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Become A Better Spa Manager: Skills To Master

If you are a spa manager or aspire to be, you’ll know that this is a role of many talents. Between managing guests, staff, creative direction, budgeting and even bookkeeping, spa management requires a wide array of skills. But what skills should you hone in on? What will help you feel successful and fulfilled? We spoke to Eminence Organics PR Manager, Jessica Timberlake to share her valuable insights from her time as a spa director in Southern California. Now on the Board of Directors for the International Spa Association (ISPA) and the Canadian Ambassador for Global Wellness Day, read on to see the skills she cites as invaluable.


Being a strong leader is a foundational skill for spa managers. Leading successfully creates a more engaged team atmosphere, diminishing tension and fostering a warm, calm environment that your guests will notice. Explaining why this is important, Jessica says:

The right leadership is critical to retain staff and keep your team engaged.

“Your staff will look to you as the compass, leading them through each day. Not only will you support them in spa operations, but you’ll mentor them through leading by example. The right leadership is critical to retain staff and keep your team engaged. If your spa director role is at a hotel or resort, leadership is part of the equation beyond the spa walls. You’ll be a role model across the property, championing the guest experience and supporting other executives.”

Jessica’s recommendation to give you inspiration? She says, “45 million viewers can’t be wrong. Carve out a few minutes and sink into this epically influential TED talk by Simon Sinek.” 

Giving And Receiving Feedback

Learning how to give and receive feedback is becoming more and more crucial for managers in every field. According to a survey of business professionals by PwC and cited by LinkedIn, “nearly 60% of survey respondents reported that they would like feedback on a daily or weekly basis — a number that increased to 72% for employees under age 30.” Jesssica has noted this as a crucial area of spa management, sharing:

“To mentor and grow your team, and yourself as well, learning to deliver feedback in a neutral way that will ultimately support your staff in their role is essential to keeping your team engaged. Consider how to receive feedback as well as from who - is it the general manager, or the owners of the hotel? If you own your own spa, is your staff giving you feedback? How do you interpret it?”

When asked how to improve, Jessica suggests you “take a course on LinkedIn Learning and then practice. Before going into a feedback conversation, take time to write your thoughts down and get organized. Play out the scenario with a trusted colleague if it’s a particularly sensitive situation.”

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