Spa Executive October 2022

Spa Executive magazine, October 2022 issue

Spa Executive magazine, October 2022 issue


Create successful ePaper yourself

Turn your PDF publications into a flip-book with our unique Google optimized e-Paper software.

ISSUE #40 OCTOBER <strong>2022</strong><br />



Spotlight:<br />

Four Seasons’ Christelle Besnier on what makes an<br />

effective spa director and a great guest experience<br />

Management:<br />

7 signs you shouldn’t hire someone at your spa<br />

Advice:<br />

Help! My hours have been cut while a newer<br />

employee has more hours than me<br />

Feature:<br />

Wellness trend: talking menopause<br />

and perimenopause


Roger Sholanki<br />


Elizabeth Bromstein<br />


Design Pickle<br />



Sal Capizzi<br />

Note from the Publisher<br />

Dear readers,<br />

As <strong>2022</strong> enters the fourth quarter, it’s time to start looking forward to what will be happening<br />

in our industry in the next year. This means looking at the spa and wellness trends looming<br />

on the horizon. There are those who don’t like the word “trends” and who shy away from<br />

making predictions about what the future holds. We at <strong>Spa</strong> <strong>Executive</strong> are not among them.<br />

We might not be right all of the time, but our batting average is actually pretty impressive, and<br />

it’s fun!<br />

So, in this issue we’re looking at something almost everyone is talking about lately - women’s<br />

health and menopause. It’s refreshing to see people finally paying attention to something<br />

that, until recently, almost nobody talked about, despite the fact that half the global<br />

population will go through it during their lives and that many will suffer debilitating and life<br />

altering symptoms. Better late than never.<br />

For our spotlight interview, we also spoke with Four Seasons’ Senior <strong>Spa</strong> Director, Middle East<br />

and Africa, Christelle Besnier, about what she’s excited about in the industry. Besnier told us<br />

that, “post Covid, we see that wellness is so recognizable everywhere, like wellness at work.<br />

Everyone wants to start their fitness goals again. The development of wellness programs is to<br />

me quite important. I hope to see a new reality after Covid that some behaviors will change.<br />

I am really looking forward to see how the near future will translate wellness and how we will<br />

be the artisans of wellbeing and living well.”<br />

We also take a look inside one of Ms. Besnier’s spas, The Pearl <strong>Spa</strong> & Wellness at Four<br />

Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi, as our featured property, and cover the topic of signs you<br />

shouldn’t hire someone to work at your spa.<br />

<strong>Spa</strong> <strong>Executive</strong><br />

<strong>Spa</strong> <strong>Executive</strong> is Book4Time’s<br />

magazine for leaders in the<br />

business of wellness. News,<br />

views, and interviews for those<br />

who want to attract top talent,<br />

increase customer retention,<br />

and offer the best possible<br />

guest experience.<br />

And in our popular new advice column, Sal Capizzi, answers a reader question asking about<br />

what to do when their spa hours have been cut while a newer employee has more hours<br />

than they do. If you have a question about managing staff, operations, or anything else you<br />

want to know (challenge him!) send it to Sal at scapizzi@spaexecutive.com.<br />

I hope you enjoy reading this month’s articles in <strong>Spa</strong> <strong>Executive</strong> and they provide valuable<br />

