Last Word

"The unpredictability of spa bookings and challenges of staffing to meet demand are the most difficult management issues. You may have a very quiet period and have staffed accordingly and then suddenly the spa is fully booked. It is important we work closely with the resort team to prepare for periods of higher occupancy yet have staff on call who can help if we get surprise bookings at the last minute. As we also have an active marina, people can 'sail' in at any time and need a treatment. Stocking retail can also be challenging. You want products that move quickly and don't spend a long time on your shelves. We welcome recommendations and enjoy spending time educating clients on what we have available."—Trish MacKinnon, spa manager, Poets Cove Resort & Spa (Pender Island, BC)

"One thing that comes to mind is that different personalities are attracted to each specialty. Massage therapists tend to be nurturing, estheticians are often perfectionists, and hairstylists are creative. Knowing how to manage these different personality types while simultaneously fostering a harmonious work environment can sometimes be challenging."—Tony Young, spa director, SpaHalekulani (Honolulu)

"Staff retention. at paul labrecque, we have created a work environment where no one feels like they work for us but like they work with us instead. We did not want to have any sort of dictatorship between owners and employees. Each one of us is hands-on and models how we would like our staff to act by setting a positive example. Everyone chips in, from sweeping the floors to folding towels. We are a team. By creating a nice environment, we make coming to work enjoyable."—Regina Viotto, spa director, Paul Labrecque Salon & Spa (New York City)

"service is personal and very staff intensive. High technology treatments and results-oriented skincare take years to master. Building a strong team and training staff is an ongoing process—to instill company philosophy, customer care, service skill sets, and personal standards is at all times a mind boggling task."—Danuta Mieloch, owner, Rescue Rittenhouse Spa Lounge (Philadelphia) —Compiled and edited by Heather Mikesell