Archive for Tag: spa consultants
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,

ISM SPA Team

*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

Giving Thanks

November 21, 2020 | no comments | ISM News | by: Christina Stratton

There is a light at the end of the tunnel! And here at ISM Spa Management, a boutique spa management company with headquarters in Asheville, North Carolina – and a portfolio of day spa and hotel spas under management across the country – we are determined to look on the bright side. 

This year will certainly go down in the history books as one of the roughest our world will have endured, but 2020 is almost at an end. This Thanksgiving will be unlike anything any of us have ever experienced, but if there has ever been a time when pausing to take stock of our many blessings is more appropriate, we can’t think of it

Counting Our Blessings

We sat down with our amazing team of spa management consultants recently – virtually, of course – to discuss what we were thankful for this year. And we are happy to report that there was no shortage of suggestions: 

  1. Topping the list of things that our spa consultants are grateful for is the good news surrounding the introduction of not just one vaccine but several promising Covid-19 vaccines that will be available soon. 
  2. It will be a relief to not have to eat Aunt Laura’s* – fill in the blank: sweet potato pie, green bean casserole, Jell-o salad, etc… (*the names have been changed to protect the innocent – and our spa consultants, too!).
  3. A New Year is just around the corner! AND no one is stressing about whether they have plans for New Year’s Eve. 

However you will be celebrating this year, we sincerely hope that you will have much to be thankful for. And all of us here at ISM Spa Management Company wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving!

The Next New “Normal”

November 20, 2020 | no comments | ISM News | by: Christina Stratton

Re-Opening: The Challenge for Spa Management

Profitable Spa Operations in the Next New “Normal”

Ilana Alberico shares her best practices on how to delight guests and still produce a healthy bottom line in a recent Hotel Executive article.

It’s no secret we’re living in unusual times that will undoubtedly lead to restructuring and reinvigorating our “old” way of life to better suit this new normal. 

Luckily, in her recent feature on Hotel Executive, our co-Founder & CEO Ilana Alberico shares valuable insight and best practices on how to safely operate your spa business, and continue to drive revenue while also ensuring an excellent spa experience for your guests. 

Here are a few best practices Ilana shares: 

1.  Optimize your technology

Illana identifies technology as a key enabler in boosting spa success by catering to increasing customer expectations, streamlining efficiency to reduce unnecessary costs, and future-proofing the spa industry as a whole.

2. Develop a spa revenue strategy

Instead of relying heavily on discounting to get customers into the spa, Illana describes how spas can utilize dynamic pricing based on demand, shifting percent of sales to higher profit items.

3. Create a touchless operational process

The hotel industry has been implementing touchless features in recent years and Illana believes that the spa industry will be following suit. She explains that soon, spa-goers may be electronically ushered into their own private pod and receive personalized treatments, making the experience touchless, but also personalized and unique.

4.  Safety is a MUST, but not a differentiator

Illana points out that although luxury spas are trusted by their clients as a highly sanitized and safe space, it doesn’t hurt to continue to build trust at this time by increasing messaging and reassurances to provide peace of mind.

5.  Market to your local community 

Due to the drop in travel across the country, Illana’s last recommendation to spas is to focus on reaching local clientele. She even recommends how to block out the entire spa for events or large groups in order to return to business safely.

To learn more about how to integrate these best practices into your spas, read Ilana’s full article on HotelExecutive here.

Want to know more about the one-of-a-kind spa experience ISM Spa can create to elevate and enhance your guests’ experience? Contact us here! We can’t wait to hear from you.

Color Theory, Spa Design and Beyond

October 12, 2020 | no comments | ISM News | by: Christina Stratton

Color theory is, of course, an important aspect of spa design and management. Understanding what makes a color soothing or calming and, therefore, appropriate for a particular spa setting requires some expertise. 

The spa consultants at ISM Spa Management have that expertise. They also have a healthy curiosity, which, when combined with an interest in color theory can lead to some interesting tidbits of information. 

Color Your World

“Color therapy is frequently employed in public spaces, though we might not consciously be aware of it,” Organic Spa Magazine reports. “For example, restaurants often incorporate reds and oranges, which stimulate hunger, while hospitals tend to use uplifting yellows or calming greens.”

The Colors of the Seasons

The folks at Color Matters are not only experts in color theory and design, they are also passionate about color. They embrace their love of all things color through sharing information – and occasionally having some fun while they do it. 

