After six years at MSpa, overseeing spas for Minor Hotels across the world, Kathryn Moore has set up her own company to fill a training and recruitment void in the industry.
Moore, who most recently oversaw 60 facilities as MSpa’s director of spa in Asia, says the launch of Spa Connectors was inspired by her experience in the industry. “We saw the same problems, year after year,” she explains. “There’s always a shortage of therapists, and there’s always an issue with training.”
Spa Connectors works with colleges in China, India, Indonesia, Thailand and Morocco to source high-quality therapists – screening them for English fluency, experience, motivation and attitude – before interviewing them and doing reference checks.
Once selected, therapists can then take one of two courses: a three-month course for those with no experience, or a two-week course for experienced therapists. The courses include Spa Connectors’ X-factor module, which teaches employee engagement, anticipating guests’ needs, up-selling, empathy and more.
Spa Connectors is aiming its services at five-star resorts in the Middle East, Asia and the Indian Ocean, with plans to expand into China and Africa. The organisation will also train therapists in two specific protocols for the hotel they’re going to work in. “They’ll be ready to go and start generating revenue as soon as they start,” Moore says.
Hotels pay US$1,000 (€916, £698) for a trained therapist, and turn-around time is between two weeks and three months.
Spa Connectors also offers a corporate social responsibility division and has partnered with Harmony House in India and BaliWISE in Bali to help place disadvantaged women into spa careers.
“A lot of hotels have massive CSR budgets that they could use for this,” says Moore. Instead of spending that CSR budget on planting trees or painting a school, she explains, they can put their money towards training a disadvantaged woman to be a therapist who works for them – a win/win situation. “I’m really excited about this division.... I think we can make a really big difference,” she says.
Spa Connectors also offers spa pre-opening services and audits in addition to specialised spa manager training and recruitment. Moore says: “We’re working with a lot of consultants because they don’t want to do the training and recruitment, so they build our services into the package.”
Spa Connectors had a soft launch at the Global Wellness Summit in November, but officially got up and running in January and expects to have its first students ready at the end of March. The company also includes Julie-Anne Kelly, training and culture director; Simon Eadon, commercial director; Jaime Svensson, operations director; and Lisa McCarthy, marketing and PR manager.