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‘No room for error’ during spas reopenings, say Pitsikalis and Ryan

by Megan Whitby | 29 May 2020

Globally, spas have only got one opportunity to get reopening right, says Frank Pitsikalis, chair of the ISPA Foundation board of directors.

Speaking on a Professional Beauty webinar panel recently, Pitsikalis said the pandemic has caused a renewed focus on wellness, but that this means once the industry reopens it will be crucial to avoid mistakes.

“We have to get this right. There should be very strong fundamentals adopted, because the last thing we need as an industry is a misstep or bad PR,” he said. “We’ve got to ensure we have SOPs and guidelines in place, and provide effective training.

“The people developing the guidelines may be well versed in them, but as they bring staff back from furlough, there has to be a training component, along with compliance, to avoid mistakes.”

Pitsikalis revealed ISPA has had reports of spas getting calls about their hygiene standards, saying; “there are lots of eyes on our industry because it’s so high-touch".

Marriott International’s Ken Ryan, VP of global operations: spa, fitness and online retail, urged operators to treat reopening like a new opening, with only one opportunity to take people on the most amazing experience the spa can provide.

“Open having done enough preparation so that when customers walk through the door they’ll have the best experience they possibly can,” he said, “don’t just figure it out along the way – it’s critical the first steps you take are highly calculated.”

He recommended spas work closely with local government and authorities for guidance and to only reopen once they are completely prepared with things like training and PPE, saying: “Make sure you have resources in places to protect both associates and customers”.

Ryan concluded by saying: “It’s likely from what we’re hearing around the world that the first customers coming through your door are going to be a minority and they’re going to be a little more relaxed.

“We need to be very careful that we’re steadfast for the long haul in the procedures and policies we put in place because it’s the customers that come after those carefree guests that are going to be checking your hygiene and cleaning protocols and procedures.

“Stay steadfast with whatever procedures you put in place and continue them for the long haul. You have to make sure that every customer feels comfortable and safe.”

Top 10 takeaways

Be aware more challenging guests will come as time goes by

Treat reopening like a new opening

Work with local government and local authorities

Follow guidelines

Avoid PR disasters. Be aware consumers may report you

Ensure very strong fundamentals are adopted

Train all staff rigorously in new SOPs and supervise for compliance

Be prepared – don’t just figure it out along the way

Stay steadfast with new procedures – prepare for the long-haul

Ensure customers have the very best experience

Frank Pitsikalis  ISPA  Ken Ryan  Marriott International 
Globally, spas have only got one opportunity to get reopening right, says Frank Pitsikalis, chair of the ISPA Foundation board of directors. Speaking on a Professional Beauty webinar panel recently, Pitsikalis said the pandemic has caused a renewed focus on wellness, but that this means once the industry reopens it will be crucial to avoid mistakes. “We have to get this right. There should be very strong fundamentals adopted, because
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Pitsikalis revealed ISPA has had reports of spas getting calls about their hygiene standards
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