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Choosing the Right Spa Software Interview Transcripts

Posted: March 3, 2008, from the March 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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Retail management: Many spas are expecting significant retail features and inventory management and reporting. When Mohonk was making their choices, this was a big indicator. And because I know more than one system, retail management is really important and having it be advanced. There is a lot of really neat stuff out there with retail capabilities. Evaluate the people behind the software company: Are they hospitality people, retail people, IT people: It’s good to know where they come from, what their backgrounds are and what got them into the wonderful business of ours.

We had criteria that was unique and we had all these other things, too. The IT guy didn’t say that it needs to be so simple, I could feel that he was seeking it. Software is really complicated and not intuitive and that always translates into a bad customer experience. ISPA had a focus group: This one woman said, “Make sure you pay before you go in. It will ruin everything you achieved with your relaxing spa experience.” She was right on. It was really complicated. Software has come a long, long way.

They’ve all gotten payroll options, we are past that now. Everyone is on the same playing field there. Spa software has developed significantly during my nine years of being in the business.

Angela Cortright, principal, Spa Gregorie’s, Newport Beach, California

The first thing they should do is look at all of the things that they do every day—they open their cash drawers, move appointments, book appointments—look in detail at all of their functions that would be handled by the software and come up with a list of questions that they would ask a supplier. Demos are really critical.

The most critical thing is functionality, but beyond that is how user friendly is it. I’ve seen programs that take weeks to learn. You want to have your front desk person to be able to be up and running in a day.