Pulse August / September 2022 - Page 43

want wellness and want what the industry has to offer , but also , [ spas ] are going to have to meet some of those demands in new ways , not only with staffing differences but without knowing how things are going to change in terms of travel and spending . They ’ re waiting to see what the new normal is going to be . So , there ’ s excitement and enthusiasm for new opportunity , but there ’ s all this uncertainty that goes with it .
All those topics , actually , go back to wellness .
P : How so ? E : People aren ’ t taking jobs because they have this new focus on wellness in their lives . And then wellness is an issue for the people that are running like crazy trying to meet these needs understaffed . And wellness is why people are bouncing back and coming to spas and resorts again . New markets are going to open up , meaning new people that didn ’ t go [ to the spa ] before or people who used to only do a massage and sit by the pool are asking new questions . They ’ re going to want to go deeper .
I said this at the event : My observation is that because spas and resorts have been — I don ’ t know if the right word is “ taken over ” or dominated — by ownership in real estate , what we ’ ve seen in recent years is a much heavier focus on marketing and branding and , of course , on amenities and the appointment of facilities , meaning their look and overall style . But it ’ s my personal feeling that attention to staff , special programs , more holistic wellness programs , more integrative wellness programs — programs that are less easy to standardize — they ’ re just avoiding . If you ’ re used to working with a low-risk , high-income product like real estate , then you translate that logic into your
new acquisition and you suddenly expect a spa to operate like commercia real estate , and it ’ s not the same .
P : So , is the challenge , in your mind , rethinking the culture of spa not just on the staffing side , which we ’ ve heard a lot about , but on the guest side as well ? E : Culture is going to be the key to the future , and culture change is the core solution to most of the problems we ’ re facing , in terms of employment , performance , guest experience and organizational opportunity . And , of course , it ’ s all a reflection of what the world is exhibiting , which is a deficit of conscious culture . There are only so many times you can move the pieces around the board before you have to question the board itself .
To make this a little more concrete : In terms of hiring , I mean some of the old expectations around the number of hours a week , how flexible a position is , how much a person can do from home or how much say a staff member has about their schedule . High pressure , high demand , little flexibility — especially for the next generation , they ’ re not down for that . Staff , more than ever , want what the guest wants . They want to feel cared for . They want to feel connected .
The kind of cool conclusion is what the new employee wants is just an internal reflection of what the guests want , which is more than just luxury amenities and more than just pampering as a form of self-care . They ’ re looking for more human , more genuine connections . What the new generation of employee wants can be turned around culturally without a tremendous amount of expense . Often , internal people have great ideas about how to do that ; leadership just needs to empower it . It ’ s not a
AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2022 n PULSE 41