So you have been promoted to spa manager, now what?


Throughout this series, we have pointed out one of the greatest challenges in the spa industry: the lack of sufficiently qualified managers. As the industry grows, so does the need for the right managers to promote a healthy bottom line for spa owners and investors.

In our previous article, we talked about the qualities that leaders in our industry look for in a spa manager. In this article, we take a look at the educational options that are available to those spa professionals who are already in the spa industry and have been promoted to a spa manager/ director.

While there are more and more degree and diploma programmes opening up to those starting out in the spa industry, we cannot solely rely on the recruitment of graduates. There is also a need to offer the right training to those professionals already in the industry who, through their experience and hard work, have climbed the ranks into management positions.


Challenges newly promoted spa managers face

The main challenges newly promoted spa managers face are unreasonable expectations from those who promoted them, and the lack of resources in terms of time and money.

In many cases today, those spa professionals who are promoted to management positions are thrust into their new roles with no formal training. The training they receive is more of an on-the-job training where they ‘sort of learn’ the business aspect as they go along. However, these newly promoted spa managers are expected to magically be good leaders, understand and meet their spa’s targets, and to successfully drive their spa businesses forward, but without any formal business or management training.

Additionally, for those newly promoted spa managers who do not receive any formal training and want to take the initiative to enrol in courses, they find themselves in a situation where they do not have the financial means to invest in further education programmes. Some simply cannot afford to take the time off to learn the skills necessary to perform well in their management positions.


Available options for further training and education

With the increasing development of this flourishing industry, the need for individuals with both an understanding of the therapies side of their offering and business knowledge is at an all-time high. Fortunately, a number of private training and educational institutes, as well as some employers, are now providing part-time training options to those already in the spa workforce in an attempt to close this gap.

A number of open-enrol courses through private trainers are available to spa managers looking to advance their career. Some educational institutions have courses available that range from half-day to three-day modules on a variety of topics relevant to spa management. While others offer year-long management training programmes that are open to several participants.

As we pointed out in our previous article, “Wage differences among Therapists around the Globe”, not all spa managers are on par in terms of experience, especially in emerging markets. It appears that spa education is less expensive in the more developed countries and more expensive and fragmented in the markets where the demand is high. In an effort to make more opportunities available to up and coming spa managers on a more global level, training options are also available online.

In order to accomplish the goal of maximising global reach so that spa managers all around the world have access to the training opportunities they need to succeed, many online trainers are also joining forces with other educational organisations. Educational institutions are now addressing the increasing demand for educated spa managers and are filling the need for more quality programmes.


Employers playing a more active role in management training

A number of successful spas across the globe are now stepping up by offering mentoring programmes, shadowing of other more experienced spa managers, induction programmes, leadership modules, financial modules, etc. All of these programmes have proven to be effective in helping newly christened spa managers move into their new position.

More and more spa operators now offer management training on key subjects, such as, leadership, customer care and satisfaction, advertising, business operations, effective sales, safety and health compliance, performance management as well as business building. Such internal programmes help to groom spa managers as they grow into their leadership roles.


The growing importance of providing the right training for our spa managers

The spa industry is constantly evolving and changing. Innovations and breakthroughs are made, trends come and go, and new products and services are constantly hitting the market. Spa operators must stay abreast of such changes in the field in order to properly train managers. In addition to the training that they offer on the job, they should also encourage their managers to pursue continuing education in order to remain current in the industry.

A spa manager has to be a leader that is able to guide his or her team to success, someone who can think on his or her feet, and is creative and innovative when it comes to driving their spa business forward. And the only way these talented professionals will be successful is by providing them with the right tools, support and education for them to do their job.


How qualified do spa managers need to be? And who is responsible for their training?


Last week, we took a look at the theoretical aspect of spa management education, including the challenges that come with maintaining, training and educating spa managers. As we continue to learn about the growing need for knowledgeable leaders in the industry, this week we will look at the more practical aspects that we are facing. We will examine our most prevalent concerns as well as what is on offer to address those concerns.


What is the reality of our spa management workforce and its educational needs?


In today’s post, we’d like to address the more theoretical aspect of education within the spa industry. A report, commissioned by GSWS and conducted by SRI International, Spa Management Workforce & Education: Addressing Market Gaps is our focus. Spa management professionals are hard to find. With the growing global wellness tourism economy, the number of spas throughout the world continues to increase. This is very much present in emerging markets. Yet, at this rate of growth, many spa owners are finding themselves struggling to keep qualified, effective managers in key positions. There is a growing need to find the right managers to manage the new spas opening their doors so readily. This is important not just for the consumer’s needs, but also to ensure spa business owners are getting the right return on investment from the facility.