Archive for Category: ISM News

June 29, 2021 | no comments | ISM News | by: Miranda Calatrello

Goal Getter

Goal Getter: Mid-year Check In

While it’s hard to believe we’re already halfway through 2021, and what a year it has been for the spa and hospitality industry, we can’t lose sight of our aspirations! 


We know sometimes this can be difficult, especially after such an unexpected year with no real understanding of what’s to come the remainder of 2021, but we’re here to help keep you grounded and give you tips that have helped us continue to succeed. 


Now that we’re 6 months into 2021, now is the time to check in on your business standings from Q1 and Q2. Review everything that’s happened these last six months and compare it to your initial 2021 business plans. 


Where do you stand when it comes to goals for the year? What needs to change over the next 6 months to make sure you are still able to hit any of those goals that may be falling a little behind? 


A Few Tips To Help Guide Your Mid-year Review:


1. Look At The Big Picture and Small Details

The micro and the macro details are essential during your mid-year check in, so you’ll need to evaluate both. Look at the big picture, like where you want to see your spa in the next 5 years, while also reviewing the small details of what must be accomplished every day in order to meet that 5 year goal. 


Are you implementing those daily tasks to ensure success? If not, it’s time to pivot your daily routines and get back on track. 


2. Make A More/Less List 

Sometimes our goals made in January no longer match where the business is headed only a few months later. It’s important to know that it’s okay to update your goals halfway through the year. 


Analyze what goals are still attainable and relevant for your business and also decide if there are a few new goals that should be added and might be more of a priority than your original plans. In order to clarify what you really want to focus on, make a list of things you’d like to be doing more of and less of for your business. (Example: Spend more time analyzing your financial statistics.) Embrace that change,  and adjust your 2021 goals accordingly. 


3. Break Lofty Goals into Manageable Chunks

If there was a big goal set to be reached by the end of 2021 that doesn’t seem to be making progress - it might just be too intimidating. Break up that goal into small manageable chunks with accompanying deadlines to gain momentum. 


For example, if you set expectations for your spa’s annual revenue that isn’t pacing to hit the mark just yet, find ways to tweak individual revenue streams and work towards achieving one hurdle goal each month.  An easy way to fill revenue gaps that we’ve found is through evaluating our merchandise sales. By freshening up the retail space every so often and dedicating time towards your visual merchandising strategy, you may just find some additional revenue from an unexpected place.  


Special Bonus: Our founder, Christina Stratton created a quick video when she was visiting The Spa at World Center Marriott to help walk through some best practices and tips for visual merchandising! Check it out: 

We know reviewing business goals can be a rollercoaster ride with plenty of wins, but also a few disheartening moments.  If you’d like additional guidance, or to learn more about ISM and how we can enhance and elevate your business, please contact us!

7 Corporate Culture Tips

June 7, 2021 | no comments | ISM News | by: Miranda Calatrello

Corporate Success

The numbers tell the toll Covid-19 took on the spa industry. New research from ISPA shows hotel and resort spa revenues fell 46% from the end of 2019 to 2020, with overall spa visits declining over 35%.

At the outbreak of the pandemic, the 20 spas we managed experienced closures and layoffs across the board. Along with that came a lot of fear and uncertainly for all of us. It took vulnerability and courage to have difficult, uncomfortable conversations with our team.

Here is ISM’s “secret sauce” for creating a corporate culture that allows us to thrive in the post pandemic world, and tips you can implement for your own business.


ISM Spa is a certified Women’s Business Enterprise—100% of our corporate staff are female. As women, we are purpose-driven, nurturing, and promoters of a healthy work-life balance. Our business today has its roots in the relationship of our founding partners—Christina Stratton and me. Our deep respect for each other carries over to every employee who has joined us and has attracted talent from all over the country wanted to be part of our “vibe.”

In the words of ISM Spa Director Robyn Peacock, who recently joined to open our new spa at the Grand Bohemian Nashville, “I was aware of ISM Spa over the years, and the amazing women that run it and wanted to be part of a woman-owned company. I love Ilana and Christina’s ability to innovate and keep things fresh in the industry. When the opportunity came to work them, I jumped on it.”

