No Training Budget= Bad Business
I live in Bangkok on a soi (street) in a thriving business district. The soi is lined with vendors selling everything from mangoes to crickets. There are exactly 5 massage businesses and one spa. From time to time my husband and I get a foot massage that is quite good. The therapists are friendly and chatty. When we close our eyes to just enjoy the massage they are sensitive enough to stop talking. This service costs 400 THB or 15 U.S. dollars.
I have on occasion gotten a body massage from one of these businesses. The first time I went it was with the intention of getting a Thai massage, but during my consultation the therapist told me that it might exacerbate my pain. She recommended instead that I get a Swedish massage. She was correct.
It struck me that in many 5 star facilities the therapists would never recommend a service other than the one which was initially booked. Too often I’ve had this experience. Either through the lack of caring, not feeling empowered, shyness or not having a handle on their time management, it just wouldn’t happen. I have also never had a therapist make recommendations about what products I should take home to keep my results going. I’ve initiated the conversation and the response has generally been robotic.
This of course is a problem and speaks to one reason that the spa industry is losing revenue from retail sales. Consumer review sites have not yet caught up to the potential of adding “spas” as a specific category, but it will soon happen. With the spa industry generating 94 billion dollars in global revenues it’s inevitable. It only takes a few poor reviews to cause severe damage to a spa’s reputation.
Proper training for therapists is becoming critical. Traditionally, apart from product instruction they have not had the opportunity to upgrade their skills as it relates to customer service. There should be a measurable distinction between the level of service in a massage storefront on a local soi and that of a five-star hotel or spa. Therapists must learn to engage and communicate with ease. Training must be factored in as part of the yearly budget. It’s just poor business to do otherwise.