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4 Inspiring Insights from John Ondrasik

March 28, 2017

Singer-songwriter and 2016 ISPA Alex Szekely Humanitarian Award recipient John Ondrasik closed this year’s General Session with one thought-provoking question: “What kind of world do you want?” 

4 Thought Provoking Questions by Brene Brown

March 28, 2017

When Daring Greatly best-selling author Brené Brown made a brave decision to talk about her own struggle with shame and vulnerability at a TEDx Talk, she had no idea her life was about to change.

5 Powerful Takeaways from Simon Sinek

March 28, 2017

Leadership expert Simon Sinek closed this year’s General Session with a compelling challenge to the ISPA community: “Every single person in this room has the opportunity to be the leader you wished you had. So make a choice. Be the leader you wished you had.”

A Conversation with Erica Dhawan

September 14, 2023

Pulse: You are known for helping leaders inspire their teams to collaborate. When did you first recognize the power of innovation in workplace culture?

ERICA DHAWAN: Research has proven over and over that the romantic myth of the lone genius fails because it obscures the social, connected qualities of innovation. We can multiply our own knowledge, drive and insight “by the power” of others. Embracing this insight is a key aspect of getting big things done in life and work.

A case in point is the recent shift toward greater collabo[1]ration through peer-to-peer virtual communities. A few years ago, the CFO of a law firm noticed a decline in billing among their incoming associates. He discovered they had created a virtual Teams community to share information and advice about their cases. When someone had a problem or question, he or she would pose it on the forum and often immediately receive the answer from a peer. By collaborating with each other in this way, they were able to work better and far more quickly—across offices, practices and levels. For the first time ever, the firm’s leaders had to ask themselves, How can we learn about how to innovate faster and better ways of collaborating from our youngest employees—where horizontal collaboration is natural to them outside of in-person interactions? Today, they have created virtual peer-to-peer communities at all levels of the firm to increase social connections. To me, innovation starts by learning from others, collaborating in new ways and taking these lessons to maximize value and impact in organizations.

Amanda Al-Masri: Evolve or Become Irrelevant

September 14, 2023

Join key leaders within the industry as they share insights on how constant evolution within the spa business is necessary to thrive, and how spas are adapting and changing to stay relevant.

Pulse: What are some of the challenges and opportunities of new technology in the spa?

Amanda Al-Masri: Our recent 2023 Trends Report found more than half of travelers across the globe are aiming to have an easier travel experience in 2023, leading to clear opportunity for us as an industry to offer innovative solutions that are both human and technology-led. In this widely digital world, we see technology as a means to provide an enhanced experience for guests and, ultimately, smooth operations so that our team members can focus on what they do best: provide guests with exceptional hospitality and service.

While technology often powers the day-to-day, it’s people who provide the relatability, personalization and genuine hospitality that we have grown accustomed to. That’s why more than half of global travelers say they’ll care about reliable and friendly service. There are just some things— like a smile or warm greeting—that can’t be digitally replicated or replaced, and our team members are always available to deliver that and more.

Attracting Guests Through Innovative Treatment Offerings

September 14, 2023

Defining innovation as successfully implementing new ideas that introduce value for your customer, Michael Tompkins asked panel members to identify spa innovations they have focused on recently.


Aaliya Bashir shared her work with detoxification. “Detox was a bad word—usually associated with drug use—but now you see it everywhere, like on toothpaste,” she said. Aaliya also pointed out “consumers are now more educated about detoxification. Now, people are getting more aware that detoxification is an everyday thing. Everything we put inside of ourselves needs to come out.” She sees a direct benefit of innovating around the concept of detoxification within the spa: “People are coming to the sauna a couple of times per week.”


Be a Mountain Climber: Key Tips to Overcome Any Barrier

September 14, 2023

Face your mountain. Mountains can discourage you, but mountains in the spa industry consist of how we attract great people, how we keep them, and how we help them thrive. In his Knowledge Builder Session at the 2023 ISPA Conference, Dr. Bryan K. Williams joined attendees to discuss tips to over overcome any barrier.

Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory, or motivation theory, is how you get people to do what they want to do. It attributes two factors to motivating action: hygiene factors and motivation factors. Most recruitment is based on hygiene factors—ones related to job satisfaction such as compensation, job security, benefits, company policies and workplace conditions. These factors will attract people who just want a job. Motivation factors consist of challenging work, opportunity for personal growth, personal responsibility, recognition, sense of belongingness and sense of purpose. These factors tend to attract people who want to stay and thrive at their job.

Ben Nemtin: Making the Impossible Possible

September 14, 2023

“By doing what you love, you actually inspire other people to do what they love—and that ripple effect continues more than you will ever know.” That was the advice Ben Nemtin shared with ISPA Conference attendees in May, and also a personal philosophy he has put into action by encouraging others to create and accomplish a “life’s bucket list.”

“There’s also a ripple effect when you help someone,” Ben continued. “Because you aren’t just helping that one person. You help their friends, you help their family, you help everyone who comes in touch with them. Kindness is contagious—because of the ripple effect. A smile creates a ripple.”

Ben, who received ISPA’s Alex Szekely Humanitarian Award prior to his keynote address, had the spa industry in mind as he discussed the ripple effect of kindness. “The work you do day in, day out, helps people reduce stress, increase resilience, bolster mental health,” he told ISPA members. “The problem is, the day-to-day stress, the pace, makes it difficult to contribute to that ripple.”

Bringing Out the Best in Your Staff: Key Tips to Overcome Any Barrier

September 14, 2023

It was such a treat to be back presenting at ISPA. Thank you to all the amazing attendees who gave the gift of their time and attention, and came with open hearts and minds to my session. If you were not able to make it, here are five top takeaways:

1 The question is not how to bring about the best in our staff, but rather, How can we create an environment where our team can bring all of themselves to work? We must focus on what we can do to create a workspace where our team can do their best work, and flourish and thrive.

2 What makes a “best job ever” comes down to one word—and it isn’t money. When people feel what they do has significance and the work they do matters, their sense of job satisfaction increases dramatically.

3 When we can align the tasks needed to run our business with the strengths of our staff—as opposed to their job description—both engagement and enjoyment will flourish. If you are not sure where the true strengths of your team reside, listen with your eyes. When people work inside their strengths:

  • Inflection will rise
  • Speech will become more rapid
  • Posture will improve
  • Eyes will be wide, and eyebrows raised
  • Smiling and laughing will occur naturally
  • Hand gestures will increase
  • Speech will become more fluent

Carrie Ummel: Personalizing Your Retail Space to Captivate Consumers

September 14, 2023

Learn how to identify your spa’s personality, curate brands to support your spa’s unique experience and tell a story with your merchandising to keep guests coming back for more. These tools will help create a winning strategy for an enjoyable shopping experience, while turning merchandise and increasing sales.

Pulse: Is there an accepted rule for how many product suppliers should be represented in a spa? Is it based on unit sales, physical space, or other considerations?

Carrie Ummel: There are so many factors to include in this decision. For me, the physical space, the spa treatments and resort experiences are the three factors I start with when determining how many vendors and products to offer in the retail experience. When considering the physical space, it is just as important to “protect” the arrival experience and boutique space with a calm and inviting atmosphere as it is to fill it with the right product.

The menu of experiences our guests choose from help to form the categories of vendors to include. For example, if fitness machines and classes are not a part of the spa experience offered to guests, then I consider cozy lounge wear versus activewear. Or, if the spa and resort rooms do not have bathtubs, I skip the bath bombs. Stay true to the moments your guest can and will have while on property.

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