Have you considered adding more “women power” to your business?


At ISM, we practice open communication and vulnerability. When we show vulnerability, it allows team members to feel more comfortable being open and honest with their concerns, questions, mistakes, and roadblocks, which ultimately allows for stronger team performance. Not shying away from hard conversations was especially important at the outset of the pandemic, when layoffs were inevitable.

According to Brené Brown, all transformational leaders had this one thing in common: the capacity to be vulnerable. “Vulnerability is the willingness to show up and be seen by others in the face of uncertain outcomes. There’s not a single act of courage that doesn’t involve vulnerability. Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change. You can’t really innovate without risk or uncertainty. If you’ve created a work culture where vulnerability isn’t okay, you’ve also created a culture where innovation and creativity aren’t okay.”

Vulnerability is a powerful way to support a trusting, positive team culture. When hiring, look for candidates who exhibit a willingness to be vulnerable. Your employees should be able to own up to past mistakes, take risks, and embrace hard conversations.


We are blessed to work with so many wonderful employees, developers and owners who trust us with their lives and businesses. We have earned that trust by being open and honest. Open communication is the foundation of building trust, and created “psychological safety” which is crucial to a team’s success, according to Amy Edmondson, professor of leadership and management at the Harvard Business School. Psychological safety describes “a workplace where one feels that one’s voice is welcome with bad news, questions, concerns, half-baked ideas and even mistakes.”

Seek out candidates and coworkers who exemplify trustworthiness. Look for reliability—people who do what you say you’ll do, and accountability—not over-promising at work, being clear about limitations, delivering on commitments, and owning up to mistakes.


Communicating our core values is a critical component of our business success. They are what we call on when we get knocked down, and they’re what gives us the strength to try again.

ISM Spas Values
  • LOVE: Passionate about Wellness
  • TRUST: Driven by integrity
  • RESPECT: Dedicated to people
  • DISCIPLINE: Committed to continuous improvement

Your values define your company at the deepest levels. Beyond stating your values, break them down into specific behaviors that are observable and measurable.


2021 Global Talent Trends study by Mercer, flexibility in the workplace is even more important than ever post pandemic. “Companies that fail to embrace flexibility will lose their appeal among talent. Given the experience of remote working and the need to adjust capacity swiftly, it’s no surprise that 2021 transformation plans are concentrated on reinventing flexibility in all its guises.

Long before anyone got wind of COVID-19, ISM’s culture was built on a flexible work environment. The ultimate example of flexibility and trust is our unlimited paid time off . Our salaried staff are free to take as much time off as they choose, as long as they get the job done. Following the example of Netflix, which lets its salaried employees take as much time off as they want—and nobody, including managers or employees, tracks it. "We should focus on what people get done, not how many hours or days worked,” the company touts in a slideshow called “Freedom & Responsibility Culture.”

How can you make your workplace more flexible? A good start is to focus on producing results, rather than just putting in the hours. Implementing a flexible vacation policy will help build an ownership mentality. It shows your employees your trust and respect them, which strengthens their commitment to the company.


Work at ISM is fast-paced and stressful, with a high expectation of productivity. To help our staff stay centers amid chaos, we regularly embark mindfulness training. We’ve used courses with PQ and Franklin Covey etc, a six-week mindfulness course by wellbeing experts Franklin Covey, with a full curriculum and lessons hosted by a facilitator. It was immensely helpful for all of us. The goal of any mindfulness technique is to achieve a state of alert, focused relaxation by deliberately paying attention to thoughts and sensations without judgment. This allows the mind to refocus on the present moment.

Adhering to Doctor Miguel Ruiz’ Four Agreements is also part of our culture building. Based on Toltec wisdom, the Four Agreements allow us to respect each other, be clear about our words and attention, and avoid blame and “ego-play.”

These are just a few of the resources available to increase mindfulness in your business. A great place to start is to get your staff involved. Perhaps a mindfulness task force?


