Archive for Category: ISM News
It’s Budget Season

October 13, 2021 | no comments | ISM News | by: Miranda Calatrello

Four Ways to Diversify & Increase Revenue in Your Spa

Fall is in full swing, and while others are enjoying pumpkin patches and the seasonal joys of autumn, it’s time for our Spa Managers and Hotel Partners to begin their yearly budget building to ensure a solid fourth quarter finish for 2021 and a bright start to 2022.

In the spirit of “sharing is caring”, ISM is pleased to share four simple ways you can maximize your spa bookings and guest satisfaction as we close out the year strong.

1: Convenient Booking During Busy Times

In the blink of an eye, we will all be setting the Thanksgiving table and purchasing presents for the holiday season. To ensure guests don’t need to take the extra step to call and schedule a spa services or much needed R&R, it’s important your facility is utilizing a convenient online menu and scheduling service. According to recent studies presented by Salon Today, only 54% of spa and salon bookings occur during normal business hours. Make time to audit your online presence and  ensure booking options are clearly marked on both the mobile and desktop versions of your website with a clear call to action and explanation on how to book a service. Especially as we round the corner to the holidays, a seasonal pop-up with booking options on your landing page will captivate a host of potential guests.

2: Continue the Experience at Home

Stepping inside the spa for a much-needed reset is only one part of the equation. When clients step outside and re-enter the chaos of their daily lives, it’s important to ensure they are equipped with the tools and products to achieve relaxation and restoration from the comfort of their own homes. Educating guests on products pre- or post- treatment will help your brand live longer in the eyes (and hearts) of your clients.  Spas in the ISM portfolio find great success in supporting product education by our service professionals, resulting in point of sale and recurring revenue to  increase the bottom line.

3: Return the Favor

Gratitude goes a long way. There’s nothing like giving back to your loyal clients. From gift card incentives to referral rewards, your existing clients are sure to appreciate the extra kudos. Place a special emphasis on the local client base to re-emphasize your presence within the community through additional goodwill marketing. Our spa partners at R+R Wellness located inside the Grand Hyatt in Nashville established a unique loyalty program, Locals Love. It’s a loyalty program created exclusively for the locals of Nashville and surrounding areas. “Every month we create a different offering, to keep it fresh, from value-adds to product swag bags and even a discount on services,” says Robyn Peacock, R+R Wellness Spa Director. Robyn goes on to say, “Locals are our bread-and-butter, they are there when the Hotel groups aren't. The relationships you build are incredible. Call them by name when they arrive, know their slipper & robe size without asking, ask how the family is doing or remember a big occasion in their life; those little things go a long way and they feel like a VIP.”

As the holiday season draws closer, this is the perfect time to highlight gift card purchases and incentives for those buying for multiple friends and family members. With digital gift cards on the rise as the preference for millennials, now is the perfect time to research broadening your offerings.

4: Tend to Your Network 

Whether it’s a partnered night collaborating with nearby women’s health and wellness vendors or a local chamber of commerce network, there’s something to be said about having a support system of like-minded businesses. As you spend the next few months gearing up for 2022, now is the time to budget in a chamber of commerce membership, BBB accreditation, or a BNI chapter membership. The investment in local word-of-mouth exposure is even more effective than paid ads, resulting in five times more sales. 

Gearing Up For the New Year

From sprucing up your holiday gift card promotions to highlighting online booking, prioritizing process refinement and guest engagement is a great way to round out the year. At ISM, we’re here to ensure your success and journey alongside you every step of the way. By following these four simple steps, you can finish the last quarter of the year with happier clients, increased appointment bookings, and more well-rounded operations. Talk about a great way to ring in 2022!

True Wellness Routines

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

ISM Spa Team Members Reveal Tried & True Wellness Routines

August is National Wellness Month, which means now is the perfect time to focus on taking care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. Whether that means setting a new skincare routine, trying out morning meditation, or signing up for a new group fitness class, it’s important to make time for yourself. 

In this month’s blog, we are pulling back the hospitality curtain to reveal two of our ISM Spa team member’s wellness routines.