Here are a couple of fun color facts they provided that are perfect for the season (and the holidays – which are just around the corner!):

The Shade of Autumn Leaves
Plant researchers Bill Hock, Eric Zeldin and Brent McCown of the University of Wisconsin-Madison (Go Badgers!) were studying the way leaves change color in the fall. They “discovered that brilliant red pigments shade sensitive leaf tissue in fall while trees reabsorb nutrients from their leaves,” the folks at Color Matters say. “In actuality the red pigment produced by the leaves performs much the same important function as sunscreen on human skin.”

 “Hue and Cry” Will Tell You If Your Turkey Is Stressed 
Check this out! “A turkey has several flaps of loose skin around the head and neck that turn color depending on its mood. The flaps are called the “wattle” (on the chin), the “snood” (on the head and over the beak) and the “caruncle” (on the throat). Under calm conditions, these areas are pinkish-gray or blue; if the turkey is annoyed or mating, all these areas turn bright red.”

If you have questions about the color palette or any other aspect of spa design management, please contact the spa consultants at ISM Spa Management.

Wellness Will Be Even More Important to Spa Management Moving Forward

September 10, 2020 | no comments | ISM News | by: Christina Stratton

boutique spa management company - Featured Property: Ama Spa

Long before anyone had ever heard of Covid-19, the spa consultants at ISM Spa, a boutique spa management company based in Asheville, North Carolina, were focused on the concept of wellness. 

Not surprisingly, there are already strong indications that wellness will continue to be key to the future growth of the spa industry. 

As the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says, “Health has emerged as a key focus for consumers readjusting to their ‘new normal.’ And after months of social distancing, consumers’ approach to fitness and overall wellness may be permanently altered, experts said.”

Feeling Good About Wellness

This is a time of great upheaval and change – in many industries. Some responses to the pandemic will be temporary. Others will be lasting. 

On its editorial website, CO—, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce quotes Beth McGroarty, vice president of research for the Global Wellness Institute, as saying, “At the big-picture, long-term level, the case for the wellness concept and wellness markets post-pandemic looks very bullish.”

“Pre-pandemic, wellness was already emerging as the biggest consumer spending opportunity in decades,” Wendy Liebmann, CEO of WSL Strategic Retail, told CO—.WSL, which releases an annual study on How America Shops, had found that almost three-quarters of Americans reported that they were eating healthier, meditating, working out, or embracing other activities to help them reduce stress and living well. 

 “Even before the pandemic, many people around the U.S. were beginning to dabble in proactive and preventative health and wellness practices,” Liebmann told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s editorial team. “What this pandemic has revealed is that taking care and control of your own health — individual, family, home, etc. — is even more critical than before.”

From spas like The Spa Biltmore in Asheville, NC to Privai Wellness + Spa at the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld, the spa management team at ISM Spa has extensive experience developing spa therapies designed to support the mental and physical health and wellness of spa clientele. 

If you would like to speak to one of our spa consultants about the future of spa management, please contact us.

The Importance of Spa Branding

July 14, 2020 | no comments | ISM News | by: James McCauley

Spa consultants,The Importance of Spa Branding

Spa consultants have different approaches to branding. The consultants at our spa management company believe that a dynamic brand concept can deliver a distinct edge in the marketplace, especially when it is woven seamlessly into elements of the spa design and management as well as expertly incorporated into all marketing efforts. 

There are those who think a company’s brand – whether that company is a day spa, a car dealership or an accounting firm – is synonymous with having a logo and a catchy slogan. The truth, however, is far different: 

Your brand is the foundation upon which your relationship with your clientele is built.

As Steve McNamara, the creative director of AdProf.com and AdCracker.com, says, “A brand is the sum of all feelings, thoughts and recognitions – positive and negative – that people in the target audience have about a company, product or service.” 

Developing a Successful Spa Brand

Your brand isn’t something that can be printed on a piece of paper, like a logo or slogan, it resides in the mind of your audience. Trust is a valuable part of that relationship you have with your audience. You can think of your brand as a promise to provide certain things, to meet certain expectations. 

According to Apple founder Steve Jobs, “Branding is all about telling your audience the same thing, all the time. This is who I am, my personality and story. This is what I look like. And this is what I can do for you.” 

Branding enables clients to remember and recognize you in a crowded market, which gives you a competitive edge – but only if your branding efforts are consistent.