Technology is not the first thing you would think of to create a nurturing corporate culture, but our switch to our new platform Spa Space has been a tremendous boost for morale. We built Spa Space to celebrate and feature wellness providers based on their specialties and certifications by matching them directly with guests whose needs and preferences would benefit from their service. This allowed us to provide highly specialized services by experts which would have never made a standard static treatment menu.

Therapists also have incredible flexibility in their schedule and are earning more since pre pandemic. Therapists have also been invited to be part of the focus groups and their input has helped determine the features found on spa space that make their life easier, like real time compensation.

At its best, technology frees up people to do what they do best. Think about ways you can use your software to be more creative, productive, and efficient.


We are proud that our company culture celebrates service, welcomes innovation, rewards smart solutions, and fosters wellness. On the flip side, our structure is lean, and expectations of productivity high. It’s fair to say that not every person makes it in this environment. Especially post Covid with reopening our entire portfolio at the same time as adding new properties and adopting a new technology platform requires both endurance and flexibility.

ISM is not the biggest management company, but are corporate culture stands the test of time. Because we’ve built a culture that embraces high performance and high trust, we’ve been able to retain our clients through the 2008-9 recession and the pandemic, while forging a path that allows each team member to be the best version of themself.

Spring Clean Routine

June 3, 2021 | no comments | ISM News | by: Miranda Calatrello


As Spa Managers it’s not unusual to get bogged down in the nitty-gritty details of running a luxury spa, which is why it's important we take a step back and reassess all of our responsibilities on a consistent basis - or “spring clean our spa management routine.”

Here are a few ways you can get your personal schedule, your therapists, and your spa reorganized and ready for the impending influx of travelers this summer. 


Inventory Handling

Train a team member on how to properly receive inventory upon its arrival.  

When first employed, if you teach your associates what to do with newly ordered products as they’re delivered, your team members will be able to handle your spa’s inventory acceptance process without supervision. 

This simple step will take the responsibility of inventory handling off of your plate, and also ensures your team won’t have to wait for you, or another manager, to give direction.


Retail Merchandising

Make your team responsible for freshening up the retail space every so often. 

We all know changing product placements and rearranging a few key items can completely transform the retail area for our guests. Train your associates on how to strategically place products that will be visually appealing and sell better. 

Next month ISM Spa will be releasing a best practices video to help you develop your visual merchandising strategy, which will be great supplementary material for your training!


Revitalizing The Spa Space

Encourage team members to deep clean all the service spaces.

At least once a quarter, require every spa associate to go through all cabinets and drawers to update your spa products, reorganize the space and deep clean any fans or special equipment in each service room, and spruce up the break room.  

Having an immaculate property is imperative for the health and wellness of spa guests, but reports also show it improves mood - 66% of Americans say a dirty home makes them feel stressed or anxious. As the saying goes, “tidy house, tidy mind.” 


Technology Clean Up

Schedule time to declutter your digital workspace. 

A task that doesn’t have to be delegated to a team member, but can make a huge difference in productivity is scheduling a specific date to clean out all of your email inboxes, desktop files, and computer folders. 

By refreshing all of your digital workspaces, you’ll cut down on time spent looking for necessary content or files, make sure important information hasn’t fallen through the cracks, and give you peace of mind when deciphering what’s on your current to-do list. 

As we get closer to a new season and the beginning of a new quarter, there is no better time than the present to do a little routine spring cleaning.

While we know it can be hard to delegate, it’s necessary to make sure you aren’t spreading yourself too thin. Also, it’s important to note that giving employees more responsibility often encourages a deeper sense of empowerment and motivation in the workplace, a win-win for everyone! 

Grand Hyatt Nashville

May 5, 2021 | no comments | ISM News | by: Miranda Calatrello

USA TODAY’s Best New Hotel in America

We are thrilled that our partner Grand Hyatt Nashville was named the best new hotel in America by USA TODAY readers. Opened October 2020 in the heart of the expansive 18-acre Nashville Yards development, the property is home to ISM’s world-class spa R+R Wellness. It’s an honor to be chosen as the spa and wellness solution for such an exciting and vibrant project!

Grand Hyatt Nashville is the first pillar of the 18-acre Nashville Yards development. The new property offers a sophisticated retreat in the heart of Music City, with a prime locale in the trendy Gulch neighborhood and vibrant downtown - surrounded by shopping, restaurants, bars, and entertainment.