information to help you achieve success.<br />

Roger Sholanki,<br />

CEO,<br />


Contents<br />

<strong>October</strong> <strong>2022</strong> Volume 40<br />

4<br />

NEWS:<br />

Wellness trend: talking<br />

menopause and perimenopause<br />

7<br />


Dear Sal, help! My hours have<br />

been cut while a newer employee<br />

has more hours than me<br />

9<br />

FEATURE:<br />

The CARING checklist for spa,<br />

wellness & hospitality<br />

13<br />


The Pearl <strong>Spa</strong> & Wellness at Four<br />

Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi<br />

16<br />


7 signs you shouldn’t hire someone<br />

at your spa<br />

18<br />


Four Seasons’ Christelle Besnier<br />

on what makes an effective<br />

spa director and a great<br />

guest experience<br />

20<br />

NEWS:<br />

Wellness trend: ketamine

News<br />

Wellness<br />

trend: talking<br />

menopause and<br />

perimenpause<br />

Empowered and emboldened by numbers,<br />

social media, and celebrity voices, women<br />

are talking openly about the previously taboo<br />

topics of menopause & perimenopause.<br />

Half the global population will go through<br />

menopause during their lives. And yet, until<br />

recently, nobody talked about it, a mind<br />

blowing reality, considering the debilitating<br />

and confusing symptoms that can<br />

accompany these life changing events. There<br />

are dozens of these symptoms that include<br />

but aren’t limited to:<br />

Bloating<br />

Weight gain<br />

Constipation<br />

Digestive issues<br />

Migraines<br />

Non-migraine headaches<br />

Short-term memory loss<br />

Brain fog<br />

Night sweats<br />

Chills<br />

Heart palpitations<br />

Hair loss<br />

Bone loss<br />

Mood swings<br />

Depression<br />

Itchy skin<br />

Dry skin<br />

Joint pain<br />

Back pain<br />

Sleep problems<br />

Fatigue<br />

Urinary incontinence<br />

Reduced sex drive<br />

Doctors didn’t even recognize perimenopause as<br />

a real thing<br />

The list goes on, yet women have been<br />

suffering in virtual silence as the only<br />

recognition menopause got, until recently,<br />

was either as a source of humor or in<br />

whispered tones accompanied by winks<br />

or eye rolls (there’s a good Los Angeles<br />

Times article about all this here). Women<br />

were too embarrassed to ask questions<br />

and seek relief for a variety of reasons that<br />

include shame over getting older and men’s<br />

discomfort with the topic.<br />

Some doctors barely recognized<br />

perimenopause (the symptoms caused<br />

by changing hormones in the 5-10 years<br />

leading up to the menopause) as a real thing<br />

until recently, and sufferers are still often<br />

told the symptoms are all in our heads.<br />

People – many of them women – are waking up<br />

to the potential revenue in the menopause and<br />

perimenopause market<br />

Well, the tides have changed. Women<br />

empowered and emboldened by numbers,<br />

social media, and celebrity voices have<br />

started to talk and look for answers.<br />

Moreover, people – many of them women<br />

– are waking up to the potential revenue in<br />

the menopause and perimenopause market.<br />

4<br />

| <strong>Spa</strong> <strong>Executive</strong>

Takes on the topic differ. Courteney Cox<br />

recently made an update to the 1985<br />

Tampax commercial in which the American<br />

actress became the first person to use the<br />

word “period” in a national ad (we have been<br />

afraid of these topics for a long time). In the<br />

new version, which Cox, now 58 , posted on<br />

Instagram, she wears an almost identical<br />

outfit to the one she wore in the eighties<br />

and riffs on the same lines she<br />

said all those years ago, this time talking<br />

about menopause.<br />

Not all women agree that there is “nothing”<br />

good about menopause<br />

Not all women agree that there is “nothing”<br />

good about menopause. For some, the end<br />

of periods and fertility can be a blessing, but<br />

it’s still a struggle.<br />

Australian actress, Naomi Watts, meanwhile,<br />

is launching a “menopausal wellness brand”<br />

called Stripes, in partnership with Amyris.<br />

Watts wrote in an Instagram post:<br />

“When I was in my late 30s, I was finally ready<br />

to start thinking about creating a family. Then<br />

the M word swiftly blew my doors down, it felt<br />

like a head-on collision with a Mack truck.<br />

“How could I figure this out when no one<br />

was talking? I was earlier to it than my peers.<br />

My mentors and mum didn’t seem up for<br />

discussing it, I didn’t know how to ask for<br />

help and they didn’t know how to provide….<br />

even doctors had little to say. It’s oddly like<br />

an unwritten code of silence: women should<br />

suck it up and cope, because that’s how<br />

generations passed have done it.<br />

Replacing the words, “Tampax can change<br />

the way you feel about your period,” she<br />

says, “Menopause can change the way<br />

you feel about getting older,” adding,<br />

“Menopause will eat you alive. It’s horrible.<br />

Nothing else can do that,” and “Plus, you get<br />

the added bonus of drier skin, and getting<br />

bald patches.”<br />

She closes with “Remember—there is<br />

nothing good about menopause. It can<br />

actually change the way you feel about<br />

getting older.”<br />

“I think it’s time to see women in this phase<br />

of life or this age group be well represented.<br />

We’ve been under-served in media, stories and<br />

marketing far too long.”<br />

And Stacy London, former host of TLC’s What<br />

Not to Wear and current CEO of State of<br />

Menopause, a company to help people “feel<br />

their best during menopause,” is hosting the<br />

first Menopause CEO Summit in New York<br />

City this fall on <strong>October</strong> 18, which is World<br />

Menopause Day.<br />

5<br />

| <strong>Spa</strong> <strong>Executive</strong>

Womeness offers solutions for symptoms like dry skin, low libido, and hot flashes that include a<br />

Menopause Survival Kit and a Sexual Wellness Kit<br />

Forbes reported that speaking at the<br />

conference are leaders in “the up-and-coming<br />

field of menopause health.” The companies<br />

helmed by these leaders all offer some kind<br />

of menopause wellness solution. They include<br />

Womaness, a company offering solutions for<br />

symptoms like dry skin, low libido, and hot<br />

flashes that include a Menopause Survival Kit<br />

and a Sexual Wellness Kit. And Evernow, a<br />

start-up offering prescriptions and sciencebacked<br />

solutions for menopausal and<br />

perimenopausal women. Investors include<br />

Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz. Another<br />

example is Thermaband, a wearable device<br />

that automatically detects body temperature<br />

and delivers battery-powered cooling or<br />

warming based on the wearer’s needs.<br />

A wellness movement has been born. Expect<br />

it to flourish as this formerly underserved<br />

market gains traction and more of the<br />

industry catches on.<br />

Better late than never.<br />

Thermaband is a wearable device that automatically detects body temperature and delivers batterypowered<br />

