has been so much focus on our wellbeing across all media platforms during lockdown. And of course, the plethora of published research regarding the role of vitamin D and more recently, nitric oxide, both naturally produced in our bodies when exposed to sunlight, in fighting the pandemic and improving general health and well being, continues to roll out unabated.
But when it comes to marketing these facts, quite frankly, one could argue there’s no real need for it. The dissemination of this information is already being done by tanners, themselves, as they regularly post and comment on social media – word of mouth, or perhaps we should now be saying “power of post” is free, informative and impactful. But it does make sense that we should be asking our customers to post positively and for salons to look at marketing initiatives to encourage them to do so.
And when it comes to the research and science behind the benefits of UV exposure beyond tanning, the media simply can’t seem to get enough of this with almost daily coverage of yet another published study.
Of course, we will always need to champion a focus on the basics of a tanning service, not least ensuring well-trained and informed staff to, amongst other things, ensure tanning NOT burning is the primary outcome of a visit to a professional tanning salon.
It’s so great to be writing with a positive outlook again. This last year will never be forgotten; but my goodness, there is UV light at the end of this tunnel for all of us!
In the tanning industry since 1982, Gary is Managing Director of the UK subsidiary of Ergoline, and runs Ergoline Plus, the exclusive distributor for a wide range of sunless products and spray systems. He is also Chairman of the Media Committee for the UK’s Sunbed Association & a European Sunlight Association member.
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