Spa Management and the Challenge of Finding the Right Professionals


Providing your spa with good management is a critical element that makes a difference between successful and failed businesses. Because of its crucial role, our first two posts of this month will be focusing on the challenges spa management poses to our industry and the options we have to overcome them.

This week, we will discuss some of these challenges, which we believe many spa owners can relate to. In particular, we will take a look at the current shortage of human capital and the related training problem responsible for provoking this lack of professional skills in the market.

In order to do this, we are using as a reference document the 2012 Spa Management Workforce & Education report elaborated by SRI International (founded as Stanford Research Institute) in agreement with the Global Spa & Wellness Summit. We think it is important to share with you some of the most relevant findings that came out from this interesting project.


A Shortage of Human Capital

There is a broad consensus among professionals regarding the role human resources play in the overall performance of spa and wellness businesses. Such a consensus, however, is mainly addressed in the form of challenges and obstacles.

Last year, for example, professionals at the Global Spa & Wellness Summit celebrated in Bali stated that the “lack of professional human resources,” especially at the management level, is the main obstacle for growth in spa businesses.

One of the most important conclusions of the SRI report is that “businesses are simply not able to find enough people with the right skills to fill management-level positions.” According to that report, “95% of spa industry leaders who oversee and hire spa managers/directors stated they currently face challenges finding job candidates with the right combinations of qualifications and experience.”


The Training Problem

One of the biggest reasons behind the shortage of human capital we previously mentioned is the lack of good training. In fact, this issue was acknowledged at the Global Spa & Wellness Summit by all the professionals who “rated ‘training/education’ as the number one challenge in our industry.”

Today, there is not enough comprehensive training capable of providing future managers with the necessary combination of hard (technical business) and soft (people and communication) skills they need to have in order to successfully run a spa.

As highlighted by the SRI report, most managers do not have all the necessary skills because there is not a “well-defined educational or career pathway for entering spa management.” In fact, most of the fragmented training programs out there only target a tiny fraction of the increasing needs in the spa industry.

Besides this academic problem, there are very few spa businesses willing to invest in their human force. This lack of corporate training, which is particularly negative when staff move up into managerial roles, further increases the gaps of ‘hard skills’ among managers and directors.


Time To Act

There is no doubt that our industry needs to pay close attention to spa management if it truly wants to embrace a brighter future. We may not be the only industry suffering from a shortage of well-trained professionals. However, we certainly can’t take comfort on this especially because we have coexisted with this issue for a long time.

The findings provided by the SRI report give us a clear indication of the challenges we have in front of us. If we take into serious consideration all the things we have mentioned here, we will certainly be in a good position to shape a better future for our industry. Next week, we will be looking at possible solutions we could implement to overcome these challenges.

By Sonal

Sonal Uberoi creates and delivers smarter spas around the world. Spas and hotel groups hire Sonal to help them design, set up and manage their wellness businesses. Her finance background and worldwide operations experience in the spa, wellness and hospitality sectors make Sonal the go-to expert for business optimisation solutions. Connect with Sonal on LinkedIn

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  1. Pingback: Gestión de Spas y La Construcción de Una Fuerza Laboral Capacitada | Spa Balance

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