cooling or warming based on the wearer’s needs.<br />

6<br />

| <strong>Spa</strong> <strong>Executive</strong>

Dear Sal, help! My hours have been cut while<br />

a newer employee has more hours than me<br />

Sal Capizzi, Marketing Director at Book4Time<br />

and a former Director of <strong>Spa</strong> and Wellness<br />

at NEXUS Luxury Collection, shares his expert<br />

insight into your reader questions.<br />

Send your queries about managing staff,<br />

operations, and anything else you want to know<br />

(challenge him!) to scapizzi@spaexecutive.com.<br />

Q. Hello, Sal.<br />

I have been happily working at my hotelresort<br />

spa for one and a half years as a spa<br />

coordinator. My manager has informed all of<br />

us that our hours would be cut because of<br />

this slow time.<br />

I was hired full-time before the newest parttime<br />

coordinator, yet she has more hours<br />

than I have weekly. I really enjoy my career<br />

and do not know what to do or who to turn<br />

to about this unfair amount of hours that has<br />

been given to me. Please advise me.<br />

at a resort that is highly dependent on travel<br />

demand.<br />

My first thought would be to have a<br />

discussion with your boss to learn the hard<br />

facts. I would be curious to know if this<br />

happened last year as well, I know you had<br />

mentioned you have been with this brand for<br />

a year and a half. Do they have a slow season<br />

each year or was this a one-off decision?<br />

Nonetheless, frustrating because you may<br />

have a family to take care of or other people<br />

depending on you.<br />

Thank you.<br />

A. Hello,<br />

First and foremost I am sorry your hours have<br />

been reduced. The past couple of years in<br />

the spa and wellness industry have been a<br />

bit volatile for everyone from management<br />

to practitioners, especially if you are working<br />

I would schedule a time to meet your<br />

manager and ask questions like: How long do<br />

they anticipate this “slow period?” If it is an<br />

annual occurrence, why wasn’t it mentioned<br />

to you when you were hired? Is this solely<br />

based on the slow period and not because<br />

of performance related issues? But also tune<br />

into what your gut is telling you. Have you<br />

noticed a change in foot traffic? Does the spa<br />

7<br />

| <strong>Spa</strong> <strong>Executive</strong>

seem slower? If yes, then budgeting in that<br />

department is definitely coming into play<br />

and that’s never easy for anybody from the<br />

messenger to the recipient.<br />

But this isn’t the end of the world. The<br />

majority of people in the industry are wearing<br />

many hats right now. Do you see yourself in<br />

a management position in the future? Now<br />

may be a great time to segue. Let your boss,<br />

and their boss know that you are interested<br />

in picking up additional hours across other<br />

departments if possible. Highlight your<br />

strengths and the transferable skills you<br />

have learned in this department and from<br />

the brand itself to showcase your worth.<br />

Hopefully they see that you’re eager to not<br />

only learn more but your commitment to stay<br />

with this brand.<br />

I do hope this helps and that they have<br />

additional opportunities for you before the<br />

spa needs you back full time again.<br />

Sometimes all hands are tied when it comes<br />

to certain things and it may be time to see<br />

yourself at another brand or even begin<br />

passively or actively looking for another<br />

opportunity you are interested in. It’s always<br />

tough to make that call especially when you<br />

love what you do and the co-workers with<br />

whom you have spent the past year and a<br />

half building relationships. But if it comes to<br />

that point, you should rest easier knowing<br />

that you put your best foot forward and<br />

opened yourself up to your boss and the<br />

company by expressing that you wanted to<br />

learn more and take on more with them!<br />

Good luck!<br />

Sal.<br />

8<br />

| <strong>Spa</strong> <strong>Executive</strong>

The CARING checklist for spa,<br />

wellness & hospitality<br />

There are some common best practices for spa,<br />

wellness & hospitality success. We’re outlining<br />

those practices here. Together, they make up<br />

the acronym “CARING.”<br />

As we head into 2023, wellness is seeing<br />

a surge in interest and people are eager<br />

to travel. There are heightened desires for<br />

sustainable health and wellness practices,<br />

human contact, and new experiences. We<br />

are living in an incredible time for those<br />

who are ready to take advantage of this<br />

interest and prepared to devote themselves<br />

to business success and applying the<br />

lessons we’ve learned over the last<br />

few years.<br />

There are some common best practices<br />

that will help your spa, wellness, and/or<br />

hospitality business thrive in the next<br />

year and beyond. We’re outlining those<br />

practices here. Together, they make up the<br />

acronym “CARING.”<br />

Communication<br />

Adaptability/Agility<br />

Resilience<br />

Innovation<br />

Network building<br />

Gratitude<br />

Read on to learn why taking a CARING<br />

approach to your business will set you up<br />

for success in the coming year and beyond.<br />

Communication<br />

Communication between everyone<br />

at your organization will always bring<br />

success. When setting your goals and KPIs,<br />

communicating these goals, and how you<br />

plan to achieve them, to stakeholders<br />

is key.<br />

Everyone at your company should be<br />

aligned and working together towards<br />

common objectives. Your software<br />

should allow you to stay connected to<br />

each other, to track KPIs, and facilitate<br />

performance management. The information<br />

gathered from your software’s reporting<br />

dashboard should serve as a facilitator for<br />

communication between you and both your<br />

team and the people to whom you answer.<br />

Additionally, communication with guests<br />

is key to elevating the guest experience<br />

and building and maintaining relationships.<br />

Effectively communicating what you have<br />

to offer and keeping the lines open is what<br />

will keep guests coming back and help the<br />

relationship grow.<br />

A good communicator is first and foremost<br />

a good listener. Listening to guest needs –<br />

which includes listening for things that are<br />

unsaid – allows you to meet and exceed<br />

those needs. This is where recording guest<br />

information in your spa software system<br />