R+R Wellness, which stands for Recharge and Replenish, celebrates the charm, authenticity, and vibrant culture of Music City while bringing a full-service luxury spa experience to Nashville. Seasoned spa director Robyn Peacock is at R + R’s helm. Working her way up to corporate spa operations from her start as a shampoo assistant, she is a licensed cosmetologist and licensed massage therapist who understands every facet of spa operations.

We caught up with Robyn to talk about R+R and the Grand Hyatt Nashville scene.

ISM: Tell us how you got your start with ISM

Robyn: I have always admired the way ISM pivots with innovation and keeping things fresh in the industry, so I jumped at the opportunity to become a part of their team and  open Grand Hyatt Nashville. In two weeks, I moved my entire family to Nashville from the Poconos.

The Grand Hyatt Nashville opened October 1, 2020. It is a 591-room convention hotel situated right on the Nashville Yards. The wood and steel theme in R+R’s decor honors the Nashville Yards railways. We are on lifestyle level of the hotel with Solace restaurant and bar (opening at the end of the month) and the pool and fitness center.

ISM: What makes R+R Wellness Special?

Robyn: Our customized journeys and treatments are unique. Each R+R Wellness begins with an aromatherapy journey that explores the elements of Earth, Fire, Water, Wood and Metal, helping guests find their unique balance. Guests will choose from a menu of services. Wellness journeys include traditional amenities like steam sauna and relaxation areas, along with an aromatherapy blending bar and experience lounge where guests can get lost in the healing frequency of custom Wholetones™ rhythms on a self guided meditation.

The Wellness Journey is great for people that are not quite ready for close contact. We also have a VIP room with  floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the Nashville Yards, which will eventually be a green space.

ISM: You just launched Spa Space App—How Does that work?

Robyn: Spa Space is really going to be a game-changer.It allows our support staff to be experience makers instead of being tethered to a phone. They can take care of the guests that are here.

Our fully customizable menu takes the guesswork out of booking by allowing guest to hand-pick their therapist based on their background and skills. So guests don’t book a Swedish massage or deep tissue, the type of treatment and the choice of therapist is in guests’ hands.

 ISM: Thank you, Robyn!
Ditching the Static Spa Menu

April 21, 2021 | no comments | ISM News | by: Miranda Calatrello

Why ISM Ditched the Static Spa Menu

The days of the “one size fits all” spa model are gone. ISM spas have eliminated the traditional spa menu and replaced it with customized massages and facials that meet guests’ personalized wellness needs. Our client Kessler Hotels is embracing the new customized spa model: “ISM’s willingness to embrace technology and create a personalized approach to booking spa clients and guests appeals to the luxury-scale client we attract and encourages and gives confidence that the world can again travel and enjoy the experience of a spa without the risk,” says Lori Kiel, Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer of The Kessler Collection.

Using next generation technology allowed us to develop a business model driven by entrepreneurial thinking vs. a static business model unable to flex with the changing demands of the time. ISM’s new technology partner Spa Space, a new patent-pending technology in beta testing across the Southeastern U.S., allows us to attract the highest quality therapists and drive personalized guest experiences while reducing costs up to 60%. High-tech enabled high touch.

As in other industries, higher levels of customization, on-demand services, and the unforgiving power of public opinion will drive the future of spas. When used smartly, technology frees up your spa workforce to focus more on optimizing the spa experience. This leads to higher levels of guest satisfaction and a healthier performance metrics. 

In the future, leading technology companies will partner with the Spa Director to ease time consuming administrative tasks and empower the Spa Director to rebuild their business by attracting the highest quality therapists and driving personalized guest experiences. Spa Space allows ISM the flexibility to meet the increasingly customized demands of the guests. But the power behind the platform is that it optimizes the experience for our spas, therapists, and guests.

Getting rid of the static spa menu has also benefitted our employee experience, leading to improvements in recruitment and retention in a tight labor market. According to CBRE, “While the culture shift towards health-consciousness and environmentalism provides hotels spas opportunities to capture more revenue through creative initiatives, rising labor costs are shrinking profits.”

