7 Steps to Owning a Successful Spa Business!


So you want to own a spa?

Congratulations! It’s a wonderful dream and goal. It is also an expensive, time-consuming endeavour that will require all the business acumen, talent, creativity, and determination that you have.

In the early stages of deciding to build or buy a spa, it is vital that time is taken for careful planning and homework. All of the greatest ideas conceived will—at some point—still require the careful, and sometimes painful, process of putting ideas and numbers on paper.

So why must you do this? To can give your dream as much opportunity to succeed as possible.

Starting Up Means Planning and Homework

I have identified seven key planning and analysis tasks to help you in this journey. They cover the fundamental issues that should be addressed before you start to invest your  hard-earned money.

The process itself of building a development plan and financial forecasts is a terrific learning tool. It will either prepare you to go into the spa business, or to realize what key areas you need to watch for to be able to operate at maximum potential.

Not only will this aid in the financial planning process, but it will assist you in closely defining the goals of the spa business and thus help create a clear vision to follow for the whole team who will join in making the dream a reality.

Performing mindful analysis in these seven key areas will drastically affect the decision making process, and may well determine whether or not you should go ahead with your dream as you imagine it today.

Up-to-date and accurate figures are critical in order for the spa to respond to the business needs. Even more importantly, they are the guide that will help you reasonably predict what may happen in the future and thus help in determine the path you will take to lead the company to long-term financial health.

The Seven Key Planning Tasks

  • Define the ‘Vision’ and experience?
  • Determine who the guests/customers will be.
  • Determine where the salon will be located.
  • Estimate the start-up costs.
  • Develop a Proforma.
  • Develop a sales and marketing strategy and plan.
  • Develop an operations plan.

All of these items require careful thought and consideration. If time is not taken to make these decisions, the ability to forecast the success of the business will be limited.

1. Defining the ‘Vision’ for your salon. What kind of experience are you looking to create for your guest?

Are you creating a day spa, amenity spa?  Is it holistic, beauty, or somewhere in between?

Defining the experience is important as it will impact who the spa is going to attract and what kind of physical space and equipment the spa will require.

Perhaps the salon will have a theme. Will it be ‘east meets west’, a salon and spa combined or focused on being a green spa? When this choice is made, it will assist in determining all of the other choices to be made that will affect the guest experience: the things they see and touch, the treatments, and the details that will evoke feelings and emotions. This will create a unique experience that can differentiate the salon from the competitors.

If you cannot differentiate yourself from your competitors—whether physically, by your treatments, or your service—then why will the clients choose your spa over any other spa?

2. Determining who the guests/customers will be.

Take a close look around and see where your guests live. Will your salon be a neighbourhood salon looking to attract the local residents? Will it be a destination spa for the world’s rich and famous on the coast of some tropical land? You need to know or—at the very least—try to predict the demographics of your guests.

Demographics are:

  • Socioeconomic groups, characterized by age, income, sex, education, occupation, etc., that comprise a market niche.
  • The characteristics of human populations and population segments, especially when used to identify consumer markets.

One you have specifically identify who your guests are, you can then determine where they are and then, most importantly, how to get to them. This is essential for determining the marketing plan.

Depending on the experience of the development team and target guest, the next stage in preparation can begin. These two factors: the guest and the experience, will help in planning the physical space of the spa.

3. Determining where the spa will be located, and planning the space.

Spa location

First and foremost: location, location, location. It is an old adage but has always had great truth to it. By finding a fit combining the spa experience with the target guests, specific target locations can now be considered. Where can the salon be located to achieve the greatest possibility for success? What is the population? How much competition is in the area?

Spa Size

The following factors must be considered:

  • How many treatment rooms or chairs will be needed?
  • What will happen in each treatment room, what is its purpose?
  • What common areas will be needed? How big will they need to be?
  • What are the space requirements for reception, storage, and staff areas?
  • How much total space will be needed to deliver the experience you have planned for your guests?

