Developing the leaders!

We are all leaders, you do not need a title to lead and developing the leaders is essential in spas. That means develop ALL staff, starting with the spa manager/director.

The emphasis on experience makes spas and salons different from many other businesses. In most businesses, there is a lead-time between the point of creation of the product such as a garment, food item, or a piece of furniture and when the actual product is consumed. Sitting on the chair, you do not feel the hands of the carpenter nor what he smells like. When you put on your new shirt, you do not see the designer in action or feel the seamstress while she sows your shirt together. In a spa however, there is no lead-time. The product is essentially a direct one-on-one experience with a therapist where the guest is paying for the therapist’s ability to translate their tactile skill into a personalised service.

The intensely personal and experiential nature of the spa business provides a great challenge to spa managers. They must not only understand the basics behind the spa experience and the requirements for operating a highly personal service-oriented business, but they also need to understand the fundamentals of leadership and business management and possess the skills necessary to perform financial, marketing and human resource functions.

The perfect spa manager has a combination of both management and therapist experience. Many call it a ‘right-brain/left-brain’ issue. In other business, the managers would often have a business degree and impressive leadership experience, but in the spa business a therapeutic background is more important than a business degree. As a leader, you have to understand that your staff, these beautifully creative and emotional therapists, can make or break a spa.

Just as any other business, a spa should have a business, marketing, and Human Capital Management (HCM) plan. If your business does not have the above, it is very likely that you are not maximizing your profitability.

We are now April 23rd starting our first on-line course where we go through

  1. The international spa market and its trends and technical innovations
  2. Leadership including HR
  3. Operations, service and quality management
  4. Marketing and PR (of course social media!)
  5. Finance
  6. Business Plan

This first course is in Swedish, and then the English one will start in end September this year. If you are interested in hearing more, just contact Anna-Cari Gund on

Final words

It is the people that work and serve at the spa who create the magic of the spa experience. Therefore, the temperament and demeanour of the staff go a long way towards creating the idea atmosphere. The more passionate, empathetic and knowledgeable the staff, the greater their ability to serve and anticipate guests’ needs and the more satisfied and uplifted the guests will be. The leadership challenge for the future is to lead an experience economy in spas, where the product is based on the employee. To do this strategically, you must focus on sales and numbers, yet at the same time encourage each and every employee to grow and prosper. It is extremely difficult, but greatly rewarding and if you can master the above you will achieve your goals.


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