ISM’s Vice President of Operations Raye Vogler oversees many of the managed spas in our portfolio is witnessing firsthand the benefits of a customized approach. “Our business model has allowed us to focus on the guest journey. Our spa guests are happier, as well as the treatment providers. Our therapists have embraced it with open arms and feel very successful.”

Spa Space gives therapists full control over their schedule—leading to a sense of ownership and empowerment. The gig economy “work where you want, when you want” is a different mentality from strict protocols. Therapists nurture their individual talents and areas of expertise, leading to overall job satisfaction, and, therefore, increased retention. 

In the future, the skills and expertise of the spa workforce need to change. Skill sets for spa management will include flexible human resource management, data analytics, advanced communication skills, and comfort with technology. Therapistsskills will become more specialized as guests become increasingly attuned to what they need to keep their bodies and minds healthy.

“The key to ISM’s long-standing partnership with Kessler is trust and flexibility. We both recognize the hospitality industry has undergone tremendous change and we need to adapt. So we ripped up all the protocols and made it easier for our therapists and our guests to truly connect,” said Vogler. “Instead of the guest picking a deep tissue massage off just a static menu, our staff is present to deliver what the guest really needs in that moment—to be the expert in that room. Maybe what that guest really needs is a combination of deep tissue, reflexology and Reiki all-in-one massage. That's where the important communication happens with the guest. The therapist can use any modality in their toolkit. Spa Space ensures the guest receives exactly what they're looking for.”

Humanity & Hospitality

April 20, 2021 | no comments | ISM News | by: Miranda Calatrello

Spa Manager and Guests
Spa Manager and Guests

Keeping the Humanity in Hospitality

Honing in on Hospitality Industry Stress


It’s no secret professionals in the hospitality industry have always worked long hours, weekends, and holidays - making it difficult to find time to unwind and recharge.  Our work also requires a great deal of face-to-face guest  service, meaning we have to be “on” at all times, which can be difficult if we’re feeling run down or overwhelmed.  

Add pandemic-related nuances such as talent recruitment, keeping up with travel restrictions and  economic recovery,  and it’s a recipe for another not-so-secret industry issue:  Stress.

Studies show that hospitality employees feel stress on 40-62% of work days, which is higher than the average employee across industries, who report feeling stress on 25-44% of days.

As leaders in the industry, we’re responsible for protecting our own mental fortitude, but we’re  also held accountable for the wellbeing of our colleagues  and team members as well. We’re expected to support our employees through intense work periods so they don’t get burned out, but that can be a challenge if we’re already at our own limit. 

Before you can help your team members manage their stress, you need to manage your own. A great place to start is making time for the basics:  get the recommended 8 hours of sleep each night, exercise regularly, and eat  healthy, energizing meals every day. 

Being stressed or burned out can feel like a failure to leaders, but it happens to everyone.  Show compassion to yourself and your team through stressful periods and acknowledge the reality. Encourage your team to take regular breaks to rejuvenate, support them with words of encouragement, and advocate for your employees when it comes to upper management. 

We need to remember to bring back and keep  humanity in the workplace. 

In an effort to avoid burnout, and in honor of National Stress Awareness Month, we’ve compiled a list of tools and resources to help you alleviate stress and refocus your energy. This Stress Resources Guide is a great asset to keep on hand personally, but also to share with your staff and partners. 

Typography is the art and technique of arranging type to make written language legible, readable and appealing when displayed. The arrangement of type involves selecting typefaces, point size, line length, line-spacing (leading), letter-spacing (tracking), and adjusting the space within letters pairs (kerning).

This National Stress Awareness Month, be aware, purposeful  and intentional at work, at home and at play.  

Remember, we’re all in this together.  #LeadWell

JW Marriott Savannah

March 31, 2021 | no comments | ISM News | by: Miranda Calatrello

Plant Riverside District

This new multi-purpose development on the Savannah river, features hotels, restaurants, bars, retail, arts, entertainment, and the gorgeous Poseidon Spa run by ISM Spa. 