The spa consultants ISM Spa, a boutique spa management company with offices in Asheville, NC, and clients all across the country, has a unique approach to branding that encompasses everything from custom spa treatments and treatment protocols to signage and uniforms. If you would like to know more about branding and the other spa management services we offer, please contact us.

Re-Opening: The Challenge for Spa Management

June 10, 2020 | no comments | ISM News | by: James McCauley

Re-Opening: The Challenge for Spa Management

We may not all get the infection but all of us are being impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. While working from home, our spa consultants are collaborating with experts in a variety of fields on innovative ideas that will help the day spas we manage as well as the hotel spas under our management

For years, the ISPA Foundation has been asking PricewaterhouseCoopers to conduct consumer surveys that will help inform the ongoing growth of the spa industry. These surveys, known as the Consumer Snapshot Initiative, not only produce lots of good data for those of us in the spa industry, they also help us get a good read on what people are thinking. Like everything else these days, this year’s edition of the Consumer Snapshot Initiative – the 10th – is all about COVID-19. The survey is giving us an idea of how our clientele and their attitudes toward returning to their favorite spa and enjoying treatments. 

The main takeaway from the report can be summed up this way:

  • Across all age groups, spa-goers will be nervous about returning to the spa – even when they are allowed to do so. It’s not just spas, though. The survey’s findings indicate that people will be anxious about their safety in public spaces, with the highest level of anxiety associated with places and situations where they don’t have a lot of control over their interactions with others. 
  • Spa-goers say they will return, but spas will need to take steps to make them feel safe. Not surprisingly, our efforts as spa managers to increase our sanitation and hygiene protocols will play a big part in assuring our clientele. “Spas will need to adjust their practices to satisfy consumer concerns and clarify for guests how the spa-going experience will be different (i.e. what measures are being taken to protect guests, what a ‘socially-distanced’ spa will be like, etc.),” the Executive Summary from this year’s Consumer Snapshot Initiative says.
  • While they have been isolating at home, our clients have been learning to fend for themselves. As the survey summary puts it, “DIY wellness has become a larger part of spa-goers’ lives.” We may have to remind folks of the benefits they get from visiting our spas. “Given the nervousness many consumers may have about entering public places following the pandemic, spas will likely need to reemphasize the value of professional treatments and build the spa experience back into guests’ lives while navigating a general climate of worry.”

 

If you have questions about re-opening or providing assurance to your clientele, please contact the spa consultants at ISM Spa, a boutique spa management company based in Asheville.

What Does Laurie Santos Know About Spa Management?

May 12, 2020 | no comments | ISM News | by: James McCauley

What Does Laurie Santos Know About Spa Management?

Are you familiar with Yale professor Dr. Laurie Santos? She teaches the most popular course in the school’s 300-year history – “Psychology and the Good Life,” which teaches students about the science of happiness. Whether you are familiar with Dr. Santos and her work or not, you might be wondering what all of this has to do with spa management.

Dr. Santos is a big believer in being kind to yourself, if you’re focused on the marketing aspects of hotel and day spa management, you might be thinking that she would make a good spokesperson for the spa industry. While that might be true, it’s not where we’re going.

Our spa consultants, who are working from home like countless other Americans, talk to a lot of people (our spa management company works with hotel and day spas all across the country). Some of the people we talk to seem to be handling the challenges associated with the Covid-19 pandemic really well. Others, it seems, are letting their anxiety get the better of them at times. Of course, we could talk to someone who seems to have a positive attitude one day and is overwhelmed with anxiety the next. 

These Are Anxious Times

First of all, no one is going to blame you for feeling anxious. You certainly shouldn’t be beating yourself up about that. As the Covid-19 pandemic continues, we are all dealing with not only significant health and safety concerns but serious economic challenges as well. 

Dr. Santos might just be able to help. Her course – now called The Science of Well-Being – is being offered for free right now on Coursera. Taking it might help you make better choices and live a life that is happier and more fulfilling.

According to the course description: “In this course you will engage in a series of challenges designed to increase your own happiness and build more productive habits. As preparation for these tasks, Professor Laurie Santos reveals misconceptions about happiness, annoying features of the mind that lead us to think the way we do, and the research that can help us change. You will ultimately be prepared to successfully incorporate a specific wellness activity into your life.”

All of us at ISM Spa, a boutique spa management company with headquarters in Asheville, North Carolina, are wishing you all the very best during these difficult days. If there is anything our spa consultants can do to help you weather the storm, please contact us.