Location and space options

Once you determine how much total space is required, you need to determine how the space will be created: Is it better to build, to buy, or to rent? Can it grow and expand if needed?

These questions are interrelated, as those factors play key roles in the cost of the project and the ability to meet the needs of the guests you wish to attract.

These are the difficult decisions that will be faced, and they will need to be resolved as you collect all the information necessary to determine whether or not your dream is feasible.

4. Estimating Start-up Costs

Many different costs will be required to get the spa up and running. Everything from development costs, construction costs, furnishing and fixtures, and pre-opening costs (including training and marketing) will all need to be considered.

Calculating all of these costs is the first step to deciding whether the business will viable or not. It is not uncommon to see ranges in start-up costs of anywhere from $200.00 to $550.00 per square foot.

5. Developing a Proforma

This is the most often forgotten, or neglected, area of spa development. Many future owners and operators fail to invest the time and energy required to complete a thorough proforma. It is easy to fall in love with the idea of creating a new spa. However it is crucial to look at some realistic numbers to determine if your concept will make a profit.

Proforma means ‘for form’s sake’. So, for this purpose, it is giving form to the salon project before it exists. It is the first close look at a rough estimated budget. Through a combination of knowledge, experience, and advice, an estimate will be generated. This estimate will show what revenue the spa can realistically achieve, and what will be the proportionate share of the expenses. 

Labour is—and always will be—the single greatest expense, as the salon experience is generally a one-on-one personal practice. The planned compensation structure will be critical. Learn what salons of a similar size and scope are operating at.

Be balanced and realistic in your estimates. Good decision making here will serve the spa well.

6. Developing a Sales & Marketing Plan


How is the spa going to be sold? What are the key messages the team will convey to the potential guests in hoping to entice them to visit the spa? The training of the team is essential. They will need to educate the consumers about why they should choose your spa rather than one of the multitude of others. Will you be focusing on local business or corporate business? What is your sales strategy?


Your marketing plan must include the production of both physical marketing collateral (brochures, business cards, and signage) and electronic marketing content (website, social media, e-newsletters, pictures, and videos). Public relations and strategic alliances are also wonderful advocates of the spa business and will deliver results for your spa. Build a plan for customer awareness before the spa is open. You need to have guests coming to your door the first day it opens!

For a new spa operation, the amount of capital investment in marketing will be greater at the beginning in order to create awareness in the spa-goer marketplace, but it should become more efficient and economical as time passes. Never look too closely at this expense line as a place to cut costs. It will always be the lifeblood of the business, as a salon can never have ‘too many’ clients!

7. Developing a Spa Operations Plan

Now your salon has been created on paper, but services still have to be rendered day after day. Investing your time analyzing all the smaller costs required to deliver the desired experience to the guest will have long term benefits to the spa operating at maximum efficiency, both from a service and cost perspective.

In Summary

By examining each one of these seven keys areas, you will have information to help you make your business decisions. What you ultimately decide to do may not match your initial vision, but you will at least be taking an informed approach to starting up your salon.

In the end, all this careful planning and homework will not guarantee you success, but without it you will be just hoping that your great idea turns out as wonderfully as you had imagined.

Need helping starting your salon? Contact Spaformation : [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.

Couples Spa Services. The Good & The Bad.

Couples Spa

Couples services are a retreat of choice for the frantic partners who can only escape for a short window of time.

In the past few years, one of the hottest trends in the spa market has been the creation of rooms and spaces where partners can feel free and safe, all at the same time, to enjoy some a few moments of solitude to relax and unwind from the pressures of life. Couples services can be the highlight of your business or bring you down. 


Is the spirit of political correctness the term “Couples room or service” needs to be stretched a little and it may be bigger than you are thinking of. It starts as a couple in the traditional sense of the word, two people in a relationship. The most common market asking for treatments is man-woman. At Novo/Sanctuary Day Spa (www.novospa.ca) in Toronto’s trendy Yorkville district this is their primary market. “Since we opened our doors the couples rooms has been our number one seller,” says Novo creator Nora Londono. “The vast majority are men and women with a few friends and sisters.”