Savannah is known as the “Hostess City of South” for its world class hospitality. It’s a special place to us, especially since it is home to our Vice President of Operation Raye Vogler. Raye oversees the daily operations and spa management of several ISM properties—including our two Poseidon Spas in Savannah, the new location in the Plant Riverside Building, and the popular park side location in Mansion on Forsyth Park.

Raye worked closely with owners and developers, The Kessler Collection, a visionary hospitality brand and the founding members of Marriott’s Autograph Collection. We are proud to be their “go-to” for spa consulting and spa management. 

We caught up with Raye to get the inside scoop on this amazing new destination. 

JW Marriott
Hi Raye! Tell our readers about the Plant Riverside District:

Plant Riverside District is the vision of Richard Kessler, Chairman and CEO of The Kessler Enterprise. The protected site was a former power plant that debuted in 1912 and was decommissioned in 2005. Mr. Kessler saw the vision for what it could be and decided to rehab it using some of the original exterior and interior walls including original iron beams.

The project encompasses three different hotel experiences, all under the umbrella of the JW Marriott.

The main hub is the Plant Riverside Building with 13 restaurants and bars, outdoor pavilions, an art gallery, upscale retail shopping, and incredible meeting space including a grand ballroom. The hotel lobby reflects Mr. Kessler’s love of global travel and eclectic taste around different fabrics, furniture and art. It’s a statement piece for The Kessler Collection and for JW Marriott.

The second Hotel building, The Three Muses, has a more European style. Romantic, soft curved lines in the furniture, stunning light fixtures, and a lavender gray color scheme. The check-in desk is made of rose quartz and mercury glass—very feminine and sexy. The Atlantic is the third building, scheduled to open by early fourth quarter 2021. It will eventually house the resort pool along with another ballroom.

When The Atlantic is completed, there will be 419 guest rooms and 46 loft-like suites with floor-to-ceiling glass windows overlooking the river. The sense of place is palpable. Guests can watch the large container ships as they pass through the channel with the Talmadge Bridge in the background.

You mentioned that the Plant Riverside Building is like “an Ode to the Museum of Natural Science.” What do you mean?

For starters, the property is rich with gemstones. The lobby has spectacular nine-foot rare amethyst and citrine geodes—photo-opp worthy when you're walking through the lobby. There are chandeliers dripping with amethyst gemstones. The Baobab Lounge off the lobby, celebrating African heritage, has a bar entirely made of tiger eye. There's also a life-size dinosaur replica suspended from the ceiling in the lobby, along with mammoth tusks and other relics.

Tell us about the Poseidon Spa

The Poseidon Spa is on the lower lever of the Plant Riverside Building. ISM Spa began designing Poseidon Spa over six years ago.  We provided the design of the space capturing the conceptual vision focusing on the guest experience while optimizing function and flow from an operations standpoint. ISM worked alongside Diana Kessler, Creative Director of the Kessler Collection, who provided the interiors and color palette of the spa. 

The gemstone theme carries over to Poseidon Spa. Amethyst geodes are in each treatment room, and large sea creature art commissioned by Tucson-based artist Zee Haag lines the walls of the spas. Jellyfish, sea horses, turtles and fish images are cut into a treated metal sheet and the image left behind is filled in with hand-placed semi-precious gemstones including black obsidian, carnelian, chalcedony, quartz, amethyst and blue lapis. These beautiful pieces of art are backlit with light for a gorgeous glow. It’s a unique art form, and we hear from guests all the time it’s their favorite artwork in the hotel.

Opening in July 2020 in the middle of the pandemic was obviously daunting. Operating in a covid world requires extra sanitation measures, and for ISM, a total rethink of spa operations, and how we deliver the spa experience. After a little of a slow start, as people were just waking up to the possibilities of travel, it really has bounced back well to 80-90% of our pre-pandemic forecast.

Our move to a partnership with Spa Space App has allowed us to operate with contactless booking and check in, check out, while getting rid of static spa menus and focusing on customizing our treatments directly to guests’ needs. It has been a win-win-win for hotel and spa management, spa therapists and spa guests.

Thank you Raye we can’t wait to visit!

