Spa Director Career Guide, Part 1

Although the Spa Director’s Job Description is an ever-expanding list of job challenges and not suited to just anyone, I speak from experience that it is one of the most exciting and rewarding careers imaginable. Whether you are a Spa Director at the top of your game with a proven track record; you have a small handful of notable business successes accumulating; or you are still in the early stages of developing your career, it’s important to acknowledge that your clever demonstrations of promise and potential can help boost your opportunities and allow you to reap the benefits when you travel that extra mile.

What’s required of you?

A well established spa will normally require that the Spa Director position be filled with someone who possesses both the education and experience. This might entail a Certificate or Diploma in Spa, Hospitality, Leisure, Business, Marketing and/or Human Resource Management, plus practical experience in one or more of these areas. Many other credentials may also be considered an asset depending upon the spa facility, such as and in particular, a spa internship and/or work placement experience.

Candidates that fit all of these criteria however, are high in demand… but short in supply.

So if you are one of those who possess these credentials, your chances at a successful career are very good. On the other hand, because the supply is outweighed by the demand for Spa Director expertise, many spas have had to relax their strict standards somewhat, and choose from applicants who aren’t necessarily at the top of their game…yet.

Developing your career path

So if you are just starting out and wish to pursue a career as a Spa Director, think first about where you might like to work and find out what the pre-requisites are for applying as a Spa Director/Manager at those spas. Although we know that the majority of upper-echelon spas will have more strict pre-requisites, there will be many other spas who will accept varying degrees of accomplishments.

Occasionally a spa is intriuged by a resume or candidate who does not possess either of these criteria, but other qualities and qualifications have impressed them…they see potential.The candidate is awarded an interview and is offered an entry level position at the spa’s front desk or in the concierge department. In some cases, it may even be an Assistant Spa Director position. Although for some, to accept this position might be considered a step backwards, this is what may be required in order to move a step forward in this business.

 

So if you are a newbie, it is perhaps with these types of spa facilities that you might be able to gain that much needed operational experience, while acquiring the business education required to grow your career to the next level.

There are many Spa Management Courses available, offering everything from university degrees, to certificates of achievement. As well, there are various styles of delivery, including classroom, online, distance learning, or any combination therein. It is from this wide variety of choices that you will make your decision. You will gradually narrow your search as you begin to pinpoint exactly what your long-term career aspirations really are, but as well, your lifestyle; available time; and budget will certainly be contributing factors. The level of education you seek, should of course be in line with the price you pay and the length of time it takes you to complete.

While researching your options, it would be prudent for you to consider a widely recognized course that will teach you Spa Finances, Marketing, Staffing, Customer Service & Operations. Knowledge of these topics will help you to begin to understand how the spa business runs and provide you with the basis to begin developing your implementation strategies for the following 5 criteria, which most Spa Director’s will be expected to eventually achieve:

1.     Boost capture rates

2.     Multiply client leads

3.     Amplify average client spend

4.     Attract and retain better staff talent

5.     Realize higher profitability.

 

Don’t just JUMP in blind, do your homework…

What is your potential?

No matter what stage of your career you are at, each interviewing phase is certainly a critical turning point in the ongoing development of your career. It’s all about knowing how to sell your existing qualifications, and in particular, your upward potential.

Paying attention to these following 3 steps really can help you to impress the toughest of audiences and get your foot in their door.

I. Conduct your Research

The more you know about the spa you apply to, the more promising your potential becomes. If you’re really serious about landing this job, you should know:

1.     The spa’s history, brand & philosophy

2.     How the spa is positioned and perceived in both local and global markets

3.     The spa’s basic strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT).

II. Customize your Resume

If you have made the decision to apply to this specific spa, your research must have told you that this spa fits into your career plan. It is therefore worth the investment in time for you to create a customized resume, which in most cases should only mean a bit of tweaking to your existing resume prototype.

With the information you have uncovered during your research (as mentioned in Point I), here is your first opportunity to impress them with your potential, by catering your resume specifically to their needs.

III. Prepare to impress in the Interview

Even without that long list of business credentials that your competitors may have, if you do get an interview, it’s clear that something about you has resonated with them. Continue with style and grace, and know that this is your second opportunity to impress them with your potential.

1.     Know your ownstrengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats…what can you capitalize on about yourself…what might you need to counteract?

2.     Prepare for possible lines of questioning. Recognize where you might be able to offset a weaknesses of theirs with a strength of yours; and a threat with an opportunity

3.     Use your research to answer their questions with responses that you know relate directly to their current situation, not a fictional scenario

4.     Open up a light-hearted discussion on a known challenge of theirs and offer possible solutions

5.     Ask intelligent, well prepared questions related to your career goals; in other words, interview them too

 

Customizing resumes and entering into interviews with your homework done speaks volumes about you.

In Part 2of this series, we’re going to elaborate on these above points and even provide examples of how you can put these techniques into play.

In Part 3we will address Personal Attributes; Hot Button Topics; and FAQs for Spa Directors.

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