Pulse May / June 2023 | Page 64



THE FORBES FIVE-STAR CRITERIA for spas has undergone major changes recently . Michael Conte , Forbes Travel Guide ’ s senior executive trainer , recently joined an ISPA Town Hall to discuss what those changes are , and to offer advice on how to ensure our spas provide extraordinary and extremely personalized services to obtain or keep those Five-Star ratings . ISPA Chair Patrick Huey moderated the event .
PATRICK HUEY FOR ISPA : For those on the call who may not be as familiar with the Forbes rating standards , how do you recommend they start their educational journey ? MICHAEL CONTE : There are lots of videos on YouTube and Vimeo that give an idea of what Forbes Travel Guide does . Of course , we work exclusively with partners to do in-person training . We have an entire team of amazing professionals , and we offer in-person training , virtual training , online training — a lot of great opportunities for staff and spas to work with us .
with gender preferences for therapists . Do spas have to offer a choice of therapist gender ? MC : It is not required . If you have gender preference available it ’ s always nice to give your guests that option to choose . However , if you don ’ t have it available , what we ’ re looking for is that you let the guests know , and politely let the guest know who the therapist is and ask if that is all right . Or you can say ,“ are you equally comfortable with a male or female ?” But it ’ s nice to give the guest that preference .
ISPA : Over the past few weeks our spa and hospitality community has been abuzz about some of the new changes to the Forbes standards and a thoughtful focus on extraordinary and personalized services . Let ’ s start
ISPA : What is the standard for the level of expertise a therapist must have for a Five-Star rating ? MC : We like to make sure all therapists are experts . It ’ s about the therapist listening to what the guest wants , and
62 PULSE n MAY / JUNE 2023