Archive for Category: ISM News
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!

Establishing Wellness Habits

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

Establish Wellness Habits for Yourself and Your Employees This New Year

As a manager, it is your duty to lead by example, focusing on your own mind, body, and soul, to inspire your employees.

As a manager of a busy spa, the days, weeks and months can be extremely stressful. It is near impossible to expect your employees to come to work with a positive attitude when you yourself feel worn-down emotionally, physically, and mentally. Lead your team by example and focus on creating healthy habits that fit your lifestyle, 9 out of 10 times, it will encourage others to do the same. 

Over the next few days, we encourage you to spend time focusing on where your mind, body, and soul may be craving some balance – it could be as simple as a small tweak to your schedule or a large investment of time and energy into something that truly brings you happiness. You may even find that you have established healthy habits in one area, but are lacking in others. In order to improve your own health and wellness, we suggest participating in things that will engage your body, nourish your mind, and replenish your soul every single day.  

We know investing in yourself can feel like a daunting task, especially if it’s something you aren’t accustomed to doing, which is exactly why we wanted to share a few of our favorite ways to help improve overall wellness through the three main pillars: mind, body, soul.

1. Nourish Your Mind

Sometimes we forget that mental health is just as important as physical health. When you take care of your mental health, you’ll feel less anxious or run-down and more positive during the day. 

An easy way to nourish your mind is to spend some time recognizing gratitude. Simply thinking of three things you are thankful for as you shower or drive to work every day will improve your overall mood and start your day on a positive note. During the day, take advantage of free time by spending a minute flexing your brain muscles, which could be in the form of learning something new, reading a book, or even doing a crossword puzzle. When finishing your day, try meditating before bed to relax and clear your mind for a restful sleep. 

Once you feel that you have a handle on nourishing your own mind, spend some time brainstorming how you can influence your employees to do the same. Create a gratitude wall for your employees to share a recent achievement or life event that has happened to them recently. Encourage other employees to add words of encouragement via sticky notes to bring the team together. Create brain-boosting office traditions such as sharing book recommendations once every year, or even quarterly.

2. Engage Your Body

One of the biggest inhibitors to establishing a successful exercise routine is the lack of time, which is especially true for busy managers who feel like their work never ends. Thankfully, there are so many simple ways to introduce exercise into your daily tasks to give yourself a quick break!

When you would otherwise be standing around – while your tea is steeping or lunch is cooking – practice a few sun salutations to stretch your body and relax your mind. If you usually take the closest parking spot at the grocery store, try parking near the back of the lot and enjoying a brisk walk in the fresh air. Simple tweaks to your daily routine, that provide your body with even just a minute of wellness, is much better than none at all.

Maybe you’re looking for that nudge to help you on your way to a healthier life (if you are, here’s your nudge!). If you have an exercise machine at home gathering dust, or – let’s be honest – a pile of laundry, consider multitasking in order to find the time to use it more. Unwind with your favorite guilty pleasure reality TV show while you pedal on a spin bike or check your emails while you walk on the treadmill. 

Another tip: make sure to turn exercise into something you look forward to and are held accountable for via a class. Hate running but love to dance? You’ll have more fun than you think at an upbeat Zumba class after work. Do you miss engaging your muscles the way you did as a star athlete in high school or college? Check out an early morning boot camp at a local gym.

Once you’ve established your favorite way to engage your body, get your employees on board too! Invite them to your favorite exercise class, create a fitness challenge for the month and compete against nearby businesses, or head out for a walk during your next team meeting!

3. Replenish Your Soul

Sincere focus on the body and mind is the key to reaching a healthy work-life balance, but in order to fully achieve “wellness,” you must focus on your soul’s health too. 

Brighten your mood by doing things you enjoy – things that really make you feel good! This could be having a morning cup of coffee or wearing clothes that make you ooze confidence. On the weekends or evenings, spend time unplugging from work and put energy towards something that you’re good at or that makes you happy, like painting or hiking. One of the best ways to replenish your soul while also helping those around you is to do something nice – buy a stranger their coffee once in a while or bake some cookies for an elderly neighbor! 

This is the most fun aspect of wellness to share with your employees. Once a month, schedule an outing after work or on the weekend to do something truly fun with your employees and their families. Throughout the year, volunteer to give back to the community by manning the local soup kitchen, sorting donations, or building a house! Periodically ask for recommendations and follow through with engaging activities. Remember – these don’t have to be expensive! 

There are so many ways to introduce health and wellness into your life that will also influence your employees to follow suit. Think about new traditions you can start at your spa that will continue for years to come.

Do you and your employees spend time focusing on wellness together? Send us a message to be featured and inspire others to do the same!

