Dear Sal, I need advice about a customer who smells terrible

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.

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Q. Dear Sal,

We have a regular massage customer at our spa who smells terrible. She comes once every two weeks for a massage, is pleasant to deal with, and tips well. But the two therapists she asks for regularly have a bad time because she smells like she doesn’t shower. How can we approach this topic with her without hurting her feelings or driving her away? 

A. Ah, the delicate dance of addressing the aroma in the room—literally! While it might seem like a tricky situation, fear not, because I think I have an idea for you.

First things first, let’s acknowledge the positives. She’s a regular, she’s pleasant, and she’s tipping well – talk about a trifecta of spa-goer excellence! Now, onto the olfactory challenge.

How about we flip the script and turn this into a spa-tacular upgrade for her? Consider crafting a sweet and subtly scented note that expresses how much you value her as a client. You could say something like:

“Dear [Lovely Client],

We hope this note finds you in the pink of relaxation! It’s always such a joy to have you at our spa, and your presence brightens our day. We’ve been brainstorming ways to enhance your massage experience even more, and we’re thrilled to share a few delightful options with you.

We’ve recently introduced a selection of heavenly scented essential oils that can add an extra layer of tranquility to your session. These oils not only elevate your spa journey but also ensure that you leave feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

We understand that personal preferences vary, and we want to make sure every visit is tailored to your liking. So, we’re excited to offer you the opportunity to customize your massage experience by selecting the scent that resonates most with you. It’s a small change that we believe will make a world of difference.

Thank you for being an incredible part of our spa family, and we can’t wait to continue pampering you with the utmost care.

Warm regards,

[Your Name – as the Spa Director]”

This way, you’re framing it as an enhancement rather than a critique. It’s all about creating a positive atmosphere and making her feel special while subtly addressing the aromatic concern. After all, who wouldn’t want to bask in the sweet scent of success and relaxation? Happy pampering!

This is one way to go about things. Another is, if you have the option on premises, to encourage a relaxing pre-massage shower with gorgeously scented products as part of the experience. 

If there is a deeper hygiene issue that could be putting your practitioner’s health at risk (And you know what I’m talking about.)  You may have to address the hygiene concerns with the client and be prepared to have an explanation as to why it could affect your therapist’s wellbeing during the service or their ability to do the service at an exceptional level. 

I hope this helps!



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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One comment

  1. This is brilliant!
    I do the same – I even recommend Hammam, Scrub before massage 😃
    I like to educate people about cleanliness and good grooming routine.
    Once they experience it they will get hooked on body spa treatments not just a massage.
    More revenue for us, I’m sure she will appreciate a new “me” kind of feeling .

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