comes in. A guest should never have to tell<br />

you something important more than once.<br />

Having to repeat oneself is a sure sign that<br />

the other party is not listening.<br />

9<br />

| <strong>Spa</strong> <strong>Executive</strong>

Adaptability/Agility<br />

Adaptability is the ability to adjust to<br />

change and new conditions. Every business<br />

has to navigate uncertainty and unexpected<br />

disruption, and we can only plan for what<br />

we can envision. It’s the disruptions we<br />

can’t envision that are the true tests of our<br />

adaptability. Something business leaders<br />

learned over the past few years is that<br />

disruption is impossible to predict. That’s<br />

what makes it disruptive.<br />

The result of adaptability is agility. An agile<br />

company is a business that can adapt<br />

quickly to market changes.<br />

Hospitality was one of the hardest hit<br />

sectors in the world during the recent<br />

upheaval we experienced during the<br />

COVID-19 pandemic.. It was agile<br />

businesses that fared the best, those that<br />

were flexible and that made the effort to<br />

pivot and try new things, started offering<br />

online classes and connecting with guests<br />

virtually, introduced touchless therapies<br />

and contactless experiences, leveraged<br />

retail, and showed courage and creativity.<br />

Becoming an agile company means hiring<br />

flexible, creative teams with multiple<br />

talents, open minds, and a willingness to<br />

learn. It also requires leadership that is<br />

always willing to learn and look for ways to<br />

apply those learnings.<br />

Resilience<br />

An article in the Harvard Business Review<br />

(HBR) defines resilience as “a company’s<br />

capacity to absorb stress, recover<br />

critical functionality, and thrive in altered<br />

circumstances.”<br />

We’ve recently become aware of how<br />

important resilience is, and many business<br />

leaders have resolved to increase the<br />

resiliency of their organizations. However,<br />

the HBR article points out, “very few<br />

companies are able to explicitly design for,<br />

measure, and manage resilience.”<br />

Fortunately, there are principles of longlasting<br />

systems one can implement to<br />

structure an organization for resilience.<br />

These include diversity, which means<br />

employing people from diverse<br />

backgrounds and with diverse skill sets, and<br />

creating an environment that encourages<br />

diverse ways of thinking. This helps beget<br />

an array of innovative responses to<br />

problems, which can protect against failure<br />

and collapse. Diversity can also mean<br />

offering a diverse array of menu options<br />

beyond the traditional one-to-one, handson<br />

treatment with a therapist. And it can<br />

mean diversifying revenue streams, so that<br />

you are not at risk of collapse if you lose<br />

just one stream. Diverse revenue streams<br />

can include gift cards, memberships, and<br />

subscription services.<br />

Building ecosystems within, and outside<br />

of, your organization – with vendors,<br />

suppliers, and even partnering with other<br />

businesses – can help create resilience<br />

when more standalone businesses are<br />

more vulnerable.<br />

Resilience also requires prudence, humility,<br />

forward thinking, adaptability, collaboration,<br />

and more. Devote yourself to becoming<br />

resilient. There’s no guarantee of survival<br />

but creating a resilient organization<br />

will help.<br />

Innovation<br />

Innovation is always valuable and necessary<br />

and is an important part of business success<br />

in any industry. It is the process or act of<br />

introducing new ideas, approaches, concepts,<br />

products, and processes.<br />

Until very recently, the spa and wellness<br />

sectors had been somewhat overly steeped<br />

in traditionalism for many years, as has<br />

been noted more than once by industry<br />

leaders. There was resistance to change<br />

and a reluctance to embrace technology<br />

and innovation. This is less the case since<br />

the COVID-19 pandemic forced global<br />

industries to accelerate technological<br />

advancement to the rate of decades in<br />

days. Now, more people understand the<br />

importance of innovation.<br />

As we move forward as an industry post<br />

COVID pandemic, there will be more<br />

disruption and further technological<br />

advancement. Biogenetic testing,<br />

bioengineering, robotics, virtual and<br />

augmented reality, nanotech, AI, wearables,<br />

and software may all contribute to massive<br />

change in the industry over the next<br />

decade. Businesses with the wherewithal<br />

to innovate along with these and other<br />

technologies will thrive.<br />

Innovation can be as simple as finding<br />

new ways to package and offer existing<br />

experiences. We might find whole new<br />

offerings in new available technologies,<br />

or find ways to integrate new tech into<br />

existing services.<br />

Network building<br />

As mentioned above, networks and<br />

ecosystems will help safeguard against<br />

disruption and also help grow revenue in<br />

the new era. It’s much more difficult to thrive<br />

alone than it is to thrive within an active<br />

network, the components of which rely on<br />

each other for survival.<br />

Your network includes your guests, with<br />

10 | <strong>Spa</strong> <strong>Executive</strong>

whom you are obviously already working<br />

to build relationships. It also includes your<br />

guests’ connections, including colleagues,<br />

friends, and family. With your existing<br />

customers as your ambassadors, their<br />

referrals should make up a significant portion<br />

of your new customers. The same thing<br />

applies to your team members, who are also<br />

part of your network. Their referrals should<br />

be helping you find new talent.<br />

Your network includes the other departments<br />

at your organization, if your spa is a part of<br />

a hotel or resort. Integrating departments<br />

will help things run more efficiently and<br />

successfully than working in silos. Your<br />

network includes businesses with which you<br />

partner, and it includes your visiting experts.<br />

Each of these elements of your network<br />

should be nurtured and maintained.<br />

Networks can also refer to your internal<br />

systems and integrations, working together to<br />

create a seamless guest experience. Online<br />

and mobile booking, contactless check-in and<br />

check-out, and integrated payment systems<br />

all help create that experience.<br />

Gratitude<br />

