Being ‘Present’ – Giving Spa Guests Your Full Attention

How we treat and communicate with our guests in spas or salons is a critical factor in their impression of the experience. It has a major influence on how they feel about their visit to your business. But how do we give them our full attention? What are the specific things we can do to demonstrate to the guest that they are the most important person to us in that moment?

There are many techniques that can help you to convey that you are giving the guest your full attention, and these same techniques actually do make you give the guest your full attention! When you employ these techniques, you will find yourself engaging with your guest in the best possible way. Here, being present-giving spa guests your full attention

Be Prepared for Your Spa Guests

You can only give your guest your full attention if you are prepared to do so. It starts with being on time, and continues with being organized throughout your day. Are you able to manage your working time efficiently? Manage your time effectively by planning ahead, setting goals, determining priorities and, minimizing interruptions.

Make sure your space, supplies and equipment are all prepared in advance so you are not distracted by setting up. Convey a professional appearance with appropriate clothing and cleanliness. It demonstrates a respect and commitment to your profession and lets the guest know that you take your work seriously.

Before your guest’s arrival, be prepared by knowing as much about them as you can so you can greet them properly and not need to ask them about past treatments or services: you will be better able to focus instead on their present needs. This includes knowing what services they had, what product they used, and yes: what they spent with you. With repeat guests, make notes about the guest and the conversations you had. Read over those notes before the guest arrives. By refreshing your memory about a guest’s planned travel or event, you’ll be able to ask them about their trip or how that anniversary party went.

Being properly prepared can contribute greatly to a positive guest experience.

Your Spa Guest’s Arrival

It’s show time! Make sure you make eye contact, greet them warmly and avoid distractions. It’s the guest’s turn for attention — ignore your cell phone and whatever is going on in the room, and focus all you attention on your guest.

Even the posture you have when you greet your guest matters. Our body language ‘speaks’ volumes about our attitude, energy and focus. Standing up straight conveys that we are interested and attentive.

Maintaining control over your own emotions is very important in good customer service. Do your best to put aside your own personal stresses before your guest arrives. Keeping your emotions in check will help you to deal with on-the-job surprises, changes in schedule, and negative or angry spa guests.

If you’re not ready and in the right frame of mind, they will sense that you are too distracted to give them your full attention. Make sure you’re ready so that things start off on the right foot.

Get into the mindset that you will treat each guest independently from any other guests that day. Don’t let a negative comment from an earlier guest affect the way you treat your next guest. Each interaction with the same guest must also be treated separately. They may be in a different mood, or have different needs. Responding appropriately to the way they act and what they say on that particular day will demonstrate that you are giving them your full attention.

Listening to Your Spa Guest’s Needs

Listen carefully to the guest’s requests and needs. Ask questions to verify and clarify what you’ve heard. This shows that you were truly listening.

Refrain from sarcasm and critical comments, and be patient with your guest as they may not be clearly expressing their needs, or they may be unsure.

By paying close attention, you may be able to detect hesitation or uncertainty in what they are telling you.  If you pick up on those cues, take the opportunity to question them further and hopefully they will reveal their true thoughts about the service or treatment you are going to do. Maybe they just need a little more information to make them comfortable about trying a different service, treatment, haircut or colour.   

Give them thorough responses to questions, and make sure that the answer you gave actually answered their question.

When an element of personalization is introduced to your guest, it helps them to feel special. Know the client, products, and services well enough that you can present them to the client in a personalized way – how that product or service is good for their particular needs or how a treatment can be done to best suit the guest.

Being a persuasive speaker can dramatically improve your customer interactions. The secret of persuasive speaking is putting the verbal focus on the target of persuasion (the customer), rather than on the speaker. In practice, it means calling a customer by name, using action-oriented words, the active tense in words or phrases instead of the passive tense and avoiding prefacing statements (like ‘I think’ or ‘I believe’) that express your personal thoughts or opinions. Putting your customers at the centre will make them feel more respected and appreciated.

Communicating with other staff and management

The same principals we discussed regarding how to interact with your guest applies also to your engagement with other staff and management. Use these same strategies with your co-workers in order to foster a positive work environment. You are either a positive contributor to your work space, or not.

Mental Discipline

You can use all the techniques above to help you stay in the moment, but often it is your own mental discipline that can be your greatest asset. When your mind starts to wander to other areas of work or life, your ability to come back to the present is critical. These mental wanderings can distract you from the technical competency of treating your guest. In fact, they also impact your guest in a subtle but powerful way. You quite likely know the difference of how it feels when someone is completely focused on you or not focused. Two massage therapists can perform the exact same massage, but the one who stays ‘present’ with their guest will always get greater results and long term loyalty. Being present indicates care for the guest, and that is truly what they are looking for and deserve.

Give your guests your full attention, get ‘present’, and they will give back the gift of their loyalty and dollars.

Need help getting results in your spa? Contact Spaformation at here. or reach out at [email protected]

How HEALTHY is your SPA Business?


Your days are full of treatments, meetings, deadlines and team member issues. In order to stay on top of it all you have to stay on the run. Right? Not really, if you want to see the big picture. Stay grounded with what is important to your success.  The question is how often do you stand back and take a look at the overall health of your spa business?

In order to keep your finger on the pulse of your operation it is important to keep track of the items and areas that are most important to you in the overall health of your spa business. Sometimes you may not be sure of what those key factors are so here is a TOP 10 list of what to watch.

