As Scott Vazinksi points out , however , making that kind of a change can have a major impact beyond the time it requires of spa leaders . “ We brand our spa according to the resource partners we have ,” he says , “ so if we were to switch resource partners — let ’ s say our skin care brand or something — it ’ s rebranding as a spa . It ’ s education that we don ’ t have the ability to do on new product treatments . We ’ d have to redesign a treatment menu . We ’ d have to analyze and change our pricing , and we ’ d have to introduce the line to our staff or our clients . It ’ s just a really big undertaking .” No matter a spa ’ s staffing or leadership situation , such an endeavor requires a high level of confidence that the partnership in question is truly not salvageable . And even if things get to that point , Megan Jasper advises spa leaders to be as empathetic as possible , given the strain the entire spa industry has been under .
“ Just put yourself in the other person ’ s shoes and have a conversation ,” Jasper says . “ I mean , if we ’ ve been partners for eight years , 10 years , is it that this situation is so bad that we need to make a change ? Then let ’ s make sure to have a conversation first so that we can both learn from it and build .”
COVID-19 has forced spas and resource partners to find ways to work together and support each other . Though traveling this road together may not always be easy , remaining open and flexible to new solutions will be crucial to both groups ’ success through the pandemic and beyond . And if you are uncertain about suggesting alternative solutions , Megan Jasper ’ s advice is simple : don ’ t be . “ It doesn ’ t have to be broken before you can fix it ,” she says . “ What if we did it like this ? Or what if we modeled it after a different industry that did it like this ? Why can ’ t we explore that question ? Don ’ t just take what ’ s always been as the way it has to be .” n
MEGAN JASPER Director of Operations and Marketing GADABOUT SALON SPAS
MARCI HOWARD-MAY Director of Spa and Wellness RED MOUNTAIN RESORT , SAGESTONE SPA
SCOTT VAZINSKI Executive Director THE SPA AT YELLOW CREEK
Not Going Anywhere
Providing flexible , easily accessible training content and working with spas to establish a system for online ordering are just a couple of ways in which resource partners have demonstrated their flexibility during the pandemic . But the reality is that many of the adjustments that spas and resource partners have made to the ways in which they work together are not likely to be confined to the pandemic . Instead , these shifts are likely to remain in place even when complications from COVID-19 subside .
Simply put , the sheer convenience of virtual training models , for example , means that they are almost certainly here to stay in some form or another . Says Megan Jasper ,“ For our spa , they ’ re great —[ employees ] can get on a Zoom call and pay attention and listen for an hour or two hours … and they ’ re engaged .” Not only are the sessions effective , but they also improve the work experience of service providers , which is a significant benefit in a climate where employee retention is such a challenge .“ A lot of our estheticians hope we continue to do education like this . They don ’ t feel bad being late because they have to drop kids off , and they can still be part of the content and can still learn . Or they don ’ t have to drive 45 minutes to get to that education . I think eventually , at least in our spa , we ’ ll probably get to more of a hybrid model where not everything is in person , but there are still in-person opportunities ,” Jasper says .
Other innovations , such as Jasper ’ s agreement with a new makeup vendor that will allow her to keep inventory low while relying on the resource partner to drop ship products directly to guests , have also introduced levels of convenience that spa leaders aren ’ t soon likely to sacrifice . That may be especially true of adjustments that are time-savers for spa leaders or reduce the impact of staffing shortages and employee turnover .
NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2021 n PULSE 37