Meet Felicia D., our team’s newest leader, managing the Poseidon Spa at Grand Bohemian Hotel Mountain Brook. Felicia makes time for wellness in both her morning and evening routines. When Felicia first developed her facial routine, she did it to combat her Eczema. Eczema (also called atopic dermatitis) is a condition that causes your skin to become dry, red, itchy and bumpy and eczema affects approximately 7.3% of adults.

With daily skincare habits in place, she has been able to reduce dry spots, while evening out her skin tone. Felicia states, she “loves the way her skin feels and the natural glow that follows her routine regimen”  and that it “has brought about a new found confidence in both [her] skin and overall persona.”

Felicia’s Skincare Routine:

Felicia begins by cleaning her face and neck then goes in using her AHA/BHA Rosewater toner. Once she has allowed her face to dry, she adds a few drops of Vitamin C serum in circular upward motions. She then finished up with her CocoShea Revitalizing Cream.

Skincare Routine

Meet Tiana G., a Licensed Massage Therapist at Mountain Brook Poseidon Spa. Tiana’s wellness routine centers around her mental health. Her wellness routine consists of a few different activities, all focused on mindfulness practices.

For starters, Tiana is a firm believer in having someone to confide in. Talking through difficult stressors has been a huge help in her wellness journey, allowing her to release anxieties while staying grounded. Applying this mindset professionally, Tiana believes massage therapy provides her clients with an outlet when they need it.

In addition to talk therapy, Tiana enjoys journaling on a daily basis. The benefits of journaling are endless for mental health. It helps reduce stress, improve immune function, keeps memory sharp, boosts your mood, and strengthens emotional functions. Tiana journals to remember important things from the day or new mantras to keep her positive.

While down time is a strategy to Tiana’s self-care routine, staying active is a wellness routine she participates in weekly. Tiana states, “the physical strength allotted when working out allows [her] to push through when [she] does not feel at her best,” providing an outlet to increase her overall mental strength.

The final wellness practice Tiana leverages is providing wellness services through her career as a Massage Therapist. She finds massage therapy not only lowers her stress levels, but also decreases anxiety for both her and her clients. Serving as a licensed massage therapist can help decrease your own stress and anxiety by knowing you are helping others.  As an added benefit, it allows you to release muscle tension as well.

Tiana declares, “developing a wellness routine has really helped [her] stay grounded in her daily life and encourages others to seek out their self-care journey this month as well.

If you do not already have a wellness routine in place, we hope this insight into our ISM Spa team’s wellness routines have encouraged you to take a deep look at your daily practices. Here at ISM Spa, we believe  taking care of yourself allows you to show up not only in your career, but in your commitment to continuous improvement.

Avoid the Seasonal Fall Slump

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

Mention Autumn and many people conjure up images of beautiful foliage, comfy sweaters and all the pumpkin spice products on the market.  However, for many, the reality is Fall brings about a mad dash to get back into the busy professional-meets-parenting schedule as children return to school. While this new season can mean a slump in appointments at your spa as less people make time to vacation, there are ways to avoid declines and even serve guests in new ways.   

As we all rush into this next phase of life and return back to the routines we’ve missed, it is so important to remind your clients to prioritize their health and self-care in the coming Fall months. Think of a change in seasons as an opportunity for your clients to make a recommitment to their wellbeing.   As the school routines settle and back-to-office pans out, guests will have their first moment of silence to rest, relax, and restore from the past 18 months of constant change. 

There’s real science to back this art of “resetting” when there is a change of seasons. In his book When, Dan Pink talks about opportunities for fresh starts, or temporal landmarks as he calls them. They include:

  • The first day of a month
  • Mondays
  • Your birthday
  • A new job
  • The first day of school
  • And of course, the first day of a new season - Fall, Winter, Spring or Summer may all serve as a temporal landmark for change.

No doubt this is one of the reasons we originated the practice of Resolutions on New Year’s Day—a new year, a new you. A fresh start.  But why wait until January when Fall can be the fresh start we all need! 

Here are three practical ways to position your spa business to serve guests as they reset routines and help your Team navigate the coming changes:

1. Anticipate the change.

Instead of planning for a dip in sales typical of the Fall months, embrace the season. With Black Friday and the holiday season quickly approaching, create a promotion that incentivizes bookings for specials that matter most to your customer base. From pre-holiday service sales to gift card bundles for proactive present purchasers, now is the perfect opportunity to set yourself up for success for the rest of the year. This is also a great opportunity to invest in your highest-return amenities and craft a signature spa package that you can use seasonally for years to come.