Bottom Line

  1. PROFIT – it may sound odd to you but many spa operators do not know what this number is. Are you profitable? How profitable are you? As a prudent spa operator you want to know the amount of the profit and also the percentage of the profit in relation to the revenue. It may be that the business profit is $50,000 per year. This is appropriate for a spa that is generating $400,000 is gross sales but not for one that is generating $1,000,000. Make sure you now what is right for your spa so you can maximize your potential. Typically we expect to see between 10%-15% profit.


  1. REVENUE GROWTH – Is your revenue constantly growing? If you are a start up operation you want to see steady growth month by month. Once you have passed the one year mark you want to see the continuation of the month by month growth but also see growth when you compare the performance of the same month last year to the current year. As your operation continues you will look to insure that those corresponding months continue to grow year after year.


  1. LABOUR COST – Many spa operators do not calculate labour costs. It is the single biggest expense you will ever have in your spa so you had better know if it is in line.

We calculate labour cost as follows:

Total Cost of Labour

Labour Cost %  =       (includes wages, benefits, bonuses, incentives, government deductions, (CPP,UIC etc.))

Total Revenue

Depending on the size and nature of your operation this ratio should be between 35%-50%. If your costs are significantly higher than that you will likely need to review your compensation strategy and your sales volumes.

  1. RETAIL COST – this is the cost of the items you sell on a retail level in relation to sales revenue generated. It is calculated as follows:

Total Cost of Retail Items

Retail Cost %  =       (includes cost of item, shipping and taxes (where applicable)

Total Retail Sales Revenue

This also relates to your retail pricing strategy. If you are marking up your retails products and items at 100% of their cost, or doubling the price, your cost target will be 50%.

Items that will affect this cost are:

        1. discounts and sales to your customers
        2. discounts and sales from your suppliers
        3. shrinkage – theft and spoilage
        4. inventory count accuracy

It is important to count your items monthly to insure your costs are in line. If you do not you may not know you have a problem until the end of the year when it is too late to do anything about it.

  1. RETAIL SALES PERCENTAGE – this is the amount of retail sales your operation generates in relation to the amount of service sales generated. We calculate this as follows:

Retail Sales %  =             Total Retail Sales         .

                 Total Service Sales Revenue

This target will vary based on the type of spa (day, resort, destination, medical) you have, location (urban, rural), and the makeup of your services. Typically for a day spa operation we expect to see a successful spa operation having a retail sales percentage of 30%-35%. High performing locations will be operating at 50% and above.

If you are watching this target it will tell you if you what you need to do for increased sales. It may be more training, different products, better inventory control, etc. Your retail sales can make or break your spa profit so keep a close eye on this.

  1. PROFESSIONAL COSTS – this is the cost of the products you use to perform services.  This cost you want to be in the range of 7%-10% of your service revenue. It is calculated as follows:

Total Cost of Professional Products

Professional Cost %  =       (includes cost of item, shipping and taxes (where applicable)

Total Service Sales Revenue

It is important to know how much product is being used to deliver your services. Service protocols and proper training will help keep your team, and your numbers, in line.


  1. GUEST SATISFACTION – The guests are the only reason you stay in business so be sure you are delivering what they want. Be consistent and relentless in your pursuit of your guest’s opinion and feedback. This can be an amazingly helpful process in your quest for constant improvement as they will tell you what does work and what doesn’t.

Use available tools to help in your information collection.

        1. Formal and informal Surveys – written, verbal, on-line.
        2. Client Retention Reports (manual of computer) – are they coming back again and again or are they just coming once?
  1. STAFF SATISFACTION – Who impacts your guest experience the most? Your team! Accordingly you need to be aware of how satisfied your team members are working in your location. How you treat your team is a direct reflection of how they will treat your guests so make sure they are happy, happy, happy! By performing a mix of meetings and surveys, both verbal and written, you can get a good idea where areas of concern may be. This will help you get to those areas before they become a negative force in your business. One key way to see if things are going well is looking at your team turnover rate. If you are seeing a revolving door you need to look in the mirror and make some changes to keep your team happy.

Don’t fall into the trap of just assuming you know how your team feels. Make sure you ask them directly and be open for what they have to say.

  1. PERFORMANCE APPRAISALS – Inspect what you expect. By constantly reviewing the performance of your team members in relation to the expectations you have established you can keep your team happy and high performing. Every team member wants to know how they are doing so make sure you are conducting your performance appraisals regularly throughout the year. Good job descriptions, clear employment agreements and a well designed appraisal will be a terrific support in helping make this task efficient and fruitful. Remember although this is a time to work out any challenges it is also a wonderful time to celebrate success!
  1. PHYSICAL INSPECTION – When is the last time you took a good walk around your operation and identified any short comings, damages, or problems? You walk in the door each day and can get very used to seeing something that is wrong without the mental recognition that something has to be done about it. Have you ever walked into a business and seen a light bulb burned out and seen the same bulb burned out two weeks later? Don’t let this happen to your spa as the guests want to know you are looking after the place. It makes them feel safe and that they can trust you to take care of them too.

At least once a month make it a point to walk around your business to look for problems. It may be a scratch on a wall, a crooked piece of art, or a damaged piece of equipment. Once you identify the problem make a schedule to get it fixed. Your guests will love it and so will your team as they will be proud to work in a spa that is well maintained and cared for.

By watching and maintaining items #2 to #10 you will keep your spa business running smoothly and item #1 will take care of itself. Keeping your spa healthy will keep the profits healthy too!

Need help with your spa? Contact [email protected] to support the health of your spa business.