ISPA Academy Articles
Kristine Huffman for Pulse: The industry seems to be really struggling with therapist recruitment. Do you experience that too?
CG Funk: We have about a thousand massage programs in the United States today, so we have enough schools. What we don’t have is enough students. I think that’s mainly because we have not marketed and promoted it as a 21st-century career. When people think about massage as a job, folks still think about it as kind of a hippie thing. We’ve done an amazing job in the spa industry of promoting the benefits of our services to consumers. We have more consumers than ever before. And after Covid, it’s grown exponentially. But what we haven’t done is change the mindset what a massage career is. I also believe, as an industry, we are falling short on helping massage therapists create sustainable, long-term careers.
We haven’t approached this thing as a marketing and PR issue. The school I worked with had this ace marketing officer and he created an all-inclusive marketing campaign. We had ads running on radio, latenight television, print and social. We started the first online admissions department. The marketing was so strong that it pushed thousands of students to our campuses on an annual basis. I haven’t seen a strong campaign since then.
Kristine Huffman for Pulse: Many of us aren’t familiar with the duties of a revenue manager. Tell us a little about that job.
ADAM HAYASHI: When I started in the hospitality industry in the ‘90s, I had no idea what revenue management was. It was still in its infancy, and the airlines were really picking it up. In 2001, I got my first job as a revenue manager at a hotel property. Even back at that point, it was rare to have a property-specific revenue manager focused on the yield and the optimization at each hotel. Fast forward: Now, most brands are prioritizing it. With revenue management strategy, we measure demand through data and trend analysis, and take opportunities to yield our pricing to attract the right guests at the right time, at the right price, through the right channel.
In terms of the discipline itself and how it differs from other departments, it is part of the commercial structure, focused on building the top line revenue and aligned with sales, marketing, digital and e-commerce. And that differs from the function of someone who is a finance director or controller who’s more focused on managing expenses and the accounting side of things.
Pulse: Often day spas and boutique hotels don’t have somebody focused exclusively on revenue management and the primary focus becomes expense management. What would you say to an owner of a smaller boutique property or a day spa to help support the idea that this is a necessary role? How would they get it started?
Looking for new ways to learn more about job candidates during the interview process? ISPA members shared their favorite interview questions in a previous ISPA Snapshot Survey. You are sure to find some thought-provoking conversation starters for your next interview here.
With 250 employees and a fair amount of turnover, Colin MacCrimmon has a lot of jobs to fill and several ways to gather enough information to judge the suitability of a job candidate. When hiring new employees, the human resources manager for Oak Bay Beach Hotel in Victoria, British Columbia, relies primarily on reference checks from previous employers and managers, as well as personal references.
Using a set of standard questions, MacCrimmon probes job candidates and their references for red flags. “It’s important not to be suggestive,” he said. “Follow a template and give people time to talk.” He has found vague answers to specific questions— like why they left a specific job—from either the job candidate or a reference can reveal potential issues in the candidate’s job history that warrant more probing questions.
The holiday season seems to begin earlier every year. To help ISPA members plan for the year-end rush, a Town Hall this summer focused on getting your spa “holiday-ready” with creative seasonal promotions and incentive ideas like gift cards and open houses. Panelists at the July Town Hall included Aaliya Bashir, owner of Warrior Body Spa; Charlotte Prescott, director of spa and fitness at Privai Spa at the Kimpton Epic, Arch Amenities Group; Ginger McLean, director of spa operations at Hard Rock Atlantic City; Justin Vanderpoel, assistant spa director at Well & Being Spa at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess; and Patrick Huey, ISPA chairman, as moderator.
The idea of “Christmas in July” is more than a marketing gimmick. By mid-summer, most spas are already beginning their planning for holiday sales and year-end promotions. “We started our holiday planning [in July] with preliminary meetings,” said Justin Vanderpoel. “It’s never too early to start planning. We like to include everyone in the leadership team at our meetings. The more minds, the better.”
Ginger McLean said, “We create a framework of our marketing calendar in September for the next year. We then meet quarterly with everyone and work hand-in-hand across the property to ensure everything is consistent.”
Aaliya Bashir shared, “Our spa plans our marketing four months out. Our biggest days for revenue are Black Friday/Cyber Monday.
Survival of the fittest, constant adaption to change—the wilderness and the corporate world have many similarities.