Ditching the Static Spa Menu

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.”

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