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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Social Media: Getting Personal

There Social media platforms have revolutionized the hotel industry. Popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Tumblr now account for 2.3 billion active users, and this phenomenon has forever transformed how businesses interact with consumers. Given that social media allows for two-way communication between businesses and consumers, the emphasis of any marketing strategy must be to positively and personally engage the customer, and there are innumerable ways to accomplish that goal. One popular strategy is to encourage hotel guests to create their own personal content - typically videos and photos -which can be shared via their personal social media networks, reaching a sizeable audience. In addition, geo-locational tags and brand hashtags can be embedded in such posts which allow them to be found via metadata searches, substantially enlarging their scope. Influencer marketing is another prevalent social media strategy. Some hotels are paying popular social media stars and bloggers to endorse their brand on social media platforms. These kinds of endorsements generally elicit a strong response because the influencers are perceived as being trustworthy by their followers, and because an influencer's followers are likely to share similar psychographic and demographic traits. Travel review sites have also become vitally important in reputation management. Travelers consistently use social media to express pleasure or frustration about their guest experiences, so it is essential that every review be attended to personally. Assuming the responsibility to address and correct customer service concerns quickly is a way to mitigate complaints and to build brand loyalty. Plus, whether reviews are favorable or unfavorable, they are a vital source of information to managers about a hotel's operational performance.  The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to effectively incorporate social media strategies into their businesses.