The importance of gratitude can be<br />

overplayed in self-help circles, but it’s often<br />

underplayed in business. The power of<br />

saying “thank you” can go a long way towards<br />

building successful businesses.<br />

Research on gratitude has reportedly<br />

exploded over the past 20 years and studies<br />

of gratitude at work have linked it to “more<br />

positive emotions, less stress and fewer<br />

health complaints, a greater sense that we<br />

can achieve our goals, fewer sick days, and<br />

higher satisfaction with our jobs and our<br />

coworkers.” According to Berkeley’s Greater<br />

Good Magazine, “evidence suggests that<br />

gratitude and appreciation contribute to<br />

the kind of workplace environments where<br />

employees actually want to come to work and<br />

don’t feel like cogs in a machine.”<br />

You need your team to love where they work<br />

in order to provide the best guest experience.<br />

But that gratitude has to be genuine.<br />

“[Gratitude is] going to make your business<br />

more profitable, you’re going to be more<br />

effective, your employees will be more<br />

engaged—but if that’s the only reason you’re<br />

doing it, your employees are going to think<br />

you’re using them,” Steve Foran, founder of<br />

the program Gratitude at Work, is quoted as<br />

saying. “You have to genuinely want the best<br />

for your people.”<br />

Gratitude at Work also cites research findings<br />

that 81% of people would work harder for a<br />

grateful boss and that the top reason people<br />

leave their jobs is because they don’t feel<br />

appreciated.<br />

You want your customers to feel valued and<br />

appreciated, and the surest way to convey<br />

this appreciation is to say “thank you.” —<br />

“Thank you for your business,” “Thank you<br />

for referring a friend,” “Thank you for being a<br />

wonderful guest…”<br />

Gratitude that your business has made it this<br />

far will help you make it even further.<br />

Say “thank you.” Say it loudly and often.<br />

Apply the CARING approach to your<br />

hospitality, spa, or wellness business and<br />

let us know if you see the results! To learn<br />

more about Book4Time and how our leading<br />

software can help your spa business thrive,<br />

visit www.book4time.com.<br />

11 | <strong>Spa</strong> <strong>Executive</strong>





Book4Time is the global leader in spa, wellness, and leisure activity management software for the hospitality market. Our SaaS<br />

platform manages the end-to-end guest experience and back-office operations for some of the world’s top hotels, resorts, casinos,<br />

and private clubs in more than 85 countries.<br />

Book4Time is experiencing rapid growth and is hiring experienced professionals in a number of key roles including:<br />

Customer<br />

Success<br />

Software<br />

Development<br />

Marketing<br />

Product<br />

Management<br />

Sales<br />

If you thrive on innovation and are you looking for a compelling career<br />

opportunity, view our current openings<br />

@ https://book4time.com/careers/<br />

We look forward to working with you!

Featured property:<br />

The Pearl <strong>Spa</strong> & Wellness at Four<br />

Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi<br />

The Pearl <strong>Spa</strong> & Wellness at Four Seasons<br />

Hotel Abu Dhabi is designed to embrace guests<br />

and cater to every facet of wellbeing with<br />

experiences formulated to help you “find your<br />

inner pearl.”<br />

The Pearl <strong>Spa</strong> & Wellness at Four Seasons<br />

Hotel Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island occupies<br />

two floors and spans over 21,500 square<br />

feet. The spa has eight treatment rooms, a<br />

beautiful relaxation area, wet facilities, a co-ed<br />

fitness center and a women’s-only gym. Each<br />

treatment room includes soft sheets and a<br />

private shower while a large couple’s suite<br />

includes a Jacuzzi for two.<br />

The space is designed to embrace guests<br />

and cater to every facet of wellbeing with<br />

experiences formulated to help you “find your<br />

inner pearl.” Senior <strong>Spa</strong> Director, Middle East<br />

and Africa, for Four Seasons Hotels, Christelle<br />

Besnier, who is our Spotlight interview for<br />

this month, describes the spa as “traditional,”<br />

explaining that “You feel the culture of the<br />

Middle East,” when visiting.<br />

Each of the Four Seasons Pearl <strong>Spa</strong>s has<br />

a signature oil with special scents that are<br />

blended and sourced locally. Besnier told us,<br />

“In Abu Dhabi, we have za’atar, white fig, and<br />

white tea. It’s very warm. You really feel the<br />

Middle East when you have your massage.”<br />

The Four Seasons brand is known for the<br />

highest standard of guest experience and the<br />

spa’s immersive environment delivers with<br />

exquisite treatments and high-quality brands.<br />

Unwind in a relaxation room with Jing teas<br />

and auto-adjusting beds, enjoy a romantic<br />

massage in the couple’s suite, or try the<br />

only heated quartz sand table in Abu Dhabi,<br />

which is said to help increase relaxation and<br />

alleviate pain.<br />

Every detail of The Pearl <strong>Spa</strong> & Wellness<br />

brings you the essence of the UAE’s rich<br />

traditions, from the design of the spa to the<br />

therapies themselves. And with decades<br />

of experience and passion, the team of<br />

international therapists have guests in<br />

expert hands.<br />

Stand out menu items include:<br />


“Begin your authentic beautifying ritual with<br />

a full body coffee exfoliation. Allow the rich<br />

emollient oils of camel milk and the warm<br />

aromas of honey to envelop your body. A<br />

traditional deeply nourishing hair treatment<br />

concludes the experience leaving your skin<br />

rejuvenated and nourished.”<br />

13 | <strong>Spa</strong> <strong>Executive</strong>


“A combination of deep tissue, Swedish,<br />

lymphatic drainage and acupressure points will<br />

release deep seated tension from the body. This<br />

specialized full body massage together with<br />

the benefits of Oud will stimulate circulation,<br />

remove accumulated toxins and relieve<br />

water retention.”<br />


“Enjoy an exclusive massage experience by<br />

customizing your time and therapist’s touch<br />

using a blend of our signature UAE <strong>Spa</strong><br />

collection oils and massage techniques. A<br />

personal consultation will ensure that you<br />

receive a unique treatment to suit your<br />

wellness needs.”<br />

14 | <strong>Spa</strong> <strong>Executive</strong>




Enjoy the contact-less experience.

