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

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. Through their interactions with employees, guests, owners, and executive management, spa directors chart a course for success for the spa and steer the business through myriad challenges and triumphs. They care deeply about the people around them, and model servant leadership through their hands-on participation in the life of the spa—teaching and coaching staff members, seeking to understand guests and exceed their expectations, and transforming the spa’s vision into reality.


  1.    Leslie Lyon, “The Spa Director’s Ever-Expanding Job Description,” from, retrieved September 13, 2007.

  2.    Douglas Preston, “Becoming a Spa Director: 10 Important Skills You Must Absolutely Master,”, retrieved September 13, 2007.

  3.    Content for this section based on material provided by Ann Moloney Brown, spa director, Spa Shiki, Lodge of Four Seasons, Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri.

  4.    Content for this section based on material provided by Cathy Cluff, managing director, The Oaks at Ojai, Ojai, California.

  5.    Content for this section based on material provided by Elaine Trahan, spa director, Paris Parker Aveda Lifestyle Salon/Spa, Jefferson, Louisiana; Helga Surrat, president, About Faces Day Spa, Towson, Maryland; Annette Jankowski, spa consultant.

Key Terms

amenity—Something offered for the convenience or enjoyment of guests.

executive team—A committee composed of the general manager and department or division heads of a property.

guerilla marketing—Unconventional marketing designed to get maximum results from minimal resources.

par levels—Levels of supplies or products needed to have sufficient stock on hand until the next delivery.

pilferage—Repeated stealing of small amounts of merchandise, often by employees.

vendor—A product supplier.

Review Questions

  1.    What are some traits of successful spa directors?

  2.    What type of activities do spa directors perform in relation to employees?

  3.    What are a spa director’s responsibilities toward guests?

  4.    What is the relationship between a spa director and the owners or upper management of a property?

  5.    What are some similarities and differences between resort spas and destination spas?

        6.     What are some challenges faced by directors of day spas?

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