Q & A with Garrett Mersberger, director of Kohler Waters Spa for Kohler Co.

Garrett Mersberger

Garrett MersbergerHow many years have you been involved in the spa and hospitality industry?

I’ve been in the hospitality industry for 15 years, and in the wellness industry since 2010. 

What was the path that led you into the spa industry?

I started in the hospitality industry by working for Kohler Co.’s Hospitality Communications Department, assisting with all advertising and marketing needs for Destination Kohler. In 2010, I moved into operations by becoming the manager of Sports Core Health & Racquet Club and Yoga on the Lake. This eventually led to becoming the manager, and now director, of the Kohler Waters Spa.

What are the most challenging and rewarding parts of working in the spa industry?

Like in all hospitality businesses, the challenging times are the ones dealing with unhappy or unrealistic guests. But on the flip side, the most rewarding times are those days when you see your guests leaving happy and raving about their experiences. The spa world is a very intimate world. We connect with our guests in ways that no other hospitality business can. And it is those connections that are the most rewarding. 

What has surprised you most about the spa world?

I am surprised how so many people only see spas as a place to go for relaxation. Too many people miss out on the true healing benefits the spa can provide to one physically, mentally, and spiritually. 

Where do you think the industry is heading?

I think the spa industry has a very bright future. With the rise in healthcare costs and stress among the workforce worldwide, healthier lifestyles are becoming more important. Spas will play an integral part in assisting people to live a more balanced lifestyle.

What is the most bizarre treatment you’ve experienced?

While not very bizarre, I still consider the ashiatsu massage to be the most bizarre service I have ever experienced. Something about the toes and feet doing the massaging is still amazing to me. 

What new spa treatment would you like to try?

I have never experienced a service with two therapists. The thought of two masseuses working together in perfect harmony sounds pretty good!    

What’s your go-to spa treatment?

My go to spa service is typically a hydrotherapy experience—Rain Man or Lavender Rain are favorites of mine at Kohler Waters Spa. I love wet treatments and the healing effect they can have on the body. They not only relax and de-stress the body, but they also hydrate the skin, detoxify, and remineralize the body.

Tell us two things about yourself we don’t know.

I was once fluent in Chinese. And I have three beautiful children.

If you could work in any other profession in the world, what would it be? 

Golf. I am a very passionate golfer, and if not in the spa industry, I would move into golf.

How would you sum up your personal philosophy? 

Always stay in balance —work, family, self.  It is very important to me to be mindful of keeping this balance. When I get out of balance, I suffer in all areas. When I keep these three in check, I am a stronger, more effective leader. 

What’s the best advice you’ve received?

“Leaders don’t create followers. They create more leaders.” 

Suggested Articles

Teresa Flyger of Hilton Worldwide and Sallie Fraenkel of Mind Body Spirit Network have joined the GSN Planet Board of Directors.

Watch as American Spa gets to experience the device that's setting itself apart in the skincare industry.

Meet Natalie Gilbert, wellness director at Mountain Sky Wellness Center (Emigrant, MT), who started in the industry at age 17.