7 signs you<br />

shouldn’t hire<br />

someone at<br />

your spa<br />

When interviewing a new potential hire for<br />

your spa, there are some red flags you should<br />

not ignore. Here are some signs you shouldn’t<br />

hire someone at your spa.<br />

When interviewing a new potential team<br />

member for your spa, there are some red<br />

flags you should not ignore.<br />

The staffing situation is always difficult<br />

in this industry and that can sometimes<br />

lead people to ignore the signs that<br />

someone might not be a good hire. This<br />

is understandable, but can lead to bigger<br />

problems, because hiring a bad employee<br />

can cost you more in the long run than not<br />

hiring anyone at all. You don’t just want to fill<br />

a role. You want to fill it with someone who<br />

is reliable, professional, and personable,<br />

and who will maintain or surpass your high<br />

customer experience standards. You want to<br />

fill it with someone you won’t have to replace<br />

in three months.<br />

This isn’t always easy and we can’t always<br />

get what we want. What you can do is take<br />

note of red flags and weigh them against the<br />

job candidate’s skills, experience, and other<br />

qualities – and make the most appropriate<br />

decision based on all available information.<br />

Some small issues may be possible to deal<br />

with in training and onboarding, while others<br />

may not.<br />

Here are some signs you shouldn’t hire<br />

someone at your spa, or at least that you<br />

should take a closer look before hiring.<br />

They’re late to the interview<br />

This applies to all industries to varying<br />

degrees, but you really need your spa team<br />

members to be on point. They have a lot to<br />

stay on top of when providing services and<br />

treatments: schedules, cleaning, sanitation,<br />

customer notes and information, sales… you<br />

therefore want to hire people who can stay<br />

on their game. This means, at the very least,<br />

showing up on time to the interview. The<br />

job interview is when people are on their<br />

best behavior – it’s not going to get better<br />

from there. So, if they’re late to the interview<br />

(unless they got hit by a car or lightning or<br />

something), they’re likely to be late later.<br />

They are otherwise unprepared<br />

<strong>Spa</strong> workers need to be the sort of people<br />

who like to be prepared – maybe even<br />

overprepared. It’s not just about preparing<br />

the room and staying on top of stocking<br />

and cleaning. It’s also about familiarizing<br />

themselves with the customer information<br />

before the guest arrives at the spa and<br />

readying everything required to personalize<br />

that experience and make it as amazing as<br />

possible. Showing up prepared shows you<br />

care. Your job candidate should come to the<br />

interview knowing about your spa and what<br />

makes it special and unique. If the spa is<br />

part of a hotel or resort, they should be able<br />

to tell you why they want to work there. They<br />

16 | <strong>Spa</strong> <strong>Executive</strong>

should have prepared questions to ask and<br />

have ready answers to your questions.<br />

They trash talk their former employer<br />

or colleagues<br />

No job candidate should ever speak<br />

negatively about a former employer or<br />

colleague, regardless what their experience<br />

was at another job. This is a bad sign for a<br />

few reasons. One is that it’s a potential sign<br />

that the person tends to blame others and<br />

doesn’t take responsibility for their own<br />

mistakes or behavior. It’s also a potential<br />

sign of a gossip who lacks discretion and<br />

solid judgment, and who may talk behind the<br />

backs of their colleagues, customers, and<br />

managers (which might be you) in future.<br />

Even if there is reason for a true grievance<br />

with another person, diplomacy is key.<br />

They show a lack of humility and empathy<br />

Your spa service providers and front desk<br />

team should have the ability to connect with<br />

people, and the interpersonal skills required<br />

to do that include humility and empathy.<br />

These skills are demonstrated in many ways,<br />

most of which are simple and obvious, like<br />

listening. You can often tell when a person<br />

is actively listening rather than just waiting<br />

to talk, because they respond to what you<br />

are saying and ask appropriate follow-up<br />

questions. And you can tell something about<br />

whether a person shows empathy by the<br />

way they treat others around them who are<br />

not in a position to help them or advance<br />

their career – so, anyone who is not doing<br />

the hiring, for example, like a<br />

desk staff member. You can find job<br />

interview questions you can ask to assess<br />

empathy here:<br />

Tepid references<br />

Don’t skip the reference checking, and pay<br />

attention to what people say – while also<br />

17 | <strong>Spa</strong> <strong>Executive</strong><br />

paying attention to what they don’t say.<br />

In some places, like Canada for example,<br />

former employers will almost never say<br />

anything outright negative about a former<br />

employee. While it’s not illegal to give a bad<br />

reference (in Canada) it can open you up to<br />

a defamation lawsuit and nobody wants to<br />

risk that. They might therefore confirm that<br />

a person worked there but not say much<br />

else. You may be able to ask if the person is<br />

eligible for rehiring and they can tell you that<br />

the person is or is not eligible. Obviously,<br />

anything other than a glowing review should<br />

be cause for pause.<br />

They think they know everything<br />

Arrogance is a bad sign in a spa employee,<br />

because the ability to adjust and adapt to<br />

each guest and learn from one’s everyday<br />

experience is key. A good employee is<br />

always learning and growing, and continues<br />

to do so throughout their career. If someone<br />

appears resistant to the idea of training and<br />

ongoing learning, they will likely eventually<br />

stagnate in their role. Look for an eagerness<br />

to learn and a curiosity about the world of<br />

wellness, the world in general, and your<br />

own experience.<br />

Your gut tells you something is off<br />

Listen to your gut. It might know something<br />

you don’t. Research findings suggest that<br />

there’s a neurological basis for intuition or<br />

“gut feelings.” Scientists call the stomach the<br />

“second brain” and in it, there is a neural<br />

network of 100 million neurons lining the<br />

digestive tract.<br />

According to HBR, when your brain works<br />

in tandem with your gut it can assess<br />

“your memories, past learnings, personal<br />

needs, and preferences,” and make the<br />

wisest decision given the context. “In this<br />

way, intuition is a form of emotional and<br />

experiential data that leaders need to value.”<br />

CEOs of major corporations often credit<br />

their success to this intuition.<br />

That doesn’t mean your gut can’t be wrong.<br />

But if it’s telling you something is off, pay<br />

attention to that message.<br />

Also pay attention to these signs you<br />

shouldn’t hire someone at your spa. They<br />

might not be 100% dealbreakers but<br />

they are indications you should take<br />

another look.