Top 10 Spa Technology Trends

January 14, 2021 | no comments | ISM News | by: Christina Stratton

ISM’s Top 10 Spa Technology Trends for 2021

Welcome to ISM’s Top 10 Spa Technology Trends for 2021! Why the focus on technology and not more general trends, you ask? Because the time is now for revolutionary technology to lead the way in the spa industry. We are always on the lookout for innovative solutions for all members of the spa value chain – our facility partners, team members, and guests—especially in these challenging times. At the outbreak of the pandemic, all 20 spas we manage experienced layoffs and closures across the board. By leveraging technology, we were able to quickly welcome guests and therapists back once state-mandates allowed us to safely re-open. 

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

Software as a service (SaaS), also referred to as on-demand software, is software that is licensed on a subscription basis and centrally hosted. ISM has partnered with Spa Space, a new SaaS that delivers cost savings and revenue optimization while increasing customer satisfaction. A patent-pending algorithm perfectly matches customers with expert therapists at a location of their choice. For ISM managed spas, the ability to implement turnkey spa management solutions including payments, scheduling, local marketing, and therapist sourcing allowing spas to reopen with ease—delivers custom KPI reporting and dynamic yield management. 

Trend #2: Contactless Booking

From the booking process to check-in and check out and product purchases, contactless booking enables safe and efficient remote transactions. In addition to the obvious safety of a touchless experience amid the pandemic, contactless booking allows guests control over their experience from start to finish. From an operational standpoint, maintaining central reservations and a reception desk for check-in and check-out was tying up valuable human resources. Moving to our new technology partner Spa Space has allowed us to reopen all of our spas with significantly lowered costs, implement smart staffing solutions and personalize spa services for our guests.  

Trend #3: Dynamic Yield Management

Spas have traditionally been limited in their revenue management practices and relied on discounting, which ultimately erodes brand value. ISM runs reports on both demand and production to help our spas analyze their business so that they know how to dynamically price their treatments. We predict next-generation dynamic pricing will utilize sophisticated algorithms to match not only demand and supply, but detailed guest preferences, therapist skills, and preferred location. The Spa Space App offers custom KPI reporting and dynamic yield management to drive revenue while lowering costs. 

Trend #4: Smart Technology as Recruiting and Retention Tool

The best spa technology frees people up to do what they do best. The Spa Space platform gives our provider partners full control over their schedules—leading to a sense of ownership. This “work where you want, when you want” mentality is much different than adhering to strict protocols in the treatment room due to precise brand standards. Therapists can make their own schedules while nurturing their individual talents and areas of expertise, leading to overall job satisfaction. In the words of one of our longtime team members Melissa Donaghy, LMT, “I love the schedule flexibility, real-time compensation, and feeling of empowerment.”

Trend #5: CRM for Precision Marketing

Technology enables a highly targeted, “rifle” versus a “shotgun” approach to marketing. The right message to the right guest or prospect increases capture rates, repeat business, and guest loyalty and engagement.  Spa management software or CRM programs allow for market segmentation to divide your market into smaller, more defined categories based on similar characteristics. The more guests and prospects are segmented based on their similarities, (demographics, psychographics, behavior, geography, and lifecycle) the more effective your messaging. Resort hotel spas can leverage their CRM’s marketing functionality to have an opportunity to capture business by directly targeting and engaging with guests prior to their arrival. Hotel spas can target locals for memberships, staycation packages, and return visits. 

Trend #6: Death of the Static Spa Menu

The days of the “one size fits all” spa model is gone.  As guest needs become more individualized, effective use of technology has become critical. This need for “hyper-personalization” fundamentally changes the business model for how to attract, satisfy, and retain guests. ISM spas have eliminated the traditional spa menu and replaced it with customized massages and facials that meet guests’ personalized wellness needs. As a result, we have seen a 25% increase in guest satisfaction. In addition, our Spa Directors are freed from time-consuming administrative tasks and able to rebuild their business.

#7: High-Tech Touchless Treatments

Some spa-goers want to return to the spa but, for safety concerns, prefer a contactless experience. Luxury resorts are responding with high-tech touchless treatments, scientifically validated to address common wellness concerns like sleep, stress, pain, and immunity. Carillon Miami’s high tech and touchless wellness experiences feature The Gharieni Spa Wave, a computer-controlled acoustic and vibrational therapy, The Prism Light Pod which uses red light photobiomodulation therapy, The Rasha Body-Mind-Spirit, a vibrational frequency technology, and The VEMI all-in-one system which is a VibroAcoustic, ElectroMagnetic, and Infrared technology.

