Dear Sal, what can I say to an employee with no filter?

Sal Capizzi, Marketing Director at Book4Time and a former Director of Spa and Wellness at NEXUS Luxury Collection, shares his expert insight into your reader questions. Here he talks about how to hire the best spa employees.

Send your queries about managing staff, operations, and anything else you want to know (challenge him!) to

Q. Dear Sal,

I have a therapist who is very direct and well-intentioned, but sometimes their approach can come across as abrasive or inappropriate in a spa setting. Do you think it’s worth having a conversation with them? They are one of my top performers, so I’m concerned about upsetting them with this type of feedback.

A. Hi there! This is a fantastic question, and it’s one we don’t often discuss in our industry. Most of the time, when we hear about “inappropriate actions” in a spa, it relates to some form of discrimination or sexual harassment. Even though you and your team might have accepted the notion that “that’s just the way this person is,” the reality is that your clients don’t know this person or that they mean no harm.

This could affect your business in many ways, with the most significant impact being that the guest might not return or, even worse, they might leave a negative online review, discouraging more potential guests from visiting your spa.

Now, let me share a personal experience. When I was managing spas, I once had a therapist ask a client what color their urine normally is, and then proceeded to inform the client that their urine might be darker after the treatment due to toxins leaving their body after the massage. While those of us in the spa and wellness industry know this to be true, and the therapist was trying to educate the client, this particular client was taken aback by the question. She brought it up at the time of her checkout, but also mentioned that she had received a phenomenal service and left a 25% gratuity. However, I knew I couldn’t just ignore this feedback.

I took this therapist aside and asked about their typical intake conversations, the kind of questions they usually ask, and so on. They explained that they had been asking this question for years before a particular type of treatment. Trust me, I understand—I’m a Licensed Massage Therapist myself. However, in a luxury spa setting, I didn’t think this question was appropriate to ask. So, I asked her to stick to treatment-related questions and to avoid asking guests about the color of their urine. We never had the issue again.

Feedback is your team’s best friend. They’ll respect you for addressing something that a guest might have found offensive, potentially affecting your business. It shows that you care about their paycheck as much as they do, and while they might have lost this particular guest, addressing these issues can help them retain more clients in the future.

As always, if a boundary is crossed, everyone involved needs to be heard. Your therapists should always feel comfortable stopping or pausing the session to get their Director or Manager on duty to handle the situation appropriately. This could range from anything from hygiene issues to clearly inappropriate behavior.


Spa Executive is published by Book4Time, the leader in guest management, revenue and mobile solutions for the most exclusive spas, hotels, and resorts around the globe. Learn more at

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