Four Seasons’ Christelle Besnier on what<br />

makes an effective spa director and a great<br />

guest experience<br />

Four Seasons’ Senior <strong>Spa</strong> Director, Middle East<br />

and Africa, Christelle Besnier, talks about her<br />

spas and the habits of effective spa directors.<br />

Christelle Besnier is the Senior <strong>Spa</strong> Director,<br />

Middle East and Africa, for Four Seasons<br />

Hotels. With a passion for setting the<br />

standard across Abu Dhabi and Dubai for<br />

wellness, Ms. Besnier’s goal is “to perfect the<br />

entire guest experience from end to end.”<br />

Her career started with a specialized<br />

tourism agency in Cannes, through which<br />

she was introduced to hospitality at the<br />

Hotel Metropole where she moved to work<br />

in sales and marketing and moved up the<br />

ranks through the executive office, working<br />

on special projects and guest relations. Ms.<br />

Besnier says, “When the project of the spa<br />

came along, with ESPA at that time, I wanted<br />

to be a part of it. I didn’t even know what<br />

spa was and I was very excited about it. So, I<br />

worked on the pre-opening of the Metropole<br />

<strong>Spa</strong>, Monte Carlo.”<br />

She then opened the Guerlain spa at Hotel<br />

du Palais in Biarritz and worked as an<br />

international trainer for Caudalie Cosmetics<br />

before returning to the hospitality industry<br />

(“I missed hospitality and being a part of<br />

a team,” she says), taking on the roles of<br />

Assistant Manager, then <strong>Spa</strong> Manager, and<br />

finally <strong>Spa</strong> Director at the Hotel George V in<br />

Paris. She later left to open the spa at the<br />

Four Seasons Abu Dhabi, moving her family<br />

and twin girls (now 10 years old) with her.<br />

Ms. Besnier is now in Dubai overseeing<br />

a collection of three spas in the United<br />

Arab Emirates: the Pearl <strong>Spa</strong> and Wellness<br />

Jumeirah, The Pearl <strong>Spa</strong> and Wellness DIFC,<br />

and the Pearl <strong>Spa</strong> and Wellness Abu Dhabi,<br />

while also doing regional duties overlooking<br />

all Saudi and Beirut projects.<br />

We connected with Christelle Besnier to talk<br />

about Four Seasons spas in the Middle East<br />

and what makes a great guest experience<br />

and effective spa director.<br />

Can you talk about the three spas you oversee<br />

for Four Seasons in the UAE?<br />

They are amazing. With this collection, we<br />

are celebrating the identity of each spa.<br />

So, Abu Dhabi, which I consider my baby,<br />

because I opened it, is a city hotel. It’s a<br />

two-floor spa with eight treatment rooms,<br />

a beautiful relaxation area, wet facilities,<br />

and a big fitness center. That spa is more<br />

traditional. You feel the culture of the<br />

Middle East.<br />

We have signature oils with special scents<br />

18 | <strong>Spa</strong> <strong>Executive</strong>

that are blended and sourced locally. In<br />

Abu Dhabi, we have za’atar, white fig, and<br />

white tea. It’s very warm. You really feel the<br />

Middle East when you have your massage.<br />

In DIFC we have myrrh and black tea, so<br />

it’s very warming as well, amazing for the<br />

muscle tension, and it represents the bustle<br />

of Dubai because that spa is nestled inside<br />

DIFC, so it’s full of business traffic, and when<br />

you come to the spa, you have an amazing<br />

feeling of relaxation. That spa is very small,<br />

with only five treatment rooms, no steam<br />

room, no sauna, but there is access to an<br />

outdoor glass pool and jacuzzi that overlook<br />

the Dubai skyline. The resort at Jumeirah is<br />

bigger, with 10 treatment rooms, including<br />

a double couples suite, an indoor pool,<br />

relaxation rooms, outdoor area, fitness<br />

center, and tennis court. The signature oil<br />

there is more resort-y. We are surrounded<br />

by beautiful frangipani, so our scent is<br />

frangipani, lavender, and neroli, promoting<br />

relaxation and disconnection.<br />

The brand’s mantra is centered in wellness<br />

that connects, balances and inspires<br />

fulfillment and self-love. The spas all offer<br />

signature treatments and rituals that are<br />

common between them and a range of<br />

experiences that are unique to<br />

each location.<br />

What makes a great guest experience?<br />

The great guest experience for us is to be<br />

understood. It starts with the reservation<br />

team being on hand to fill the needs of<br />

the guest, flowing down through the spa<br />

professionals to take note of their needs<br />

and requests. We have a lot of regular<br />

guests that we know well. We know their<br />

preferences and can anticipate their<br />

needs, their preferred therapist, treatment,<br />

techniques, the setup of the room. Obviously<br />

we need to go the extra mile to satisfy the<br />

guests. Whenever there is an opportunity for<br />

us, to pay extra attention and do something<br />

that they are not expecting and that makes<br />

sense for their experience, we encourage<br />

the team to do so. It can be a farewell gift, a<br />

little card in the treatment room, a healthy<br />

beverage to celebrate a special occasion. We<br />

have many stories like this.<br />

What are some habits of effective spa directors<br />

or leaders in spa and wellness?<br />

An effective leader in spa and wellness<br />

should be a listener and multitasker. These<br />

would be the two main words I would use.<br />

<strong>Spa</strong> professionals are not in the same<br />

culture as F&B or room professionals. You<br />

need to have extra attention and extra care<br />

and be able to understand people even<br />

when they’re not talking. Leaders need to<br />

listen to their teams and be role models.<br />

I’m a very hands-on spa director. I think it’s<br />

important that the team be inspired by<br />

your actions<br />

And multitasking, because being a spa<br />

director is doing everything. I’m doing<br />