Top Spa Technology Trends

March 25, 2021 | no comments | ISM News | by: Miranda Calatrello

Woman with Laptop

It is time for revolutionary technologies to pave the way to profitability in the spa industry. We are always on the lookout for innovative solutions for all members of the spa value chain–our facility partners, provider partners, and guests. Especially in these challenging times. In 2020, we leveraged technology like never before to adapt and innovate. Contactless booking allowed us to welcome guests and therapists back quickly once state-mandates allowed us to re-open safely.

Our 2021 Top 10 Spa Technology report is the culmination of our research and the predictions from our team members on what we can expect in the future. Here is a quick summary of each trend. View Full Report Here.

Trend #1: Software-as-a-service (SaaS):

ISM’s new SaaS partner Spa Space delivers cost savings and revenue optimization while increasing customer satisfaction.

Trend #2: Contactless Booking:

Online and mobile booking allows guests control over their experience from start to finish, besides the obvious safety of a touchless experience amid the pandemic.

Trend #3: Dynamic Yield Management:

Spa Space’s patent-pending algorithm matches not only demand and supply but detailed guest preferences, therapist skills, and preferred location.

Trend #4: Smart Technology as a Recruiting and Retention Tool:

Moving to the Spa Space platform increased ISM provider partner satisfaction as they have full control over their schedules—leading to a sense of ownership and empowerment.

Trend #5: CRM for Precision Marketing:

The more guests and prospects are segmented based on their similarities, (demographics, psychographics, behavior) the more effective your messaging.

Trend #6: Death of the Static Spa Menu:

With Spa Space App, ISM spas eliminated the traditional spa menu and replaced it with customized treatments that meet guests’ individual wellness needs.

Trend #7: High-Tech Touchless Treatments:

For spa guests who prefer a contactless experience, luxury spas are responding with high-tech touchless treatments, scientifically validated to address common wellness concerns like sleep, stress, pain, and immunity.

Trend #8: Investment in Well-Tech:

Wellness technologies have exploded as people become increasingly attuned, keeping their bodies and minds healthy. Start-ups in this space raised a record-breaking $1.37 billion in the first three quarters of 2020.

Trend #9: Culture of Care:

By harnessing technology, team members are empowered to be experience makers and leaders rather than administrative workers. A culture of care makes for happy employees and therefore happy guests.

Trend #10: Technology will Disrupt the Status Quo:

“Smart” technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data analysis will continue to disrupt traditional ways of delivering spa services. Spa operators will need to change or risk becoming obsolete.

Women In Wellness

March 22, 2021 | no comments | ISM News | by: Christina Stratton

We are so proud to be a women-owned business in an industry that is full of so many incredible women entrepreneurs and leaders.

As a women-owned business, we pride ourselves in supporting other women leaders and want to continue being a champion for those making strides, especially in the global wellness industry. 

In honor of National Women’s History Month, we take the opportunity to highlight a few women entrepreneurs and trailblazers across the wellness industry. And while we could write an entire book on the women game-changers we’ve seen throughout the years, here are just a few we can’t help but brag about:

Ilana Alberico and Christina Stratton, ISM SPA, Privai, Spa Space Technology

We would be remiss if we didn’t lead off with ISM’s fearless founders, Ilana and Christina. Aside from being genuine, kind humans and successful women, Ilana and Christina are pioneers in the spa industry - always one step ahead when it comes to innovation and vision.  Incorporating new offerings such as Privai skincare and integrating technologies such as Spa Space application are hallmarks of their renowned success.

In 2006, in response to ongoing problems with spa management, Ilana and Christina developed a creative solution and accompanying business model to serve an unmet need - earning them the true title of “trailblazers.”  Now, ISM Spa’s service execution is absolutely unmatched in the industry.

In an industry that’s easy to get lost in the notion of maximizing revenue, Ilana and Christina instead put their faith in the impact ISM makes on their spa guests as well as their client partners. They’ve built a company culture focused on creating a completely holistic environment that enhances the wellness experience - putting spa guests first in every decision made. 

We’re very fortunate to have two amazing women founders to inspire us (and all the men and women around us) to make real, positive changes in the health & wellness industry. 