2. Be intentional about promotions and programming. 

While thoughtful campaigns resonate with your clientele, nothing is more off-putting than a knee-jerk Fall promotional.  Do your most loyal clients come in the morning after dropping off their children at the local elementary school or do they enjoy an end-of-day service after a high-energy workout? With just a little research, value-driven content for a well-positioned promotion will go the distance for your business this Fall. 

Also be sure to stay in the know about relevant wellness trends and research to serve as the subject matter expert for your guests and team members.  For instance, nearly 20% of American adults have noted a decline in their mental well-being according to a 2020 American Psychological Association Study. What better way is there to promote holistic wellness than with a stress-reducing and mood boosting treatment at your spa?

3. Don’t ignore a key audience. 

Who are you missing? The beauty of the wellness industry is its inclusivity. Do your local teachers need a little TLC? Are your school bus drivers and crossing guards receiving the recognition they deserve? Can you entice a local pumpkin spice latte enthusiast with a themed facial? From gift cards to a unique seasonal service, there’s always room to grow your client base with intentional outreach.

Take these three practical ways to avoid the seasonal Fall slump and utilize them to position your spa as you enter the fourth quarter. As R+R Wellness Spa Director Robyn Peacock stated, “We’re so thankful for the resiliency of our spas and wellness centers and the high standard of care they’ve continually provided. As we emerge into a new season, it’s up to us to future-proof our operations and create space to welcome in a new era of the health and wellness industry.” 

Looking for more info about ISM and how we can enhance and elevate your business? Contact us today!

How To Capture Hotel Guests

July 30, 2021 | no comments | ISM News | by: Miranda Calatrello

Summer travel is back, and busier than ever this season. As we all know, capturing the attention of those tourists & travelers and persuading them into the spa isn’t always an easy task. Here are our top 3 suggestions on how to successfully capture and convert those summer transient hotel guests into spa guests. 

1. Create a Referral Program

One of the most tried and true partnership opportunities we’ve found? INCENTIVES. 

Work with your hotel to implement an employee referral program where the more business an employee refers, the better benefits that employee will receive. For example, for every 10 spa guests that an employee refers to the spa, that employee will receive a complimentary massage. 

If your spa isn’t serving guests within a hotel, no worries! You can implement a similar incentive-based partnership with the  local hotels near your spa’s location. 

Implementing a referral program during peak travel season is a great way to capture those transient hotel guests and build relationships with hotel partners  that will last well beyond the season. 

2. Place Spa Signage at Check-In 

Did you know that nearly 76% of consumers said they had entered a store or business they had never visited before based simply on its signs? That’s why we always recommend spas place signage and marketing materials at, or near, its hotel check-in location. 

When designing your signage, we recommend  using high quality imagery with on-brand, clean & crisp messaging. Your spa signs shouldn’t be too copy-heavy or distracting or else you may lose the interest of those hotel guests that are checking in.  Remember the “one chance to make first impression” rule applies here. 

Signage can make or break your ability to get the attention of hotel guests and convert them into spa revenue.  But don’t just take our word for it - another survey found that roughly 60% of businesses reported that changing the design or enhancing the visibility of their signage had a positive impact on sales, number of transactions and profits.

3.Integrate Into Your Hotel’s Pre-Arrival Email 

Not every hotel guest automatically thinks about a potential spa experience when booking their stay, so it’s extremely important to have the spa highlighted somewhere in your hotel’s confirmation email or pre-arrival email to plant the seed early. 

In fact, The U.S. Travel Association found that 82% of Americans travel to relax/reduce stress - what better way to reduce stress than spending some time at the spa?! 

Similar to placing signage at check-in, linking  your spa’s website or reservation platform within the hotel’s pre-arrival email creates awareness for travelers that a spa is available on the hotel property and booking a spa experience in advance is highly recommended.  Anticipating guest’s needs will set the spa apart from the competition. 

We know implementing tactics to successfully translate hotel guests into spa guests can be difficult. If you’d like additional guidance or to learn more about ISM and how we can enhance and elevate your business, please contact us!

Mid-year Check In

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