finance, I’m hiring, I’m doing marketing,<br />

I’m doing guest relations, purchasing,<br />

negotiating with suppliers… I have to be<br />

creative because I’m looking for new ways<br />

to build new products and new treatments.<br />

The days are not long enough but I love it.<br />

What’s your favorite thing about your job?<br />

I think you feel the passion when I’m talking<br />

about it, and I think my favorite thing is<br />

when I see and hear amazing feedback from<br />

the team or from a guest. And then I am<br />

sharing that with the team. And when I see<br />

the pride in their eyes and their smile, I’m<br />

happy because it’s teamwork. To see the<br />

team super proud of themselves makes me<br />

very happy. This is what I missed when I left<br />

hospitality, and this is why I am still here so<br />

many years after.<br />

What are you excited about?<br />

I’m excited about Four Seasons because<br />

we have a new VP of wellness, Michael<br />

Newcombe. And also because post Covid,<br />

we see that wellness is so recognizable<br />

everywhere, like wellness at work. Everyone<br />

wants to start their fitness goals again. The<br />

development of wellness programs is to me<br />

quite important. I hope to see a new reality<br />

after Covid that some behaviors will change.<br />

I am really looking forward to see how the<br />

near future will translate wellness and how<br />

we will be the artisans of wellbeing and<br />

living well.<br />

19 | <strong>Spa</strong> <strong>Executive</strong>

Wellness trend: ketamine<br />

Ketamine has been found to be a potentially<br />

promising treatment for depression,<br />

migraines, generalized anxiety disorder,<br />

and more.<br />

When they called cannabis a “gateway drug,”<br />

they may not have meant as a wellness<br />

therapy but that’s what has happened.<br />

CBD is old news these days, and since the<br />

mainstreaming of cannabis in wellness,<br />

there has been an explosion of research<br />

into, and use of, other formerly frowned<br />

upon substances. We’ve talked in the past<br />

about the mainstreaming of psychedelics,<br />

like psilocybin, the compound found in<br />

more than 200 species of mushrooms,<br />

and DMT (N,N-Dimethyltryptamine) the<br />

chemical substance known as the “spirit<br />

molecule,” used in ayahuasca, a South<br />

American entheogenic plant brew, as<br />

potential treatments and preventatives<br />

for depression, anxiety, Alzheimer’s,<br />

and addiction, among other things. And,<br />

while these are still on the rise and in<br />

the spotlight, another player has recently<br />

entered the game: ketamine.<br />

Ketamine gained infamy as a recreational drug<br />

Ketamine was developed in 1962 and later<br />

approved by the American Food and Drug<br />

Administration as an anesthetic but has since<br />

gained infamy as a recreational drug. Studies<br />

into its potential as a treatment for depression<br />

by targeting the neurotransmitter glutamate<br />

started in 2000. A more potent version,<br />

esketamine, was approved as a treatment<br />

for depression in 2019, though clinics began<br />

administering intravenous treatments without<br />

approval about 10 years ago, according<br />

to the Los Angeles Times. Johns Hopkins<br />

University psychiatrist, Paul Nestadt, told<br />

the Times that about three-quarters of “very<br />

treatment-resistant patients” show significant<br />

improvement in depressive symptoms.<br />

Ketamine and looking at smiling faces holds<br />

“promise” for helping people with<br />

treatment-resistant depression.<br />

Meanwhile, a new study at the University<br />

of Pittsburgh found that ketamine paired<br />

with looking at images of smiling faces to<br />

build positive associations holds “promise”<br />

for helping people with treatment-resistant<br />

depression.<br />

In cities including Toronto, New York,<br />

Miami, and Seattle you’ll find clinics offering<br />

ketamine IV drips. Manhattan’s Jeff Ditzell<br />

Psychiatry clinic, for example, provides an<br />

approximately 40-minute drip accompanied<br />

by theta brain waves and psychotherapy.<br />

The treatments are for people with<br />

debilitating depression who have already<br />

tried other treatment options.<br />

And the Nushama Psychedelic Wellness<br />

Clinic, also in NYC, offers “sub-anesthetic<br />

doses of Ketamine, to occasion an ego-<br />

20 | <strong>Spa</strong> <strong>Executive</strong>

dissolving inner exploration.” The website<br />

explains that, “Unlike most medications<br />

which pharmacologically produce a healing<br />

response, ketamine provides a doorway into<br />

your consciousness for you to explore and<br />

experience.”<br />

On top of treatment-resistant depression,<br />

ketamine has been found in studies to<br />

be a potentially promising treatment for<br />

migraines, generalized anxiety disorder,<br />

social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress<br />

disorder, anorexia nervosa, obsessivecompulsive<br />

disorder, and alcohol and<br />

cocaine abuse.<br />

Researchers are naturally cautious.<br />

Professor Celia Morgan, a<br />

psychopharmacologist at the University of<br />

Exeter, told the UK Telegraph: “Ketamine is<br />

an addictive substance and associated with<br />

harms to bladder and a risk of accidents,<br />

so we have to be cautious when using<br />

it in groups who are prone to addictive<br />

behaviours. But this is important work<br />

trying to drive the science of ketamine and<br />

memory forwards.”<br />

As wellness, medicine, and mental health<br />

supports continue to overlap, we expect<br />

that we might see more normalization of<br />

psychedelic treatments across the board,<br />

including ketamine, in the coming years.<br />

That being said, please don’t try this<br />

at home.<br />

21 | <strong>Spa</strong> <strong>Executive</strong>





scapizzi@book4time.com www.spaexecutive.com

Hooray! Your file is uploaded and ready to be published.

Saved successfully!

Ooh no, something went wrong!