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5 Shocking Secrets of Spa Therapists  

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I am based in Asia however it seems that when it comes to the spa industry in general, “don’t ask don’t tell” is the policy that folks often operate from. I had a massage the other day at a Five-Star hotel in my neighborhood. It was serviceable enough and I left feeling better. It was everything else that happened around the service which made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.

I counted six opportunities for retail products to be promoted or recommended to me and not one was taken advantage of. This is not surprising; it is the reason spas are losing so much revenue from low sales.

Here are some points that you as spa management may not be aware of. They have been shared with me during training sessions. Two days ago number 5 was revealed to me while waiting in the checkout line of a food market. It came from the lead therapist at the same spa from which I received my massage.

1They are scared to death of your customer 

Cultural differences can run deep. Often Westerners who tend to be more direct and louder can be intimidating to therapists from an Eastern culture. A trainer that I worked with was told by a therapist that her voice was “scary”.          

2. They don’t conduct pre-treatment interviews from customer intake forms

Your therapists may speak English fairly well but that does not necessarily mean that they read and comprehend it at the same level.  Also because the forms are often in written in cursive it is doubly difficult to discern what the guest is saying. Many therapists won’t ask for clarification. Interviews may be part of your protocol but you have no idea what is not happening behind closed doors.

3.They don’t know when and how to customize a treatment

Customization results from listening well, asking questions and then taking action. It requires customer engagement. The ability to listen is a skill which many therapists inherently have,  but translating that into the proper action can be taught.

4. They don’t know the main ingredients in your top selling skin care item

Therapists have stated to me many times that one reason for their inability to make recommendations and low retail sales is a lack of product knowledge.You may be too busy putting out fires to realize that something this basic is the reason for your sluggish revenue.

5.They have no idea how to up-sell a treatment.

You may assume that because the therapist is seeing the spa menu on a daily basis, they automatically understand how to upgrade a service. Not so, making treatment recommendations is a learned skill. Your front desk can probably benefit from more training as well.

I would highly recommend having a chat with some of your clients at the end of a service rather than just reading their feedback forms. Most often the real story is never written.

If your staff has not been taken through sales training since 2014 it’s probably needed. Now is the time.



Linda Harding-Bond
Linda Harding-Bond is shifting the paradigm on spa retail training. Her Express Online Retail Training Course is exactly what's needed for post-COVID-19 spa re-openings. Designed to bring your therapists' retail skills up to speed, it will quickly position retail as a robust alternate revenue stream. Linda has provided training for many world-class organizations including The Oberoi Group, St. Regis Hotel, Anantara Hotels & Resorts, Shangri-La Hotels, The Resort at Pedregal, GoldenEye Resort and Spa and Six Senses Resorts. She is author of "Listen, Engage, Sell!: The Foolproof Method for Increasing Spa Sales in 7 Days or Less" and "The New Esthy Handbook: an Essential Guide for Novice or Nervous Estheticians". Connect with her at Linda@Moontideconsulting.com .
Linda Harding-Bond

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