European Spa magazine - Summer Issue 80

Page 86

Thought Leadership Kirsty MacCormick, The Spa Consultancy

How to retain and grow your team as well as your business



With over 30 years’ experience in the spa and wellness industry, Kirsty MacCormick is the founder of The Spa Consultancy. Her expertise includes development, pre-opening project management and operational set up of a range of spas from commercial hotel and day spas to luxury five-star hotels and wellness destinations.


t is still very much the case that at some destinations the spa team can be treated as an afterthought and expected to run without synergy or support from hotel management. But these days spa and wellness will attract higher spending leisure guests who stay longer and are more likely to have a greater ancillary spend that will benefit all departments. So the best hotel operations should be encouraged to use their sales and marketing teams to target this demographic and place spa and wellness more prominently in their overall strategy. A proactive approach is crucial. Spa managers need to know their figures, what needs to be achieved and how they are going to deliver. This is not just about achieving your spa budget, but also what benefit you can bring to the overall hotel revenue. Hotel management may find spa operations a bit of a mystery, but if figures and strategies are presented using familiar hotel terms, like REVPAR and occupancy, they will find it easier to understand and the spa will be taken more seriously. Regular meetings with other departments can also bring spa operations closer to the hotel, bridging gaps, solving problems and improving overall communication.

Making spa careers attractive

Even after investing time and energy in their education, spa therapists are required to work unsociable hours and weekends, often with unattractive salary packages. This is starting to make a career in spa unappealing. We are now seeing a high turnover of staff and many more career changes within and outside of the industry.

For example, the average entry level salary for a full-time therapist in the UK is around £20k (v23k) with the potential to increase with experience and training to a head therapist’s salary of £28k. Many would question whether this is sufficient for a job that is physically and sometimes mentally demanding. In some places, therapists are worked at a 100% occupancy to accommodate guest requirements. When not performing treatments they are often asked to fill in elsewhere, such as on reception or delivering refreshments, but this is simply not a sustainable practice. In the last few years, we’ve seen an increase in therapists going freelance to benefit from a higher hourly rate of up to £24 per hour. While the hours may not be guaranteed this allows them more flexibility over when they want to work in order to achieve a better work-life balance. However, employing freelancers can add considerable costs to a spa’s payroll and cause issues within the team with core therapists on full-time contracts sometimes earning half of the freelance hourly rate.

Finding the right balance

Around the world some hotel operators are considering a variety of interesting solutions to this monetary issue. At The Swan Hotel & Spa in Newby Bridge, Cumbria, UK, performance related pay (PRP) will be introduced this summer, with KPIs to be set for each staff member. If their targets are met then a higher hourly rate can be achieved, currently forecast to be around £14 per hour for therapists. Another way to raise earnings is through discretionary service charges,

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Articles inside

Why is therapist wellbeing so important?

page 100


pages 96-97

Dealing with the staffing crisis

page 77

Focusing on team progression

page 76

Investing in people to boost profit

page 75

Back to basics for skills training

page 74

Holistic wellbeing at the forefront for Pan Pacific’s European debut

page 16

European Spa: Business Insider

pages 12-16, 18-19

The Big Debate: How do we solve the recruitment crisis?

pages 72-77

Travelling with purpose

pages 94-95

How to retain and grow your team as well as your business

pages 86-87

Mountain Spring Spa at Hubertus Mountain Refugio Allgäu, Germany

pages 88-93

Wellness is the new luxury

pages 78-79

Spa Specifier: Outdoor Special

pages 80-85

Five ways to maintain spa demand into 2022

pages 70-71

Mii: Stand out from the crowd

pages 66-69

On the Menu

pages 58-65

Natura Bissé: The art of Well-Living

pages 54-57

Expert Guide to Treatment Couches

pages 38-47

Nàdarra Spa at The Coniston Hotel

pages 30-35

HydraFacial: Proactive spa partnerships

pages 28-29

Ellisons: An important e-learning experience

pages 22-23

Palazzo Fiuggi Wellness Medical Retreat, Italy

pages 48-53

The mental health benefits of touch

pages 24-27

Elemis: Truth in beauty

pages 36-37
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