“ I cannot imagine how difficult this time has been on vendors with so many spas closed and so many sources of revenue just falling off .”
— MARCI HOWARD-MAY
evolve as staffing shortages and sky-high demand put added strain on teams that are already stretched thin .
Adapt and Evolve
Like a large number of her industry colleagues , Megan Jasper — director of marketing and operations at Gadabout Salon Spas — is quick to sing the praises of her resource partners ’ efforts during the pandemic . “ Our resource partners have been so awesome with us . They haven ’ t held us to the fire about making purchases or anything like that ,” Jasper says . “ They ’ ve just [ said ], ‘ Whatever you need . Do you need us to do education and it ’ s all going to be virtual ? What can we do ?’ Our resource partners have just truly been partners through all of this . For that I ’ m so grateful .”
At Red Mountain Resort , home of Sagestone Spa in Ivins , Utah , Director of Spa and Wellness Marci Howard- May expresses a similar sentiment , citing several specific adjustments resource partners have made to assist the spa in one area or another , including changes to the traditional retail sales arrangements they had with Sagestone . “ I ’ ve been really impressed with those [ vendors ] that have been able to offer retail online where they didn ’ t before because they wanted to keep [ products ] exclusive to the spa ,” Howard-May says . She adds that because various vendors were able to offer her spa a percentage of guests ’ online product purchases similar to what she was receiving on in-spa purchases , she ’ s been able to reduce inventory significantly , which is a welcome simplification for her on the operational side of things .
In addition , Howard-May ’ s resource partners came through by offering readily available virtual training and providing the spa with pre-made marketing materials for their products . Given the demands often placed on timestarved spa leaders at the moment , they are sure to appreciate the hours saved by those types of actions .“ Most spa directors , I ’ m finding we have all got more on our plates than ever before . Unfortunately , I just don ’ t have as much time to sit and be creative because I ’ m dealing with the day-in , day-out so heavily ,” she says .
Though spa leaders have obviously faced all manner of strain on their time throughout the pandemic , the past handful of months have likely seen that strain increase in some ways , as the elimination of occupancy restrictions , high levels of demand for spa services and staffing challenges leave leaders , service providers and other staff with precious little opportunity to set aside time for wholeteam training or the development of enticing product displays . Those resource partners able to remain flexible and meet the changing needs of their spa partners are providing aid that Marci Howard-May describes as “ lifesaving .”
Challenges On Both Sides
Not all resource partners , of course , have been able to provide the kind of support that Megan Jasper and Marci Howard-May describe . After all , the same disruptions that have affected spas so profoundly have also had an enormous impact on resource partner businesses . “ I cannot imagine how difficult this time has been on vendors with so many spas closed and so many sources of revenue just falling off . That has been a challenge , obviously , for both sides ,” says Howard-May . Still , when resource partners face challenges related to staffing or manufacturing and the supply chain , the spas with whom they may have had longstanding relationships are forced into awkward situations .
NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2021 n PULSE 33