Five Hard Skills Spa Management Cannot Ignore

Whether you are currently in a spa management position, or are an aspiring Spa Manager, these core competencies are 5 of the skills considered to be among the most important ‘hard skills’ a Spa Manager needs to possess, as revealed in a 2012 Report on the state of Spa Management education worldwide.  But although very important to the spa management position, at the same time, they may be among the most difficult to find. 

Some of this training is certainly available within the spa industry sector, and some of it you will have to look outside of the industry for, because it may not currently be considered a vital part of a spa management course’s mandate.  But whether you are able to find spa-specific courses, or more generic training that is considered suitable for many industries, choose carefully and know that anything that you do learn on the subject, can be adapted to your needs at the spa, and developed ongoing.  

Although our description overviews are not exhaustive, our goal here is to provide basic outlines for each of the skill sets, to help you identify the knowledge that a future employer might hope their Spa Manager/Director would possess.  But never be afraid to ask what they expect.

1.  Strategic Planning Skills

Strategic Planning is the opposite of Crisis Management.  When a spa spends too much time catching up (reactive), there is no time left to anticipate (proactive).  A strategic plan is the process of envisioning what the business environment will look like in 3-5 years based on forecasted trends, and then developing a workable plan to manipulate those forces to your advantage.  Your strategic planning will force you to look into the future and therefore provide a better awareness of needs, which affects your mission, changes your focus, provides a clear direction, optimizes staff and leadership roles, applies standards of accountability, and gains control of future outcomes.  In other words, a strategic plan mean sustainability.

2.  IT Skills

With the technological revolution, many companies continue to play catch-up, and spas are certainly no exception.  For a spa to catch up, they need staff who can keep up.  This list cannot be a Spa Manager/Director’s lone responsibility, but demonstrating acceptable levels of expertise in at least a few of these areas, is an important asset.  As a minimum, the Spa Manager/Director must have the ability to identify current technological hot buttons and know when and how to make change. 

  • May need to know basic code in order to modify the website
  •  Ensure active, up to the minute knowledge of online social and network status
  • Understand and be able to act upon business analytics and sales funnel information
  • Familiar with information security and safeguarding issues
  • Aware of how to monitor quality assurance and uphold standards
  • Mobile know-how, for example, the current importance of converting to HTML5
  • Knowledge of new operating systems as others reach EOL (end of life)
  • VoIP-enabled communication options
  • Cloud-based thinking (internet hosted) instead of being dependant on physical devices.

3.  Public Relations/Promotional Skills

Normally, a public relations / promotional director is a multi-media expert and influencer, whose focus is to prepare and deliver relevant stories to the right people, at the right time.  To do that, they develop and implement promotional strategies; identify task outlines; create publicity opportunities and platforms; maintain a network of media relations; constantly build upon opportunities; and stay flexible enough to be able to welcome spontaneity.  To do that, there are certain qualities and abilities that are necessary: 

  • People Person to a wide population and personality type
  • Strong verbal communicator
  • Skillful writer
  • Computer savvy 
  • Detail oriented and deadline driven
  • Practice creativity until it becomes a habit
  • Real-time opportunist able to identify ways to work themselves into the news.

4.  Revenue/Yield Management Skills

This is zeroing in on the best mix of services and products to sell at given times, to generate the highest revenue and profit.  By applying certain business measures during fluctuating supply and demand and seasonal highs and lows, a spa is better able to position themselves to maintain a more consistent, predictable bottom line.  Adopting yield management strategies is a good plan for spas, to help stabilize the extreme fluctuations a spa can experience.  Just remember that although many of these points revolve around promoting and selling the most profitable services and products, your customer’s needs must never be sacrificed in the process.  Some techniques include:

  • Strive to sell high margin services first, particularly during peak times
  • Employ top tier staff to administer those high margin services
  • Avoid top tier staff being booked with low margin services, where possible
  • Cap the number of low margin services available during peak times
  • Give high margin services premium real estate on the spa brochure
  • Design all floor space with high margin services and products in mind
  • Offer price advantages on unsold current and next-day timeslots
  • nstall tiered pricing during certain times of the day/week/season.

5.  Financial Management/Accounting Skills

Developing your Financial Plan is the single most important thing you can do for the business.  Physically charting spa finances will aid in setting expectations; monitoring progress; and guiding decisions.  The Spa Manager who has the ability to design the annual budget and overall financial plan, is highly sought after.  It’s all about the numbers and how to take them from paper to profits.  Steady financial gains should be a Spa Manager’s goal, and in order to accomplish that, a strict focus on finances is mandatory.  This may include:

  • Preparing the corporate budget
  • Have a working knowledge of cash flow; profit and loss; and break even
  • Develop financial reporting systems, based on needs and financial status
  • Set up campaigns to increase Key Performance Indicators
  • Create business and staff statistical reports to chart ongoing performance
  • Have a thorough knowledge of staff compensation methodologies
  • Know how to calculate service and product margins to increase profitability
  • Base promotional and staffing decisions on service revenue per minute and per hour
  • Apply these results to continually improve outcomes.

Do you need to develop your Spa Management hard skills?

Get started with the Spas2b Spa Management Courses today!