“… people just want to feel important and feel heard and be loved on in a safe , therapeutic space . The more of those places we can have , the better off society will be . I really believe that .” — CHRISTINA STRATTON l Prival Spa + Salons
consumer .“ The gym is part of your wellness journey ; I want spa to be the same .”
That philosophy has led Privai to seek a highly personalized approach to the treatment experience , one that uses a proprietary app to match guests with providers best suited to serve them .“ If the guest is suffering from TMJ and a lack of sleep , and they happen to have migraines , and you have myofascial release as one of your top skills , the algorithm will take [ providers ’] licensures and blend them with the guest ’ s needs to match the perfect provider at that location ,” shares Stratton . This method goes beyond more simplistic guest intake forms and corresponds to wider industry trends around the use of technology and tailoring treatments more precisely to guests ’ specific issues and ailments . Like Nikki Miller at Kohler Waters Spas , Stratton recognizes that spas are in a position to play a more central role in helping guests achieve their wellness goals but knows that will only happen if the spa can demonstrate spa ’ s broader value to guests .
Providers themselves stand to benefit from Privai ’ s treatment model as well because they are in a position to use their skills that they may not get to use if tethered to a static menu . Because Stratton knows that service providers deliver so much of what we think of as the guest experience , it is crucial to empower them to adjust that experience in guests ’ best interests .“ Inside that treatment room is where the magic begins and ends ,” she says .“ It has opened up the eyes of therapists who have all these skills that they just don ’ t get to use in a typical resort setting or even a typical high-end luxury day spa . This will lift the veil off of the protocols that kept people locked from their individual professionalism .” Giving therapists more leeway to connect with guests and utilize their personal expertise may also contribute to a greater sense of autonomy and purpose among therapists , which can lead to higher levels of employee satisfaction and thus reduce turnover and make recruitment efforts more successful .
Small Shifts , Big Difference The concepts that underpin the operations of both the expanded Kohler Waters at Burr Ridge and Privai Spa + Salon reflect industry shifts both subtle and pronounced . Wellness has always been core to the mission of spa , for example , but a greater emphasis on educating guests about spa services and their specific benefits to physical and mental well-being can change how guests perceive the spa experience and create more business .
Likewise , personalization is not a new concept , but spas that can go beyond traditional modes of personalization to provide truly tailored options are likely to have a leg up going forward . Seeking to hire the best therapists can hardly be called revolutionary , yet spas that permit therapists to draw more freely from their repertoire of techniques can both meet guests ’ evolving needs while also cultivating a more satisfied workforce .
If these reimagined operations contain a lesson about the future of the spa experience , it isn ’ t that the pandemic has done away with the old and ushered in something wildly different . Instead , the lesson is that guests ’ mindsets about their own wellness have changed , and they are seeking better and more effective methods of caring for their bodies and minds . Spas that can deliver those while deepening their connection to their guests ’ well-being will be poised for success . As Christina Hatton puts it : “ At the end of the day , people just want to feel important and feel heard and be loved on in a safe , therapeutic space . The more of those places we can have , the better off society will be . I really believe that .” n
46 PULSE n JANUARY 2022