The market of couple’s spa services has naturally expanded to same-sex couples. Outside the city, at the quaint and classy Millcroft Inn (www.millcroft.com) the couple’s room gets a workout on weekends. “It is a great problem to have but we are constantly having to tell our weekends guests we cannot accommodate them because the room is full,” smiles Spa Director Jennifer Stemmler. “We have a terrific demand from our overnight guests whether they are man/woman or same sex couples. They love the privacy and safety of our couple’s room. In the summer they can even go directly outside and sit on their private deck and enjoy the fresh country air.” So popular in fact, that the Millcroft Inn is looking at expanding and adding another couple’s room to their inventory to satisfy the demand.

Couples also refers to a “couple of sisters”, a “couple of friends”, or a little more loosely translated to mothers and daughters. All of these markets are migrating to capture the spirit of togetherness couples treatments can create. You need to think of this when marketing your couples spa services.


The concept of having a room big enough the room with simply two massage tables has long passed. Spas are now competing to build them bigger and better. In Barrie, Ontario, Spyce Spa & Salon (www.spycespa.com) owner Debi Board wanted to make her “Couples Suite” as one of her signature spaces. “I wanted to create a space where two people could flee everyday life and enjoy peace and serenity”. To do this Board had a couples hot tub, oversize glass shower, fireplace, and sitting area all built into the couple’s spa space. When asked if it has been as success Board replied, “Since day one it has been the busiest part of the spa. Our guests love it.”


From an efficiency point of view a couple’s room seems a no-brainer. A typical spa room will by 10 ft. X 10 ft. space and is able to generate one service at a time. In contrast, a couple’s room can fit into a space of only 50% larger, ie. 15 ft. X 10 ft. and generate double the revenue.

However when the desire to expand the “room” to a “suite” the water becomes a little more muddy. 

So why isn’t everyone scrambling to do them?

The couple’s movement is not sweeping across all the spa doorsteps.

A couple of years ago the calls seemed to be coming in to take up the charge and add a couple’s room at the five star Langdon Hall Country House Hotel & Spa (www.langdonhall.ca). “We converted an available space close to the spa to a couples room because we thought there was a demand,” explained Alison White Spa Director, “but it just really never took off”. A short time later, the space was renovated to take on other uses. It is worthy to note that Langdon Hall has just announced plans to create a grand new Spa & Wellness centre in the next 18 months and a new and improved couples suite will be part of it.

In some cases, philosophy plays a role.


But that does not mean it is not without its challenges. With this expanded space is the need to insure it is booked. 

Care needs to be taken when designing the space as managing the cross-gender issues between therapist and client is delicate. As well as consideration for the “couple” that is not romantically involved. Couples spa services can be a challenge. 

Unique logistics of handling clients needs to be considered when creating couples spa services. The rooms are booked for defined periods of time and the spa needs to create a tactful way to let clients know when their time is up. Often treatments will be created whereby the couple can enjoy some private time at the enjoy of the service.

Therapists also need to be keenly aware of different dynamics that enter the room when there are two therapists and two clients.

Design and layout must to be carefully considered.

Need help starting or expanding your spa or couples spa services? Contact Spaformation at [email protected]

Turn Your Spa Reception from Good to Great!

spa reception

Training a spa reception team is a great idea. It’s the best favor you can do to your brand, given that the reception carries your brand image.

While there are several different forms of training you can offer these front office staff, sufficient evidence shows that outside training courses have a particularly significant impact on the team.

They come in handy particularly for your experienced reception staff. These are people who have worked in the spa to a point where they have virtually nothing more to learn within the organization.

Perhaps this paradigm will paint the picture well:

spa sales graph

Just like a product or business goes through this cycle of growth, so do your personnel. They join the workforce, learn and grow. But they eventually hit a point of relative stagnation if not exposed to the growth outside the firm.

Outside your spa, the industry always grows. You can choose to study it and grow with it or ignore the trends and be left behind. 

