Pulse October 2018 - Page 23

NotE: Number of spas rounded to the nearest 100 capacity of the industry to meet ever-increasing demand from customers. The lack of qualified talent is far and away the single most important issue in the industry, cited in some form or other by 40 percent of respondents. Particular shortages are reported of massage therapists, but also notable spikes in shortages of nail technicians and people with management skills. Smaller spas, rural operators and those with seasonal demand find recruitment especially challenging. Aside from the battle for talent, two issues were identified in the regulation space by respondents. The first issue is the difference between states in licensing regulations. The second is the impact of regulations on benefits. For example, it was stated that contract and part-time staff not being regarded as full-time employees with health benefits is a barrier to hiring and keeping good people. Looking ahead, spas across the board are aiming to expand the range of choices available to their clients. Three in five spas said they would be adding or creating new treatment offerings while almost one in two said they would be introducing new product lines. The creation of a new spa menu is planned by 28 percent of spas. Spas are also focused on strengthening their business through internally focused measures. A large majority of spas (59 percent) said they plan to introduce new or revised standard operating procedures. Almost one in four said they will introduce new spa management software. Staffing and employee development also loom large in spas’ plans for 2018, with 54 percent saying they intend to introduce new employee training opportunities, while one in three spas stated their intention to create new jobs. All of this plays into the need for more work on the employee experience as evidenced by the 2018 ISPA Spa Workforce Survey. Client-facing and marketing issues are also on the agenda, with 43 percent of spas planning new community partnerships, 41 percent saying they will be introducing new promotions targeting the male audience and 18 percent of spas indicating an intention to introduce new spa branding. The survey is a snapshot of a key U.S. industry at a moment in time—where the key metrics are all on the rise, profitability is strong and the main barrier to even faster growth is simply a lack of qualified, experienced people. All eyes are on the initia- tives being undertaken to solve this key piece of the jigsaw puzzle. n October 2018 ■ PULSE 21