Spas have been around since the Roman Empire. Modern “Day spas” – popularised by cosmetics guru Elizabeth Arden in the 1910s – gave rise to the first spa and wellness area managers. Today, onsite pampering and self-care have blossomed into a billion-dollar industry that goes hand in hand with hospitality at leading hotels and resorts.
With trends in wellbeing and personalised experiences booming, a career in spa and wellness area management can be invigorating, revealing, and rewarding.
Spas come in various shapes, sizes and styles. For the purpose of this article, we will focus on the role of a manager at an onsite hotel or resort spa/wellness area.
Spot the difference between a spa and a wellness centre
Spas are typically considered to offer cosmetic treatments, body care, and water-based treatments, while wellness areas focus on different forms of massage and holistic wellbeing. In some circles, wellness is defined as “an essential” while spas are defined as “a luxury”.
These definitions are quite loose and get easily tangled. In the case of doubt as to what a particular spa or wellness area is, or offers, it’s best to ask the manager!
A day in the life of a Spa Manager
Spa and wellness area managers are entrusted to ensure everything in a spa or wellness area is in working order – but there’s more to the job than keeping the towels fluffy and the jacuzzi bubbling at the perfect temperature.
Managers must ensure that staff and facilities live up to expectations and that everyone who enters, emerges revived, recharged… ready to share their exquisite experience on social media.
While the style and treatment list will vary from one establishment to another, spa or wellness area managers’ core tasks often involve the following:
Managing, organising, and training staff to offer the best possible customer experience
People go to a hotel or resort spa to enhance their holiday or business trip experience. They want to step out looking and feeling infinitely better than they did when they stepped in. Whether it’s an act of self-love or a gift from a company, expectations are high, and guests need to feel that they can truly let go and unwind.
Spa and wellness area managers must ensure that every staff member is fully aware of their tasks and responsibilities, and that customer wellbeing and safety are at the heart of every action.
Ensuring that the spa is fully stocked and well-maintained
Satisfied customers remember the little things – the personalised treatment that made them feel like a million dollars, the staff’s ability to listen or intuitively understand… the plush bathrobe, the complimentary shower gel… the fresh fruit and scented candles…
These details come under direct jurisdiction of the spa or wellness centre manager, who must keep high standards (and long checklists). Being remembered for the right reasons means being constantly aware of industry trends and customer feedback in order to provide exceptional service.
Developing and steering marketing campaigns for the spa and wellness area
Customers are often drawn to a hotel or resort thanks to its spa or wellness offering. By the same token, an unsatisfactory wellness experience can reflect on the whole establishment.
Managers need to dedicate time to listing, describing and promoting their quality treatments, excellent amenities and outstanding customer service. Identifying the target profile and developing effective marketing campaigns brings in more guest visits – and generate positive reviews.
Adapting the spa and wellness offer to meet demand
Spa and wellness area managers work closely with vendors to ensure that their products and services align with industry trends and customer expectations. For example, the health and wellness industry is currently experimenting with virtual reality to facilitate the experience of relaxation and escape from the daily grind.
Providing massage customers with VR glasses may not be within every spa/wellness area manager’s budget or field of expertise. But understanding and responding to the growing need to disconnect and “travel” to another state of mind could be a game-changer.
The makings of a spa manager
So, what qualifications and skills are central to becoming a spa/wellness manager? Not surprisingly, many managers have experience in spa customer service or spa therapy positions.
Most resorts and hotels will also require spa/wellness area managers to have a degree or certificate in business management. Spas and wellness areas come with hefty budgets and running costs. Managers need to bring strong business acumen and shrewd analytical skills to the table to hit targets and plan the future effectively.
While spa managers don’t necessarily need to be trained fitness instructors or therapists, certifications in specialties such as aesthetics, massage or other therapies may be required. It all depends on which services the spa or wellness area offers.
A first aid certification is also often a prerequisite – for obvious reasons.
Navigating an emotional environment
The spa environment is unique in that it is emotional and can be utterly transformative within the space of an hour or two. Whether a manager is directly interacting with customers or taking a more back-stage role, they’re responsible for the wellbeing of everyone who works at or steps into the spa.
For all its uniqueness, spa management has much in common with other areas of hospitality. Spa/wellness managers need excellent leadership and people skills. Happy, healthy employees lead to happy, healthy customers. Interpersonal skills and the ability to build rapport, delegate tasks and resolve performance issues can make or break a spa/wellness manager.
Ready to take the next step in spa/wellness centre management?
With wellness accounting for 58% of global health spending in 2021 – according to research by The Global Wellness Institute – there’s no time like the present to explore a career as a spa/wellness area manager.
Check out the spa/wellness area management jobs on Hosco today!