THE CIRCUMSTANCES FACING MANY SPAS these days present a highly specific challenge . On one hand , sustained high demand for spa experiences has created a climate perfect for driving revenues , increasing profitability and growing a guest base . On the other hand , staffing issues often leave spas unable to take full advantage of their treatment spaces or create the potential for service providers to become overworked as they strive to keep up with all that demand . Striking a balance between the obvious business opportunity facing their spas and the very real need to care for their teams and themselves is no doubt a tough task , but at the moment , it ’ s a necessary one .
BACK TO SCHOOL There is no one-size-fits-all solution for achieving this balance , of course . Spa leaders must closely examine the circumstances surrounding operations at their spas and find creative ways to serve their business ’ s needs and the needs of their employees . At Altitude Spa in Ponoka , Alberta , Owner Kim Green worked with a local massage school , working out a plan that allowed students to perform some services and absorb some of the demand the spa would not otherwise have had the capacity to meet .“ I lost 12 staff in the two years of the pandemic , and I only have a staff of 24 , so 12 was huge ,” Green explains .“ My daughter was actually in school for massage therapy at the time , and I saw the lack of ability for her to get her practicum hours within the school . So , I approached the school and said ,‘ Can we get her and a couple of other students working in the spa ? I ’ ll put a senior therapist in charge of supervising them and recording what they do and what they need to work on .”
This arrangement allowed students to earn hours and gain experience , and because services performed by students were offered at a discounted rate , it also provided guests with a lower-cost option to reduce their wait time for a much-needed massage . Says Green ,“ It allowed my clients to have an option instead of … an electric massage chair .”
In addition to serving as a kind of pressure release during this high-demand period , bringing in students to perform select services allows them to deepen their roots in the spa community by helping them form connections with guests , build out a clientele and be more prepared to step confidently into a therapist position following their graduations .