Lauren Ash, Black Girl in Om

In 2014, Lauren Ash noticed she was consistently one of the very few women of color at yoga studios and in yoga instructor workshops. She soon realized there needed to be a safe space in the wellness industry for women of color and launched Black Girl in Om, which has become an influential online presence.

Black Girl in Om exists to hold and catalyze healing within black women around the world on their unique journeys towards wholeness. The brand offers inclusion to an online community that’s devoted to connecting the dots between healing and wholeness, a podcast series, an event series, and a plethora of guides and classes, like Heart to Heart & Meditation and 28 Days to Alignment. 

Lauren was able to see a gap in the health & wellness industry, and fill that need - rather successfully if you ask us. 

Afton Vechery & Carly Leahy, Modern Fertility

The desire to make fertility testing more accessible drove Afton & Carly to launch Modern Fertility, a reproductive health company, in 2017.  

Modern Fertility offers a fertility test that can help women who are trying to get pregnant - or may want to in the future - find out more about their fertility and plan ahead. The company gives in-depth reports based on your hormones, an app where you can get personalized predictions for your cycle and fertile window, and a free virtual community. 

Offering an at-home hormone test, the same one given in fertility clinics, but for a fraction of the price has resonated with women across the country - and the numbers are proof. Since its launch in 2017, it has raised over $22 million.

Afton & Carly are on a mission to integrate the fertility sector more broadly into women’s culture and mainstream wellness, and we’re excited to see what mountains they’ll move next. 

Deborah Szekely, Rancho La Puerta

If you’re no stranger to the spa industry, you have likely heard of Deborah Szekely, also named, the “Godmother of Wellness” by the Huffington Post. 

More than 80 years ago, back in 1940, she and her husband founded one of the world’s first destination spas, Rancho La Puerta! Guests at their summer health camp in Baja, California say they returned because of Deborah and her welcoming hospitality and passion for wellness. 

Now, at 99 years old, she is known as the founder of the modern health and fitness movement, has served on health and fitness councils under 4 presidents, and is still involved in her community today. 

A few other women in wellness honorable mentions:

Please join us in our efforts to advocate for women in wellness, not just this month but each and every day. Support their work, their career journeys, and their industry contributions. 

We love to give women in wellness the recognition they rightfully deserve, so please send us a message with the names of other women we should spotlight!

Caring For Our Partners

February 16, 2021 | no comments | ISM News | by: Christina Stratton

One of ISM Spa's core values is love.  Passionate about wellness, we genuinely love what we do.  We outwardly express this core value through commitment and care for our hotel partners, our team members, and our guests.

Oh, the season of love! Happy February to all of our partners and clients! 

Beyond the joy of filling Spas with happy guests celebrating Valentine's occasions, February’s arrival as the “month of love” is a welcome reminder to refocus on a driving force in hospitality: passion.  

Love is a major part of who we are and we bet it’s the same for you. If you’re new here, we’re all about appreciating and loving yourself, your neighbors, and this Earth. In fact, love is ISM’s first company core value. Our love of wellness and influencing those around us to find their truest, best selves is something we are very passionate about.

We are so fortunate to work in such an incredible industry with the power to positively influence someone’s draining day, tough week, and even change their life. A simple pedicure could be the small respite a new mom needs to recharge and feel like herself again. A couple's massage could be a first step toward saving a relationship that is going through a rough patch. Our industry’s ability to influence and encourage love is truly powerful and rewarding.

Here at ISM, we serve amazing partners whose passion to continuously improve mirrors our own. The optimism and celebration from working together through every stage of a successful partnership fuel our operation. From envisioning a new wellness concept in an untapped market to rebranding an existing spa asset to meet the guest demands of the future,  the feelings of accomplishment and respect when we work together are rewarding. We’re grateful for our partners’ open hearts and minds.

This time of year, we hope you are able to witness all of the love that is around you. Whether it is through your guests as they treat themselves to a special spa experience, your own partner as love floats through the air this time of year, or all of the special people in your life - we are so thankful that you are in ours! 

Happy season of love from ISM Spa to you!