Spa Culture and the Service Ethic
To characterize excellent service before the proliferation of spa, one might use words like professional, detached, smiling, gracious, and polite. Many of these words can still be used to characterize excellent service today, however, consumers might add: caring, personable, engaged, empathetic, and genuine to that list.
When spas became a part of hospitality, the service ethic changed as a result of shepherding guests through a variety of intensely personal experiences. It had the effect of closing the distance between the server and the served. Spa technicians were more than specialists, they were entering a gray area that was part servant, but also part therapist, part healer, part hand holder, part confidante. Spa therapists learn things about the people they work with, and being known opens people up to a different experience of service, and different expectations of being served.
Spa culture continually challenges the service ethic to be more aware, more empathetic, and more sensitive to the core components of leisure: reconnection and total well being.