The only way out?

Expose your team to diversity. That’s where outside training comes in.

It gives your staff the exposure they need to learn new and innovative ways to reinvent their approaches to service delivery.

Outside training courses serve to renew your receptionists’ growth momentum to assume the (b) route in this example.

Sap sales graph 2

Three different forms of training will empower your spa reception staff and put them on a favorable growth path.

  1. Reception training courses. These are the basic. They’re aimed at building your staff’s professional image as the front desk personnel. They’ll be learning from skill-based and top industry experts. The first impression matters. And this training will equip your reception team with the skills to provide the most appropriate impression on customers.
  1. Customer service courses. You’ll help your team realize the importance of their role as customer service representatives. They get the opportunity and space to learn the nature of service that currently sells in the industry.
  1. Leadership courses. Make leaders out of your seasoned reception staff. It similarly brings back on track the senior front desk personnel who might have started to pick up bad habits.

With these courses, you’ll set standards for excellence for your spa reception and put your business on the path to success! 

To learn more about workshops in-house of coaching visit here.

How to Make Your Menu a Power Spa Marketing Tool!


Spa marketing is a game changer in the spa business world.

You can have the most amazing offers in town. But if the spa business down the street is more strategically loud about their offers, they will without a doubt snatch even the customers that would otherwise be yours.

That’s the case in the Spa industry. There are multiple players today. And you must find ways to drive customers your way from the competition. How better would you go about it, than to give them reasons to come in and try stuff out?

A nice menu will draw customers in and influence their decision to trade. That means it could be placed somewhere strategic, such as your website or at the entrance to your spa.

Sounds like a nice way to convert passersby into customers? I bet it does. The following are some tips on how to make your spa menu a powerful marketing tool. 

How inviting are the descriptions? 

Use genuinely appealing words to connect with people. They need to see why they should come into your spa instead of the seemingly snazzy competitor just blocks away.

Make the treatments come out as deluxe as possible to the guest. That way, they will be excited at the prospect of getting an unforgettable experience. Give them a reason or two to be excited in anticipating what you’ll offer them.

Make necessary changes to your spa menu with different seasons

You don’t want to be too predictable with your services. Predictable often borders boring. And as soon as you bore down your customers, you can be sure to lose them to someplace more livelily.

In the hospitality world, different seasons bring different preferences. Read them well and make changes to your menu to keep it relevant. It’ll be amazing how being trendy keeps your spa business ahead of the curve all year long.

Make it easy to navigate

Keep every description precise. The purpose of the menu is to tell customers what you offer, not to entertain them. Engage the customer right from the first word or sentence. Otherwise, you risk losing them.

Does any of these fit your spa menu? If not, it’s high time you did something about it. Most of all, ensure you have variety and a proper balance throughout your spa marketing.   

Need more insight? Book a Discover Session here.

5 Key Things to Consider When Starting a Spa


You have set out to invest in the spa industry. Like every business entrepreneur, you wish to make a good profit and see your business grow.

But how do you start off on the right foot and increase your chances of growth and sustainability? The spa industry is currently chock-a-block with players. And unless you have everything well thought out, it may be challenging to get your startup off the ground. Here are five key things to consider when starting a spa before you put your money into buying an existing spa or building a new one from the ground.

Your vision

In a busy service industry like the spa market, the way you package your services may make all the difference. Give customers a good experience and you’ll win them over. Otherwise, your chances could be slim.

So from the very onset, be clear on the kind of experience are you looking to create for your guests. Does it fall within your own vision for the business? If not, your best option would be to review the vision to ensure it can be mutually shared with your clientele.

Target market

Whom do you intend to serve? Start by defining your guest; what they do, where they live, what they look like and how much they earn. Then you’ll have your market figured.

Sales and Marketing Strategy and Plan

This is the infrastructure and method you are going to use to reach your target market. After you have figured who your guests are, then you are in a strategic position to define what means you’ll use to get to them. Whatever the case, the social media is likely to be central to your marketing plan.


