Finding, Keeping & Retaining a Great Spa Staff

By Melinda Minton Executive Director, SPAA | May 19, 2010

The Hunt

Finding new employees in and of itself can be a daunting task. This holds true no matter the position from massage therapist to front desk staff, finding the right fit for your team takes effort, patience and a plan. Beginning with an assessment of the staff already in place is oftentimes a good starting point. Who do you currently have on your team? This doesn't simply mean what positions have you filled such as esthetician, front desk, massage therapist, etc. It also means what personalities do you have in place? What are your team's strengths and weaknesses? Do you have a lot of chiefs? Do you sport a number of young fresh out of school technicians? Do you have a team made up of older, more experienced members? What are their personalities like and how do they fit together as a whole? Most importantly how does your current team stack up against your target market? Does your team resemble your key clientele in age, look, personality and skill sets? Do you need to mix up your core staff a bit by adding some youth, mature technicians, cosmopolitan tastes? All of these elements are crucial to analyze and measure before seeking to fill in your staffing gaps.

Key Personality Types:

  • The Newbie: Young, new to the business, energetic: Certainly good to have around this type of employee will add some life to the spa's environment. Ideally, this type of staffer will fit neatly under the wing of a senior staffer and learn the ropes the way your spa prefers that service protocol be performed. Typically a freshly minted technician will adapt to the way your spa does business without question and one day become a leader within the facility in their own right.

  • The Rock: Staffers who have been in the industry for some time who are able to easily able to adapt to the corporate culture are great anchors for the rest of the team. Filled with general technical knowledge and honed in customer service and sales protocols these team members are hard to find but generally easy to keep if compensated well and treated with ample respect. Stable, mature staff members make good mentors to other employees and are proficient in closing the service or retail sale. These employees are worth a bit more pay and a generous benefit package with a list of responsibilities to compliment their experience and attitude.

  • The Mustang: While one mustang per spa or department is usually sufficient, a mustang typically sports one outstanding talent and a following. Known for eye brow shaping, aromatherapy, a specific massage technique or their make up prowess, these rebels are heavily laden with ego and apt to ruffle some feathers on a daily basis. If a mustang can be tolerated, however, they typically can draw an audience to your spa. Mustangs are worth the agony of their demands but are best left alone to their own devices. Isolating a mustang in their own quarters within the spa is typically the best approach.

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Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.