Success Stories: Skana Spa at Turning Stone Resort Casino

Skana Spa at Turning Stone Resort Casino (Verona, NY) got its name from the word “peace” in the Oneida language, and it’s no wonder, given the sense of relaxation and calmness experienced upon entering. The spa, which opened in December of 2006, features 12 treatment rooms, a centrally located co-ed mineral pool, and locker rooms with sauna, steam, hot tub, and relaxation areas. Guests can also enjoy healthy, delicious meals at Skana’s cafe or spend time in a tranquil garden relaxation room. Here, Shane Bird, Skana’s director of spa, reveals why the spa has continued to succeed throughout the years and its plans for the future. 

To what do you attribute the spa’s success?

Our success comes down to our exceptional staff and their dedication to one-of-a-kind guest experiences. Everyone is focused on helping guests relax and refresh while ensuring their visit exceeds all expectations. It’s not just about the unique treatments or the spa’s beautiful atmosphere—from the moment a guest enters Skana, they can count on a level of service that simply isn’t found elsewhere. 

What makes the spa stand out from the competition? 

The influence of Oneida Indian Nation culture is one of the things that makes Skana so special. The Oneida people have always believed in the importance of a warm welcome for all who enter their homelands, and that tradition is clearly seen inside Skana. Guests can also benefit from a number of herbs and plants drawn from traditional Oneida healing practices, including sage, white pine, sunflower, strawberries, and more.

What have been the biggest challenges in growing the spa? 

Like so many businesses, we continue to experience the impact of a nationwide labor shortage. This is especially difficult, as Skana’s award-winning experience and growing national reputation bring guests not just from Upstate New York, but throughout the state and across the country with appointments booked weeks in advance. We’re fortunate to have such a dedicated team to support growing numbers of guests while maintaining the unparalleled experience Skana is known for. 

What prompted any recent renovations and what did it involve?

This same high level of demand has also prompted our most recent renovations. These include an expanded women’s locker area with additional lockers, showers, and other amenities, and a new relaxation lounge. The updates allow us to welcome more guests to Skana and ensure they enjoy the most comfortable visit possible. 

Skana Mineral Pool
The spa features a co-ed mineral pool for guests to relax in pre- and post-treatments. (Skana Spa at Turning Stone Resort Casino)

How do you attract new and repeat clients and encourage them to visit? 

Word of mouth is our best marketing tactic and always has been. We’ve found that the best way to attract new clients is to ensure every visitor has an unforgettable experience. Our guests are excited to return, and we often hear from new clients that a friend or relative told them about Skana. We also keep those connections strong by reaching out to every guest after their visit. Our team always follows up promptly on these communications, and we take all feedback very seriously. 

How do you keep your staff selling?

It’s all about giving every guest a special experience. The Skana team knows that making the most of every visit, whether that’s educating guests about treatments, helping them take advantage of our facilities, or going above and beyond for a special occasion, is the best way to encourage loyal fans. Clients are eager to visit us again and excited to tell their friends and family about how much they enjoy Skana. 

How do you keep the treatment menu fresh and relevant? 

The treatment menu at Skana is all about staying true to our unique brand and honoring Oneida culture. While we offer a core selection of treatments, guests can also take advantage of seasonal offerings that incorporate in-season herbs and plants, so there’s always something new to enjoy. 

How do you keep your staff motivated? 

We work hard to make sure every employee, no matter their role, knows they are valued for their contributions. It’s important to me that lines of communication are always open, whether that’s making sure team members know they’re doing a great job or being available as soon as possible to answer questions or address concerns. Keeping everyone engaged and motivated to deliver their best is much easier when communication is prioritized. 

Garden waiting area overview
The garden waiting area is the perfect place for guests to relax and prepare for their treatments. (Skana Spa at Turning Stone Resort Casino)

How do you use digital marketing and social media to boost business?

Digital marketing and social media are part of our strategy—these channels are great for sharing photos of our beautiful facilities, for example. The care we give guests when they visit and the communication we maintain with them afterward is really our strongest marketing effort. In fact, we sometimes see guests making their own social media shout-outs, and these moments, along with word-of-mouth endorsements, are the best testimonials for Skana. 

What are your plans for the future? 

Sustainability is extremely important at Skana, and we’re always looking for ways to be more “green.” The Oneida Indian Nation believes that everything undertaken should be done for the benefit of the seventh generation—that every decision made today should have a lasting positive impact. Prioritizing sustainability is a great way to honor this tradition and appeal to our eco-minded visitors. We also believe that it’s often the little things that count the most with our guests. Whether it’s a moment of exceptional service or a suggestion that improves their day of relaxation, we’re focused on identifying the small touches that matter most.