The best place to put up your spa is close to the target market. It must be accessible to the people you wish to serve. This location can, therefore, be a new building you construct from the ground or an existing building you buy or lease from another owner, downtown or at the city suburbs.

Startup Costs

Like any business, ideas and strategies will not kick off without the capital to fuel them. This is by far the most crucial factor. Consider how much you can raise for the business you have conceived and make all plans within that start-up budget.

Need to know more? Book a Discovery Session here.

Positive Changes – Effective Spa Reception Team

Building a successful spa business heavily depends on the quality of its spa reception team. As such it pays to invest in the people comprising that team.

Here are some positive changes for an effective spa reception team. Implement these to enhance service delivery through a better, happier and more capable team of receptionists.

Hire the right skillset

They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Some weaknesses are inherent in the person, and if you hire a person who is lacking, say, the essential communication skills needed in a receptionist, man, you are doomed.

No amount of training might be enough for such a person. The chances are that they are better at doing something else.

Be sure to get a minimum skill set before you hire. This process can be as simple as integrating the basics such as computer typing, spelling and math tests.

Further, the person will be handling nearly all your client communications. Some of the clients will be judgmental and may readily form opinions from their first interaction on the phone. As an insurance against such eventualities, drop a mock phone call into the very first meeting with this recruit.

The secret is to be thorough and sieve your applicants to ensure you secure the top cream for your spa.

Train your recruits

Even the best staff needs on-job training. Take your reception team through orientation training. This involves communicating to them all your company policies and essential procedures immediately they are hired. They should understand the organization.

Train them about the product. Refresher courses are a perfect option here. Just be sure to have them understand every aspect of you product.

How should they handle clients? How do they communicate effectively and sales efficiently? Train them about that too. Don’t just assume they know.

All said and done, ensure you have set dates when your spa receptionists meet and review performance, eliminate mistakes and draw their plan of work.

That’s recognition at its best. It will cement their solidarity and solidify their sense of recognition.

These are feelings that motivate a worker.

These are changes that will motivate your spa receptionists. 

Learn more about how your spa receptionists are the cornerstone of your spa business here.

Reception Team: Cornerstone of the Spa Business

Spa Business Team

They receive the tiniest paycheck.

They are often forgotten. They are left on the fence when training is offered to the spa service providers. They are sought out only when something has gone really wrong with service provision in your spa business

They are the Spa Reception Team.   

They are the most invisible yet most indispensable of all teams for the success of any spa business. The very fact that you seek them out in the event of customer dissatisfaction indicates how much they are needed. Here are 3 reasons why the reception team is a cornerstone of the spa business.

1.The reception is your business’s initial touchpoint

The reception team is the main, and perhaps the only gateway into your business. They are always there to bridge your spa with the clients.  A first time customer will form an opinion about your business depending on what your receptionist sells them. And there’s never a second chance to make a good first impression. There’s always the receptionist, whether on the phone or in person. Their communication is the conduit through which your services are communicated.

They play a major role in winning sustainable business by creating that vital first impression.

2. Agents solidify customer retention

The longevity of your business depends on how well you win new customers. It also depends on how effectively you retain them.  Your reception team is constantly in touch with your customers and will determine the feedback your spa gets. Your customers are highly likely to tell others about their experience at your spa. Good feedback will win you amazing customer loyalty.  Loyal customers will spread positive information about your business and earn you more customers.

This is a great way to market your business and win clients particularly in today’s spa marketplace that’s brimming with competent players.

3. Power to make or break your business

Being your business ambassadors, your front-end staff have more power than anyone. They set appointments and direct client traffic. They are your front line. They make or break your business. 

So, in a nutshell, any spa with outstanding customer service owes it to the reception team. Hats off. 

To learn more book your Discovery Session today.

Staff Interactions With Your Spa Guests

spa guests

Having standards for the way your staff communicate with guests is crucial to maintaining the desired professional atmosphere for your spa. Staff interactions with your spa and salon guests are of utmost importance.

