Exploring this Job
A great way to learn more about spa management work is through a part-time or summer job at a spa. You may be surprised by the number of spas near you, and there may even be a resort on the outskirts of your city. Search online for "Beauty Salons and Services" as well as "Health Clubs" and "Massage." (Many of the listings under "Spa" are only for hot tub dealerships.) You can also visit a salon or day spa and ask to set up an informational interview with the spa manager. Some spa workers may allow you to shadow them for a day or two. Larger salons may have openings for part-time attendants, allowing you to gather firsthand experience.
Many resorts across the country advertise nationally for summer help. Check the classified advertisements of vacation and travel magazines. You could also select a resort and spa from the pages of tourism publications, such as Resort+Recreation (http://www.resort-recreation.com), and call the hotel directly to request information about summer jobs. You can also find a directory of spas by visiting https://www.spafinder.com.
Another way to explore this profession is through a part-time or summer job at a local hotel, beauty salon, or tanning salon. You will gain experience working with guests and providing for their comfort. Nursing homes and hospitals also employ high school students to provide clients or patients with personal care services. Working at a retail store specializing in products for skin care and beauty, aromatherapy, and massage can teach you about various spa treatments and products and help you decide if you are interested in this line of work.
If you have the money, make an appointment for yourself at a spa in your area. Even an hour spent as a client at a spa can give you an idea of what working in such an environment would be like.
There were only 30 spas in the United States in the late 1970s, and the number has since grown to more than 22,160. More than half of these are day spas, where clients can check in for an afternoon of relaxation and rejuvenation. The remainder are resort/hotel spas, which welcome clients for longer visits. Many spas and resorts have also developed around natural hot springs, the seaside, the desert, the mountains, and even the plains. Some spas are designed for specific needs, such as weight management and holistic wellness. Most spas offer the usual facials, body wraps, and massages, and many are expanding to include "mind/body awareness" to meet the growing demand for spiritual and physical needs.
Spa managers oversee the operations of the spa facility. They may collaborate with spa owners and spa attendants in planning the activities at spas. They coordinate and direct spa programs and schedules. Spa managers are also responsible for hiring, training, and directing spa employees. They monitor employees' performance and provide guidance for improving employees' services and efficiency.
In large spas, such as those that are franchises with facilities in numerous locations, there may be different departments that handle specific tasks, such as financial aspects and human resources. In small, independently owned spa facilities, spa managers may handle the accounting duties, including recording the daily cash flow and preparing bank deposits. They may also be involved in preparing and managing spa budgets and generating financial statements.
Spa managers may field inquiries about spa services, schedule appointments for clients, and respond to customer complaints. They may order and sell products and offer advice on spa treatments and products. Managers make sure the spa operates according to health, safety, and hygiene standards. They also take continuing education courses throughout their career, to make sure they are up to date on industry standards and best practices.
Resorts often capitalize on their location. Resorts in Hawaii, for example, would offer treatments with fresh seawater, sea salt, seaweed, and Hawaiian plants. In a different kind of environment, a spa and resort may provide very different services. Mud baths, natural hot spring whirlpools, volcanic mineral treatment—resort owners around the world develop their spas with the natural surroundings in mind. This results in very specific training for spa managers and attendants.