#10Things to Consider When Leading a Destination or Resort Spa


While staying at the Four Season in Oahu, I had the pleasure of meeting Amanda Schmiege, spa director for the Naupaka Spa/Wellness Center. We discussed her longevity in the industry and her words of wisdom for exisitng and future industry leaders.

1. Know your local story.

Hawaii is rich in culture, and the name of the spa (Naupaka) is about two lovers who were pulled apart and the flowers that exist in their absence. One of the first things Schmiege wanted was to understand the local environment and how the spa can honor this love story.

2. Create a menu that speaks to the guest.

Spa guests don’t want to study a spa manual on their vacation. The menu of services should be written for all spa goers to easily understand, while creating an offering unique to the property.

3. Facials are relaxing.

While skin care services are becoming more medical, guests need to be reminded that spa facials are relaxing. Naupaka spa offers a “Quest for Wholeness” package that allows the guest to customize a two-hour facial experience.

4. Curate the appropriate product mix.

Schmiege suggests having a both holistic and results driven skin care line. The products should still reflect the story of the spa and esthetically resemble the spa, but offering a mix of products ensures that all guests will find something.

5. Develop a signature treatment.

Quest for Wholeness, a signature spa experience, is a spa experience tailored by the guest to include a selection of customized hand, foot, back, head and scalp therapies to enhance a traditional Lomilomi massage or Hulali.

6. Hire locally.

The people of this island have made the spa an authentic Hawaiian experience for guests... they share the true spirit of Hawaii.

7. Look for passion.

In Employees we have second and third generation skin care therapists interviewing. “When you interview someone whose mother or grandmother was an esthetician, you can see the passion they have for this business,” says Schmiege.

8. Drive numbers through consultation.

Reviewing numbers and having sales goals for employees is “SPA 101,” says Schmiege. She believes that if you train your team to listen to the guest and offer solutions, retail sales will increase organically.

9. Customize with add-ons.

After hearing about my recent injury, my massage therapist at the spa, Ken, said, “Now that you have shared this with me, I would like to suggest to you this add-on treatment to help you heal.” Of course I said YES! He suggested it in such a caring way. I didn’t feel like he was “upgrading me” or trying to make “a goal.”

10. Never underestimate our industry.

The spa industry has taken Schmiege to both small and big spas all over the country. “The opportunities are endless...I don’t think people realize how wonderful [the spa industry] can be!”

It was a pleasure speaking with a spa leader that truly loves the spa industry. Passion and commitment for customer service is oozing out of her. Enjoy her top tips when directing a spa and message me your successes!

Si Author D Crossett 3008

Founder and owner of the San Francisco Institute of Esthetics and Cosmetology since 2002, Deedee Crossett is an industry pioneer for raising the bar of undergraduate education for cosmetologists and estheticians. She can be reached at www.facebook.com/deedee.crossett and Twitter @DeedeeCrossett #10things.

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