There are many communications skills and standards that should be expected in all workplaces, and then there are other more subjective standards that will depend on the atmosphere you want for your spa. 

In any spa, speaking clearly and making eye contact with guests should be a minimum standard of interaction. What is considered acceptable regarding other elements of verbal and physical interaction between staff and guests depends on the policies of the individual spa.

Staff should never be heard by a guest speaking negatively about management, guests, other staff, or the spa facility. The guest must experience only a positive attitude.

Policies should be developed for what constitutes acceptable behaviour for different categories of staff, and at different stages of the spa visit.

All Staff Members

Personal communication between staff and guests should also have standards. Do you have a list of topics that are to be avoided, such as religion or politics? The spa owner needs to decide the level of personal sharing that takes place. For example, is it alright to discuss the guest’s family or personal life only when the guest initiates the conversation? Or perhaps you let your staff use their own discretion based on the history between them and a particular guest?  Is hugging OK? How about a ‘high-five’? 

The Reception Team

Consistent in-person and phone communications standards must be established. Do you have a checklist for your reception staff? When a member of the reception team gets all the required information, it can help make the guest’s visit run more smoothly. How does your team respond if the guest does not want to share their email or credit card information? Who guides your spa or salon guest from reception to where they will receive the service? Is that the role of reception, or does the other staff member providing treatment meet them there? Making sure all staff know their role will make the spa guest’s visit run more smoothly and the experience be more enjoyable.

What does the conversation look like in the chair? Is there a set of mandatory topics such as the condition of hair and scalp, trends, and home care? Do you have guidelines for how communication takes place, for example: face to face, not in the mirror?

Estheticians, Massage therapists, and Medical therapists

Staff must know the details and standards of all services they provide in the spa, and be able to make recommendations. Does your spa have a policy in place for the pre-treatment conversation? Is your staff able to explain, in detail, the service the guest is about to receive? Do they give the guest an opportunity to ask questions? Are staff required to ‘check in’ with the spa guest during a service to ensure the guest is comfortable and that everything is satisfactory?

Assistants, Cleaners, and Other Staff

Defining the role of support staff will help them to do their job effectively, and contribute in a positive way to the guest’s experience. How much, and what type of, communication is expected between support staff and guests, and between support staff and other staff? Do you expect the cleaner to address a guest by name, or do you expect them to be ‘seen but not heard’?

Guest Retention

Do your guests leave happy and relaxed? Have you improved their mood? Brightened their day? If your spa guests experience consistent, positive treatment from your staff, you can count on them coming back.

So make sure you provide excellent services in a beautiful environment, but at the end of the day, it’s the human factor—your staff—that make the difference for your spa guests.

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Spa Industry Team Standards

spa reception

We have a saying, “Your business is only as good as your worst employee”. Your goal must be to have your staff doing the same things, to the same standards. All the time. The guest must leave with a positive impression of how they were treated by all the staff. It is so important to have team standards in the spa industry

Creating a gracious, welcoming environment for all guests—regardless of their physical appearance, weight, disability, or gender—must be a top priority. 

There are standards that should apply to everyone employed at your spa. There could be a simple dress code, or a more detailed one to fit with a spa’s theme. What about wearing a lot of jewelry, tattoos or strong scents? Should that be allowed or not? Guidelines on punctuality, use of personal devices (cell phones etc.), use of social media and communication between staff members are examples of standards that would generally apply to all staff and have an effect on the atmosphere created for the guest. Everything should be clearly laid out in your policy and procedure manual. 

Everyone plays an important role in the smooth operation of a spa. From the cleaners to the massage therapist, all staff must treat each other with respect in order to achieve a harmonious work environment that will benefit everyone—including the guests. Guests have ears and eyes for communication not always intended for them so your team must be clear on these standards…

Having clear standards for your team in the spa industry, and expectations for staff behaviour is a necessity for creating a positive guest experience. The team are your front line when it comes to communicating with guests.

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