The role of the spa therapist is a versatile one, requiring a great deal of knowledge, training and skills in a variety of different areas.
You’d be surprised how many other qualities are necessary for the role, outside of being good with your hands.
A spa therapist’s primary concern is of course providing a multitude of services and treatments to customers, from massages and facials to intimate waxing, manicures and more.
It’s like combining the three roles of beautician, masseuse and nail technician into one concise career! Plus, with the rise of non-invasive beauty treatments using equipment such as laser hair removal or slimming machines, there may be a lot more involved in your daily work.
It’s usually up to the individual spa what kind of treatment list they want to offer, so each business will require a different set of skills from its employees.
As such, it’s best to get qualified in several different areas, so you’ve always got something more to offer and will stand out in comparison to those you are competing against for jobs.
As well as being well trained, they must also have fantastic customer service and communication skills.
Making customers feel comfortable and relaxed is imperative to the success of a spa, so knowing how to interact with folks from all walks of life in an appropriate way is a must.
Likewise, speaking to potential clients via social media and advertising the spa generally may also fall to spa therapists depending on the set up of the business.
This requires being able to respond to a variety of questions and possible issues, as well as dealing with complaints or bad reviews in a polite, calm manner.
Another important factor is cleaning and hygiene: from the floor to the ceiling, their room must be spotless and inviting for customers.
All equipment must be regularly sterilized and replaced, all towels and blankets washed and folded, equipment tidied and restocked… hygiene is extremely important for a spa therapist.
Administrative tasks are very much part of a spa therapist’s role too, from documenting client information to maintaining an up to date inventory of all stock and supplies, which means being organized and on top of everything.
Checking that equipment and materials are still of a good enough quality to be used is also important, so a keen eye for detail is a plus.
On the same note, staying up to date with trends in the industry and ensuring you’re offering the very latest in equipment, treatment and products to your customers is also essential to succeed in spa therapy, as in this day and age, everyone gets their information online.
If a customer sees a lot of spas offering the same thing lately, they will likely expect it from you as well.
Good upselling skills and an ability to encourage customers to spend more money and have the fancier treatments and experiences is also a plus for spa therapists, as the more money they spend, the better it is for the business!
This must be done in a gentle, non-forceful way, as nobody likes to feel pressured into something, but a little nudge in the right direction never hurts.
What makes a good spa therapist?
Outside of being talented at delivering treatments, there are plenty of other traits that make somebody an ideal candidate for the spa therapy role. You’d probably be included on that list if you are…
Confident – not in an obnoxious way, but being able to speak to just about anybody regarding a myriad of topics is a must for a spa therapist.
People like to talk when they’re having a treatment done, so you should be outgoing and talkative enough that they feel able to do so. Spa clients may undress fully or in part which can be quite intimate. It helps to talk and make them feel comfortable about the situation, especially if you notice them feeling shy. Very few people want a shy spa therapist!
Well-presented – it sounds like an obvious point, but being clean and smelling good are imperative for working up close and personal with the general public, as is dressing professionally and ensuring you are neat and tidy in appearance.
If you look untidy, then clients will assume that your customer service and treatments will be of poor quality too.
Experienced – If spa clients are presented with someone they perceive to be a young and inexperienced spa therapist, they are likely to complain about your abilities regardless of the quality of your work.
Having the qualifications and practical experiences to back up your skills will only help in this department.
Friendly – this goes hand in hand with being confident, but also means having open body language, being receptive to conversation and responding enthusiastically, asking questions and generally using your face, eyes and gestures to demonstrate that you are a happy, positive person.
A good listener – also linked with being confident and friendly, but equally as important, showing clients that you are listening to them will make them feel a lot more at ease and also help them to open up, which is all part of the spa therapy process!
Plus, if you spend too much time talking about you and your life, the customer won’t get a chance to offload what’s on their mind and may leave feeling frustrated, as well as carrying your baggage.
Reassuring – some customers will be new to the whole spa business and might not know very much about what is happening or what certain treatments are involved.
By always telling them what you are doing, how the treatment will work, what products you’re going to use and anything they should be aware of, you will help those anxious clients settle down a lot quicker.
Thorough – you must always, always, always take the time to ask if your clients have any preferences or dislikes, if they have a certain kind of pressure they might like during a massage for instance, or if they would prefer for you not to linger in a certain area.
Even if they say no, they will appreciate that you took the time to ask, and that level of care and attention is enough to bring any client back for a return visit.
Genuine – it’s easy enough to fake positivity and a calming demeanour, but you’d be surprised how easily customers can pick up on this and start to feel uncomfortable.
If you don’t want to be there and your heart is clearly not in the job, it will be obvious, and then your clients will have a sub-par treatment and leave feeling the opposite of relaxed.
You should only work in a public-facing career if you actually like the idea of being around people and touching them all day!
Requirements for being a spa therapist more generally will typically include:
- Experience at a reputable salon or spa
- Practice of all physical skills, from massages to manicures
- Impeccable English language and communication skills, even better if you speak additional languages
- Moderate computer skills and a general understanding of how to use social media
- A positive mental attitude and an optimistic outlook on life – nobody wants a gloomy spa therapist, right?
- A relevant degree or certification, and an up to date license to practise in the state you’re applying to work
- Previous experience in sales (though this is normally an asset rather than a necessary requirement)
To give you a better idea of the job, here is a video explaining what a spa therapist’s day to day looks like: