Spa: A Comprehensive Introduction

The modern spa era saw spas shift from their ancient medical and spiritual emphasis to today’s corporate model that primarily focuses on beauty, fitness, and wellness. While wellness and relaxation have always been the cornerstones of a spa’s holistic experience, the historical European model had come to emphasize taking the waters and retreating to pastoral and natural setting for weeks and even months at a time. Food was luxurious and abundant, and doctors routinely recommended spas as a way to cleanse and heal the body away from the rigors of everyday urban life.

Spa: A Comprehensive Introduction | Chapter 8.9 | Beginning a Spa Career

While it may seem that a technical specialty like massage therapy or esthetics would be the logical opening to a spa career, these are not always necessary to spa success. For those looking to become spa managers, it may be possible to work up to a management position by starting at a lower-level position, learning the business, and then advancing in the field.

Spa: A Comprehensive Introduction | Chapter 9 | A Day in the Life of a Spa Director

Spa director careers are more rewarding and more challenging than many people realize. Spa directors—whether of day spas, resort spas, or destination spas—must master many diverse skill sets to be successful.

Spa: A Comprehensive Introduction | Chapter 9.1 | A Spa Director’s Roles and Relationships

Key elements of spa directors’ jobs can be broken down by the various groups with whom they interact.

Spa: A Comprehensive Introduction | Chapter 9.2 | Similarities and Differences Among Spa Types

Different types of spas present their directors with unique challenges and opportunities. These range from attracting guests to developing programs to meeting revenue goals. Knowing how resort spas, destination spas, and day spas differ may help a spa professional choose which spa segment is right for them.

Spa: A Comprehensive Introduction | Chapter 9.3 | A Day in the Life of Three Spa Directors

Every day, spa directors around the world deal with the challenges of leading employees, managing profitability, and serving guests. While there are many types of spas, this chapter will follow hypothetical directors at three of the most common types of spas: resort spas, destination spas, and day spas.

Spa: A Comprehensive Introduction | Chapter 9.4 | A Career That Makes a Difference

Spa director is one of the most demanding and rewarding careers in the spa industry. The job requires an extensive knowledge of all aspects of spa operations, from financial management and human resources to facilities management and marketing and public relations.

Spa: A Comprehensive Introduction | Chapter 10 | Leadership and Ethics

Leadership is needed from many people in the spa organization and it is not the spa director alone who drives every decision to create the necessary environment. Rather, a spa leader is a disciplined, focused, consistent communicator whose goal is to take the spa from good to great.

Spa: A Comprehensive Introduction | Chapter 10.1 | Management: Building Blocks for Leaders

While a professional can become a manager on the virtue of what he or she accomplishes, being a leader is in part determined by others and their willingness and acceptance of the professional’s leadership. Whether others accept the leadership of a professional will depend in large part on how they manage and, even more importantly, how they behave and believe.

Spa: A Comprehensive Introduction | Chapter 10.2 | The Importance of Leadership

To manage means to bring about, to accomplish, to have charge of, responsibility for, to conduct. Leading is influencing, guiding in direction, course, action, and opinion. The distinction is crucial.

Spa: A Comprehensive Introduction | Chapter 10.3 | Good to Great

In Good to Great, Jim Collins sets forth a model for leadership that many spa professionals feel makes sense for the culture in which they operate. Collins studied great companies with an eye to discovering what made them great. Specifically, he looked for those companies that started out as merely good and became great.

Scroll to Top