Meet Laura Wood, spa director of The Spa and Salon at Park MGM (Las Vegas) who has spent 25 years working in the hospitality and spa industries.
American Spa: What was the path that led you into the spa industry?
Laura Wood: I am a licensed cosmetologist and have a love for skincare and all things spa. I spent many years working for MGM Resorts in a management role, and I have been fortunate to blend my love of health and wellness with managing a team.
AS: What are the most challenging and rewarding parts of working in the spa industry?
LW: I would say creating loyalty with our guests is the most challenging aspect of our business. Many of our guests visit us and may not return to the destination for a long time, so we take advantage of every opportunity to create a relationship and make a great first impression.
AS: What is your proudest accomplishment?
LW: My proudest accomplishment is definitely opening The Spa at Park MGM. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to “build” the spa from the bottom-up. I am so very proud of the team that works here at Park MGM.
AS: What has surprised you most about working in the spa industry?
LW: The spa industry is ever-changing. That’s what makes it so exciting. It does always seem to come full circle though.
AS: What qualities do you look for in your staff?
LW: I look for treatment providers who do what they do because they love it. You have to love it. At Park MGM, I look for therapists who understand the culture we are trying to create. We want our guests to feel like they are coming home when they are at our spa.
AS: Where do you think the industry is heading?
LW: I think this industry will always be challenged by finding that perfect balance between Eastern and Western treatments, especially as we strive to provide a holistic approach and results-oriented treatments.
AS: What new spa treatment would you like to try?
LW: I am really intrigued by sleep treatments. These treatments include essential oils, meditation, and massage to elevate relaxation and induce peaceful sleep. It’s absolutely something I’m looking forward to learning more about.
AS: What’s your go-to spa treatment?
LW: I really like to receive massages. I am an esthetician by craft, so I am very well-versed in skincare and the latest trends, so I will typically skip a facial for a good deep-tissue massage.
AS: What’s your favorite skincare ingredient?
LW: Retinols, AHAs, and peptides are my go-to ingredients. You must always incorporate a physical SPF into your regime.
AS: Which brands are your go-to favorites?
LW: I have been using Priori Skincare for years. You cannot dispute the science or the results you see with this brand. It’s a face game-changer.
AS: What positions have you worked in that you feel have been most influential to your career?
LW: I believe that every experience lends itself to the next. I think the time I spent working in a skincare room directly with clients has had the most influence on the kind of leader I am. That experience allows me to connect with my team on a deeper level. I understand the energy that can be exchanged between a guest and a treatment provider and that profound effect you can have on a guest if you truly love what you do. It allows me to relate and coach my team to be the best they can be. That experience is invaluable to me.
AS: If you could work in any other profession in the world, what would it be?
LW: I would want to be a psychoanalyst. I am fascinated with what makes people tick.