Einstein Wasn’t a Spa Consultant, But…

April 9, 2020 | no comments | ISM News | by: James McCauley

Einstein Wasn’t a Spa Consultant, But…

You might not hear Albert Einstein’s name come up very often in a discussion about spa management, but here at ISM Spa, a boutique spa management company based in Asheville, NC, we like to look at things a little differently. And we think Einstein still has something to teach us.

Einstein, a brilliant theoretical physicist who gave us the theory of general relativity and who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1921, could easily be considered one of the greatest minds of the 20th century – if not the millennium. This was a man who did not shy away from tough questions or hard work. 

Einstein’s Three Rules of Work

Einstein is, rather famously, said to have had three rules of work: “Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” 

Our spa consultants think these “rules” can be very relevant to the situation we all find ourselves in these days. 

  • Rule #1: “Out of clutter, find simplicity.”

Have you noticed how very many people are attacking the clutter in their lives while staying safe at home? Yes, many people have time on their hands and are looking for productive ways to fill it, but we think there’s more to it than that. Clearing away the clutter is a wonderful way to gain a sense of control over your surroundings. And once things are clutter-free, it’s much easier to see the way forward. 

  • Rule #2: “From discord, find harmony.” 

From our perspective as day spa consulting professionals, we see this as a reflection of the value of diverse perspectives. Einstein didn’t say, “Ignore those whose ideas differ from yours.” It’s almost as if the discord is an essential element of harmony. 

  • Rule #3: “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”

It might be a bit of an understatement to say that we are all in the middle of difficulty these days. But we believe that Einstein’s rule holds true and that out of the incredible difficulties we face, incredible opportunities for the spa industry will emerge.

All of us at ISM Spa Management Company hope that you and yours are staying safe. We look forward to working with you when the time is right to start exploring those opportunities for the spa management industry.

Lessons Learned from Spa Management

March 18, 2020 | no comments | ISM News | by: James McCauley

Lessons Learned from Spa Management

The spa consultants here at ISM Spa, a boutique spa management company based in Asheville, thought this might be a good time to take a few lessons from the day spas we manage

Wellness has become such an important aspect of spa design management and well as day-to-day spa management. And if ever there was a time for all of us to focus on our own physical and mental wellbeing, this is surely it.  

Wellness at Home

All of the spas we managed are powered by Privai, a botanical based product line that promotes a ‘spa in a bottle’ experience. Because Privai is readily available to our guests online, it makes the essence of every innovative spa service accessible at home. Here are 4 ways to recharge and replenish your skin in between spa days:

  1. Apply a facial masque {weekly} – to lock in hydration and keep your skin fresh. Privai’s Aqua Gel Masque is a game changer.
  2. Use an aloe-infused serum – hydrating serums are like a tall glass of ice water for your skin. Use directly after cleansing your face. If you haven’t tried Privai’s Calming Aloe Hydrator, add it to your to-do list.
  3. Stay moisturized – after taking your makeup off at the end of the day, apply a night creme. Privai’s Matte Moisturizer is a guest favorite.
  4. Drink 6-8 glasses of water, every day – and watch your skin thank you for it.

If you’re running low on beauty products, we encourage you to explore Privai’s luxuriously natural line. Upgrade your at-home skin care routine at: www.privai.com.

Of course, visiting one of the day spas managed by ISM Spa Management Company isn’t possible at the present moment. But that doesn’t mean we can’t all continue to pursue wellness in our own homes. 

Fortunately, breathing exercises – one of the easiest ways to manage stress – can be done anywhere. 

Stress Management: Breathing Exercises for Relaxation

As the health experts at the University of Michigan Health system explain, “There are lots of breathing exercises you can do to help relax.” They recommend belly breathing as a great one to start with if you want to relax and relieve stress.

Belly breathing

“Belly breathing is easy to do and very relaxing. Try this basic exercise anytime you need to relax or relieve stress,” U of M says:

  1. Sit or lie flat in a comfortable position.
  2. Put one hand on your belly just below your ribs and the other hand on your chest.
  3. Take a deep breath in through your nose, and let your belly push your hand out. Your chest should not move.
  4. Breathe out through pursed lips as if you were whistling. Feel the hand on your belly go in and use it to push all the air out.
  5. Do this breathing 3 to 10 times. Take your time with each breath.
  6. Notice how you feel at the end of the exercise.

 

All of us at ISM Spa Management Company wish you and yours the very best during this difficult time.