Innovation is a hot buzzword. Senior executives in the hospitality industry are burning the midnight oil trying to find ways to innovatively one-up each other. Flying yoga, wellness strategies, sustainability campaigns, the list goes on with one thing in common. They’re all designed to target a larger portion of revenue from the upscale leisure consumer.
But a bird in the hand is definitely worth two in the bush. As an “industry insider” I am constantly surprised at how the spa and hotel business continues to miss the obvious. The spa industry is losing millions in revenue from retail product sales. Obviously if you resolve that problem, a lot will begin to go right again.
I believe that what the spa industry doesn’t see is right in front of their eyes every day. Retail products are primarily recommended and sold by the therapists. Yet for most spas, therapist training is rarely a priority. When it does occur it tends to be a yearly regurgitation of standard protocols or product updates provided at no cost by the distributors. The training is not structured to directly address the needs of today’s customer who seek high levels of engagement, customization and personalization.
When most people think of retail selling, they envision outgoing, extroverts. They don’t think of a quieter introvert which most spa therapists are. Introverts communicate best one-on-one or in smaller groups. They draw their energy from within. Consider the fact that most of their work is performed in a serene setting with very few boisterous interactions.
For introverts, that is the way training should always be conducted as well.
“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” -Dr. Albert Einstein
Perhaps the reason senior management is continuously disappointed by the return on investment for targeted training is simply because it is not designed for the people to whom it is delivered. Traditional sales training does not enhance the qualities which are inherent to the therapist personality type — like listening, intuition, creativity and sensitivity. And when spa managers, many of whom were once therapists, are called upon to deliver follow up training it’s ineffective for them as well.
“The only source of knowledge is experience.”-Dr. Albert Einstein
When training introverts it takes one to know one. As a former therapist I am most effective when I put myself in my student’s shoes. Training of almost any topic was a problem for me if I was called upon to be in the spotlight unless the environment was extremely safe.
If the spa industry truly wants to recoup the revenue that keeps walking out of the door, maybe it’s time to try something new.