Pulse September 2020 - Page 20

also meant fewer linens, robes and towels were used, even further reducing laundry expense and labor. Step three involved ensuring that our back bar inventory was sufficient. Any back bar items that were near expiration (due to the two-month closure) were strategically included as either an enhancement or as an addition to an extended service, such as a 90-minute facial rather than a 60-minute facial. This pushes guests towards the highest-margin services. We were especially grateful during this phase of our planning to have the amazing support of our vendor partners at FarmHouse Fresh, Phytomer and Salon Services, who helped ensure our success with reopening pricing, quick shipping and full support of our modified yielding plan. Reach out to your own spa’s vendors, if you haven’t already, to see how they could help support a yielding plan. The last step in our plan was to bring back approximately half of our team. We reopened earlier than most spas in the United States, and demand was an unknown; until we knew how our guests would respond to our open doors, I did not want to bring people off of their unemployment benefits. Using ISPA’s Spa Reopening Toolkit, we shared our “new normal” with our team. This included heightened standards of cleanliness and safety for team members and guests alike, as well as an “all hands on deck” approach necessitated by reopening without our beloved and oh-so-essential spa attendants. Again, our focus was bringing as much revenue as possible to the bottom line, so every fixed cost was scrutinized. Without open amenities and food service, we decided to reorganize our check-in, locker room and service provider processes to see if it was even possible for us to operate without spa attendants. Everyone (and I do mean everyone) cleaned and sanitized, folded laundry, assisted guests, turned over rooms, stocked restrooms and more. For most of us, the days were much longer than usual and a couple of us went more than 45 days without a full day off. But the Menu Changes PRE-PANDEMIC, we offered a very robust spa menu with everything from decadent lavender bolus massages to slimming body wraps and more. We will re-introduce many of these services over time, but our ability to maximize our back bar and leverage it across multiple services—similar to the way a restaurant chef uses ingredients in multiple dishes—will impact those decisions moving forward. sacrifice was worth it. When we received our month of May P&Ls (and just recently our June P&Ls), we learned that we had surpassed our very aggressive goals for EBITDA (in the 20 percent range). However, there were additional benefits to our yielding plan that were equally important. By offering only those highest profit margin services, our team received peace of mind during a challenging time. They had the time to focus on all of the new policies, procedures and tasks and not protocols that required a large number of products or extra steps (such as cleaning hot stones). In essence, removing the most product-intensive services allowed our smaller reopening staff to focus on what mattered most. As a bonus, their paychecks reflected our “full services only” approach, with higher commissions and service charges than typical. Applying yield management to our reopening menu was a true win-win. We have learned much these past few months. With the many benefits of this modified yielding approach, your spa will be able to focus on the ever-evolving needs of your team and your guests, while remaining a vital and viable business just as La Rive Spa has. n Measuring Performance WE RELY HEAVILY ON SEVERAL KPIS to ensure strong EBITDA month after month: on a daily basis we track average revenue per guest, average retail per guest and revenue per labor hour. We incentivize our team to set achievable goals and to then meet and exceed those goals. YVONNE SMITH is senior director of resort experience at Northern Quest Resort & Casino in Spokane, Washington. She spent nearly 10 years directly overseeing Northern Quest’s La Rive Spa as director of spa & resort retail, where she led the spa to a Forbes Four-Star rating. Smith currently serves on the ISPA Board of Directors. 16 PULSE ■ SEPTEMBER 2020