“Let’s not Sugarcoat things, the Spa business is not all that Glamorous”

“Let’s not sugarcoat things, the spa business is not all that glamorous”

It’s easy when you’re an editor, to post about all the pretty things in the spa business, so you can keep your cool with all parties being featured and doing business with for future reference. But let’s be real, because I speak from what I see. We as a spa community are in the know, of how unsupportive our strategic alliances and upper level management should be, and how much our skilled trade professionals takes a hit by being overbooked illegally with no breaks and crappy pay. Parlaying into place with the front desk team where there is constant turnover causing only moments of working harmoniously with the treatment providers, hence their gratuities and commissions are tampered with. We as a group know all of the product brands that should not even be FDA approved, we know who has the worst reputation and should steer clear of, and how unstructured this spa world is.

Its hospitality, only we work with managing emotions, and are not compensated for the amount of hours put into a days work and it’s never enough. Not every spa has the budget to provide a professional to oversee the providers, who despise their uncomfortable uniforms, who can’t get quality conversation time with a manager, and who hardly gains consistent access to using any of the products used and sold in the spa everyday.

This isn’t any industry, it’s the spa industry.

When will the state division of licensing services and department of labor get onboard with fast forward thinking of reimplementing the established rules and regulations to protect our staff and guests. It begins in the trade schools, the teachers with all of that great work “experience”, the nonexistent college curriculums, the health requirements, and the fact that the word ‘spa’ doesn’t even have its own category in a drop down menu of a job application.

It’s not recognized.

Why do we allow employees to oversee a department who may have past a test but not be qualified enough when there be a liable situation to a guest if not properly monitored. Why are thorough trainings not happening as mandatory? Why do spas keep opening that continuously are not planned properly from its constructional phases, with no space for linens, no amenity areas attached to the treatment rooms, . It can be the most profitable business if there are codes and mandatory guidelines outside of the norm, in the blueprint stage.

More and more spa operations managers are looking for a way out. We’re working when everyone is playing moreso then the other departments of say, a resort or fitness center. There is constant turnover for a reason, with little to no support from other department heads, excluding engineering, which may not always be so, in every case. Most spa directors have a huge ego but they’re making less money then their “annoying” sales reps who are actually just calling to let you know they’re there and can make their lives easier. Where are the CEO’s, the business owners and hotel managers in this? Outside of the demanding spa world, there are guests who look at this as a place of tranquility and to unwind. They feel the tension and know there are issues but they come for the idea of escaping the norm.

It is a mess …..and if it’s going to evolve, decisions need to be made from the schools, to the state licensing and department of health, from upper level management to the architectural blueprints of building or expanding on a spa project. Sure there are exceptions. In other parts of the USA or the world, spas are more valued as a way of life, where services are sometimes paid for by the government, hence there is better structure in place.

Cheers from Montauk to Miami and around the world! ~WOS


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