Many spa leaders adopted new attitudes about overstock during the pandemic , opting to overbuy when products were available to have a surplus in case new disruptions limited supply again .
“ We struggled for sure with supply chain issues and inflation , but we worked hard to try to keep this from impacting our guests .”
— REBECCA DICKERSON , Chateau Elan Winery and Resort difficulty with certain products and other suppliers suffered shortfalls in different lines , robes seem to have been a universal challenge for spas .
Rebecca , who serves as director of wellness at Chateau Elan Winery and Resort in the North Georgia countryside , explains ,“ Robes are all made in China , regardless of who you get them from . Covid closures there cause issues everywhere .”
Alessandra Newsom , spa director at The Spa at Lago Mar Beach Resort & Club in Florida ’ s coastal Fort Lauderdale , concurs .“ When the pandemic started ,” she recalls , “ we had to wait many months for our spa robes to be shipped to us .”
Robes were a shared shortfall but were only indicative of a larger problem for spas . Some spa directors say they received a crash course in supply chain economics early in the pandemic . They learned about the many steps where slowdowns may occur both in goods production , from processing of raw materials to production worker shortages , and in order fulfillment , where shipping backlogs and slowdowns could add months to product delivery times .
In the throes of the Covid era , spa leaders were forced to re-evaluate vendor relationships and product line loyalty while striving to maintain the customer experience of their guests and dealing with staffing shortages common in the pandemic years .
Alison Abbott , director of spa and wellness for Carneros Resort and Spa , shares her thought process around changing products when preferred items were unavailable . In a previous role at the start of the pandemic ,“ we were ordering tables — a CapEx expenditure — and other large equipment ,” Alison recalls .“ The hot towel cabis we wanted were not available for six months . I found some of what I was ordering as a tradeout was not as high quality — that it ’ s sometimes better to wait for the right product for quality standards .”
Alison , who also co-founded the Nor-Cal SPA Alliance , says she noticed side effects when forced to switch out some products used in sessions .“ It causes stress for therapists ” to switch , she says .“ But you learn to be creative and
FEBRUARY / MARCH 2023 n PULSE 31