Trend #8: Investment in WellTech

Wellness technologies have exploded as people become increasingly educated and attuned to what they specifically need to keep their bodies and minds healthy.  WellTech is opening the door to a new trillion-dollar market of Wellbeing-as-a-Service (WaaS). According to Trendium: A Compendium of Trends from the Global Wellness Summit, “Investors are taking notice of this demand for more mental health and mental wellness technology solutions: Start-ups in this space raised a record-breaking $1.37 billion in the first three quarters of 2020, handily outpacing the $1.06 billion invested in 2019 (PitchBook)…The trend is also being spurred by generational shifts, with millennials and Gen Z demanding easier access to therapy and psychiatry while also being much more focused on self-care and mental wellness solutions.”  

Trend #9: Culture of Care

The Spa Space App has become the cornerstone of ISM’s culture of care by eliminating mundane administrative functions such as inventory management, scheduling, and payroll from our spa directors’ daily repertoire. By harnessing technology, they can be experience-makers and leaders rather than administrative workers. Why does having a culture of care matter? Because it impacts your bottom line: culture impacts employee engagement, which in turn affects absenteeism, retention, and productivity. Culture also impacts the guest experience: happy cultures produce happy employees and therefore happy guests. 

Trend #10: Technology will Disrupt the Status Quo

Technology has disrupted every category of hospitality, and now, the era of technological innovation has begun for the spa industry.  Our ability to adopt technology has been our saving grace during the pandemic. “ISM’s willingness to embrace new technology and create a personalized approach to booking guests appeals to the luxury scale client that we attract 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. “Our partnership with ISM is what makes the spa viable.”



Reflecting With Gratitude

November 24, 2020 | no comments | ISM News | by: Christina Stratton

As a year we will never forget begins to wrap up, we reflect with gratitude and celebrate all of the great things that happened in 2020. 

Wow, what a year! 2020 brought plenty of highs and lows –especially to our industry– yet, we can’t help but feel gratitude as we look back on the year as a whole.

While many were searching for a sense of “normal” to return, we realized that maybe normal shouldn’t have been the goal in the first place. After focusing on the experiences our staff and guests were encountering during this season of uncertainty, we dedicated ourselves to improving our business processes – starting with developing new operations within our guest and staff relations and implementing new tools to revamp our digital footprint.

Spa Operations in the Next Normal

As we worked to navigate toward the “next normal”, all of the decisions we made aligned with our mission of Operational Excellence, Optimal Experiences.  It’s evident we must pivot many standard spa practices in order to safely and efficiently reopen spas, and in some cases, a full 180-degree turn is in order. After taking intentional time to revitalize our approach, we are able to streamline our processes to ensure all guests and staff participate in an extremely safe and satisfying spa experience. 

To ensure safety and cleanliness at all ISM spas, we equipped every location with proper personal protection equipment and sanitation items then trained our teams on proper usage and procedures. We also communicated these newly developed processes across every available channel so spa guests are aware and feel comfort in knowing we follow cleanliness protocols and thoroughly sanitize for their safety. 

We also introduced a simple online platform to not only reduce unnecessary contact but to also provide a simple, streamlined experience for our spa guests and providers. Contactless checkout and check-in don’t just equate to an easier experience for guests once they arrive at the spa, but it also reduces paperwork for staff to handle. Finally, staggered scheduling means each guest receives a personalized, calming experience without any distractions, enabling the power of technology to support the power of human touch. 

We are so happy to share that these new expectations and innovations are here to stay for our ISM partners and their clients and we look forward to building upon this foundation next year.

ISM Online 

In 2020, ISM also dove headfirst into digital to connect with our partners and guests. In September, our skincare line, Privai, launched their first Instagram Live in collaboration with Lifestyle Blogger, Alex Ferraro of @SunKissedinDecember. We are so excited to continue to leverage partnerships to educate spa enthusiasts on the amazing products our partners use. We’re always looking for wellness influencers, so if you have a favorite account, send us an email with your recommendation!

New Spa Locations 

This year, ISM successfully helped our hotel partners open three new locations! Charlotte, Savannah, and Nashville are now home to luxurious spa destinations within these gorgeous new hotels.   As the world focuses on wellness, we cannot wait to watch each spa grow and provide services to hotel guests and locals alike.

The Poseidon Spa at the Grand Bohemian Hotel in Charlotte, NC

The Poseidon Spa at the JW Marriott Savannah Plant Riverside District in Savannah, GA 

R+R Wellness at the Grand Hyatt in Nashville, TN

As we near the close of the year, we want to say a big THANK YOU to all of our partners and clients. We look back on 2020 with so much gratitude for you all, and we’re full of optimism for an exciting year ahead!

We hope your soul receives a well-deserved recharge by spending time with loved ones during this season!

With Gratitude,


*If you’d like to know more about ISM, our spa reopening solutions, and how we can enhance & elevate your hotel’s guest experience, please contact us