- On April 9, 2020
Ocean Reef Club Salon & Spa, Key Largo
Florida Spa Association Advisory Board Member
Working at a Closed Facility
It is no secret that social distancing has become our new normal, and that it has greatly affected everyone’s daily life. This is definitely a challenging time for many, and although the Ocean Reef Club Salon & Spa is temporarily closed due to the Coronavirus, I am very grateful that for the time being, I am able to continue working. I can fortunately do a lot from home, and if I do need to go in for anything, the building is completely closed, so it is locked and empty. Like so many of us, I am used to seeing hundreds of people pass through our Spa daily, so to walk in to a dark, quiet, empty building is very surreal and strange. What keeps me going is everyone on my team and our clients, and for all of them, I do my best to stay motivated, positive, and to let them know we are still here, that we miss them, and that we are more ready than ever to service them the minute we are able.
Staying in touch
For me, to have a sense of normalcy, it has been extremely important that I have consistent communication with the team and with our clients/members. I am in almost daily contact with the 47 associates on the Spa and Salon team through a group text. It has been a great way to communicate with everyone at once, to share information from HR, helpful tips on staying well, important information from the government, and just to say hello and see how everyone is doing. I at times feel helpless and wish I could do more, but I know it helps the team to know that I care, the Club cares, and that their clients care, so I try to do all I can to remind them of that, and that we are all in this together. I work in a private, gated community with residents and we have a weekly communication newspaper that goes out to all members. An article from the Spa is included in this every week, which is a great way for me to remind our clients that we are still here, and willing to help them in any way we can with health, wellness and beauty tips that they can do at home. We closed on March 18th, and just this week I have started to deliver sunscreen, shampoo, soap, hand lotion, facial cleansers and other products people need and were not stocked up on before we closed. Members simply email me their order, preferred drop off times, and I leave it at their door which requires no physical contact, and it has been extremely easy and appreciated. The Fitness Team has done a great job providing complimentary classes for our members via Zoom which has also been very well received and appreciated. I have also been extremely grateful and proud to be a part of the Florida Spa Association through all of this. As a Spa professional, it is important to have colleagues that you can collaborate with, discuss best practices, or just to talk to so you know you are not alone. It has been amazing to be able to talk with the Spa Directors, Vendors, and Board Members that are part of the FSA. I have received valuable information that I can either use personally, share with my team, or bring back to help the business. If you are not connected, you can start to feel a bit lost or out of touch with your community or industry. FSA is such a valuable resource and I can’t express enough how grateful I am for the connections and networking it provides for all of us.
Taking advantage of the downtime
In all the years I have been managing spas, I can’t think of a time that I could almost solely focus on one or two large projects without also juggling day-to-day operations. Because of that, I am taking advantage of this time, and diving into some projects that were already planned for later in the year. Of course I would prefer to have my regular everyday interruptions over dealing with the coronavirus, but, I am trying to make lemonade out of lemons. All the large projects are being moved to now, so that when we do reopen I can focus on changes we may need to bring to the operation, like sanitation and sterilization practices, and ensuring we are reaching out and sharing these with our clients so they feel comfortable and confident that the Spa is a safe place to be. We have a software transition that has been moved up, as well as a menu revamp project. These are both large projects, so I am choosing to be happy that I have the time to put a lot of thought into each and every detail, and to make sure both are rolled out successfully.
Economic Recovery and ideas for a new way of doing business
With the suddenness of so many businesses being forced to close, it comes as no surprise to anyone that when we do reopen, we will all most likely have to take a strong, hard look at our financials, and find new ways to do things. One of these may be to find ways to save where you can. Quality is extremely important at our Spa and Salon, and not something we are willing to compromise on, but that does not mean that we can’t look at places to find savings and maximize revenue. We are also looking at ways in which we may need to change specific treatments, services, scheduling, pricing, volume control, retail experience, and other things that may be different once we recover from the pandemic and can reopen. Our department has already started to look at some of these, so that the minute we are able, we can bounce back as quick as possible and do our best to once again show strong financials. We have started this process by:
- Updating all supply cost lists with current pricing to compare with other vendor pricing
- Revisiting cost per treatment and looking to streamline or eliminate duplicate products that do the same thing
- Reviewing top treatments and potentially eliminating treatments that are booked less frequently
- Brainstorming ideas for a limited, seasonal menu for when we reopen with strategic pricing and scheduling, based on the feel in the community
- Dispensary – updating processes and policies for sanitation purposes and cost control
- Retail – looking into more home care devices, systems, kits, DIY
- Outdoor treatments – updating or adding to
- Looking at online shopping, home deliveries, and expanding this
Hopeful for a flood of business for us all in the end
With all the seriousness that this virus brings, (and warrants), I am one who needs to laugh to get through har
d times and to stay sane. One way that I have been able to get through this is by laughing at all the funny memes people s
end about missing their spa and salon services. There are some hilarious pictures of people quarantining and how they look without their favorite beauty professionals. That has made myself and my team feels confident that people are waiting and ready to rush back to us with an appointment the minute they can. I can’t wait for the day that our phones are ringing off the hook, and our wait-lists are 20 pages long again, and I am very confident that they will be again soon.