Creative ways to get around the spa staffing shortage

spa staffing shortage

The existing spa staffing shortage has been greatly exacerbated by the COVID pandemic and left businesses struggling to meet demand. Here are some creative ways people are getting around it. 

Wanderlust and a pursuit of wellness are on the rise in 2021. Globally, there’s big interest in travel, and hotels, resorts, and spas are seeing a spike in demand. But an existing staff shortage has been greatly exacerbated by the COVID pandemic and left businesses struggling to meet demand.

Benjamin Donat, Spa Director at St. Regis Deer Valley, recently told Spa Executive magazine he’s been understaffed through the 2020-2021 season and that it’s hard to find qualified candidates. Donat said, “This affects both the guests and the existing team; guests because sometimes they need a wellness or spa experience, and we can’t provide it at the time they want because we’re overbooked, and staff because I have to be careful not to overwork them and cause burnout. We’re in Park City, in the mountains, so as long as it snows and there is skiing we will have guests. We’ll always have guests. My major concern is staffing. That’s one of my biggest challenges.”

There’s a lot of current discussion about how the spa and hospitality industries can attract and retain staff. In the meantime, people are turning to creative ways to cope with the shortage. Hotels, for example, can cut cleaning costs by allowing guests to opt out of housekeeping and not changing sheets every day for the same guests.

In July, News Channel Nashville quoted Leesa LeClaire, General Manager at Hilton Nashville Airport, saying this was something her hotel was doing. “People don’t change their bed sheets every day at home. And so, we don’t do that here as well and then people I think are okay with that,” said LeClaire. She added, “We have been able to get creative with our staffing, we have room attendants who actually clean rooms later in the day.”

Spas don’t have the same option of cutting down on cleaning costs. So, what are some of the ways in which people can get creative with working around the staffing shortage (which some are actually calling a “crisis”)?

Here are three creative ways spas can work around the spa staffing shortage.

Touchless wellness experiences

Spas have been experimenting with touchless treatment options. These are appealing as a means of facilitating physical distancing and have the added benefit of not requiring a therapist. Benjamin Donat also said in his Spotlight interview, “It’s exciting that, because there were so many issues in the last year, people got creative to find solutions. I’ve seen some great ideas, including touchless therapies and treatment options which can help us provide the services guests need and also solve the staffing problem a little bit. I love the idea of technology to help us while not eliminating the personal touch.”

These therapies may include energy healing, reiki, sound healing, or forest bathing. Or they might be technology supported options, like massage guns. The menu at the Carillon Miami Spa, for example, includes touchless wellness experiences like the Spa Wave, by Gharieni (a vibrational & sound therapy table), the Somadome meditation pod, V.E.M.I (Vibroacoustic Electro Magnetic And Infrared Therapy), Prism Light Pod, and more.


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