Meet Joe Luongo, Chief Operating Officer, Massage Envy Spas.
How many years have you been involved in the spa and hospitality industry?
I had to do the math on this one and realized it’s way more than I thought! I started out in restaurants at the Bronx Zoo at the age of 16, and outside of a six-year career with the United States Air Force, I have been in the hospitality and service industry pretty much ever since.
What are the most challenging and rewarding parts of being in the industry?
The most rewarding parts, especially in the spa space, is knowing that you make such a difference in people’s lives. As the chief operating officer of a company with more than 920 locations, I get to meet so many incredible people, including franchisees who are incredibly passionate about making a difference. The most challenging part is keeping up with the growth. We are such a successful brand, opening more than 100 new locations a year, that setting the stage for supporting that continued growth is one of my main focuses.
What about your new position excites you most?
I am most excited about how much upside we have. Having more than 920 locations in 10 years is amazing. Knowing that we have a substantial opportunity both in the U.S. and internationally really gets me going.
Where do you think the industry is heading?
As I continue to ramp up my knowledge of the industry, I asked our resident industry guru, CG Funk, this same question. She told me, “I see spa services that offer more precise therapeutic benefits for various conditions, diseases, and disorders. We see this already with the interest in oncology massage and facial modalities, sports and rehabilitation, and geriatric services for the aging population.” She also sees a future interest in developing services that don’t require a set of hands and an individual to provide. “If consumer demand continues to grow, spa businesses will experience a shortage of educated professionals to meet that demand. Spas will be challenged with staffing, particularly back-of-the-house employees, and will look at more automated or alternative ways to provide therapeutic services.”
What's your go-to spa treatment?
Hot Stone Envy (price varies). It’s an incredible deep-tissue experience that really loosens me up after a tough workout.
What positions have you worked in that you feel have been most influential?
My deep operations experience, both domestic and abroad, has really helped me develop leadership skills that allow me to communicate with so many different types of personalities, leveraging their differences so we can focus on continuous improvement.
If you could work in any other profession in the world, what would you be?
Professional baseball player!
How would you sum up your personal philosophy?
Treat others like you want to be treated, learn something every day, and make sure your family knows you love them.
What's the best advice you've received?
Business-wise, it’s from Mom: You have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Use them both proportionally.—Compiled by Jessica Morrobel