A desire for life-long learning is an integral part of well-being for many people. In their personal lives, it can be as simple as reading books, watching TV, surfing the internet or scanning their social media feeds. With so much innovation happening at a rapid pace, continuing education is also critical for career success and advancement.
In the booming spa and wellness industry, on-going education is particularly crucial to keep up with the latest offerings and innovations in a technologically-driven marketplace. Trending ideas, cool tools, healthy eating, best personal and commercial practices, and much more are evolving on a daily basis. What was once popular five years ago may now be laughed at as ancient history.
In fact, sustained training and education is so critical that many countries demand that a person must devote a minimum number of hours in order to maintain a license or certification. Similarly some associations and licensing bodies require continuing education credits to keep up their membership. Besides governmental regulations, let’s examine exactly why continued learning is so crucial in today’s society where change is the only perceived constant.
A Therapist’s Perspective on Continuing Education
Spa therapists wish to connect on a deep level with their clientele. To achieve this, they wish to offer them optimal services and techniques in order to adequately address their unique needs. This is where continuing education kicks in. Confidence and pride grow with the feeling of giving their best to the rising number of self-educated clients dedicated to keeping up with the latest beauty and wellness techniques and products. Therapists cannot be totally knowledgeable about every product or service promising great pay-offs. Yet it is truly is rewarding when they are capable of discussing matters intelligently with these self-educated clients. There is no better platform for a spa therapist to impress clients than from the knowledge gained via specialized training and educational programs. Preferably these are from internationally recognized awarding bodies.
If you are your own boss, professional training will enable you to offer your base of customers something different, while at the same time attract new clientele. Many people today are seeking alternatives to conventional treatments, so why not be the first person they turn to? It will certainly give you a competitive edge. Perhaps it will even facilitate a reinvention of yourself in the eyes of your clientele.
Access to educational tools, whether face-to-face or via a computer screen, will enable you to meet the exacting demands of your clients. Even minor adjustments can make a significant difference to your performance.
An Employer’s Perspective on Continuing Education
Inspired, loyal staff are a spa’s most valuable asset. This is especially true in the current market situation where customer demand for spa services is outpacing the number of qualified personnel. Thus, it is in the best commercial interest of any spa or wellness centre to minimize turnover to avoid costly recruitment and training expenses. Also, customer loyalty is enhanced by the ability to consistently book with their favorite therapist rather than have to constantly re-explain themselves to new reception and treatment staff.
Furthermore, the level of employer sponsored education is one of the most important factors therapists consider when deciding whether to join an organization. Spas who demonstrate a commitment to ongoing education will be rewarded with higher recruitment and retention rates as they have earned staff respect. Whether a therapist is a novice or highly experienced, they will appreciate the organization’s investment in them as individuals and professionals.
The spa and wellness scene is intensively competitive, so companies must constantly add new services while still remaining true to their core offerings. Internal or outside training can equip therapists to confidently deliver new offerings. Therapists feel invigorated with the learning opportunity, loyal customers are thrilled with additional choices and first-time patrons are encouraged to give the business a try. It is a win-win for all.
Learning too gets people out of their normal routine which is often a welcome relief from boredom.
The bottom line is that spas that provide on-going education and training will undoubtedly perform better, as long as all other strategic business practices are followed.
CONTINUING EDUCATION METHODS
Continuing education and training for spa and wellness professionals does not need to be expensive, time consuming or complicated. In fact, it is just the opposite. This makes the argument for ongoing learning even more convincing.
SUPPLIER TRAINING – The firms that you purchase your products from are experts. They are almost always happy to provide on-site, complimentary training. This enables all staff to speak with authority, especially those responsible for retail sales.
If you choose to visit their offices, just travelling to a different location can be a stimulating experience for team members.
In either case, being able to personally touch and feel products enhances the training’s effectiveness.
INTERNAL TRAINING – Frequently, a newly hired therapist possesses unique skills. It would therefore make sense for them to formally share their knowledge. Yet, a skilled therapist is not always an effective trainer. For example, they may need to be guided as to how to present in the most learner-friendly manner.
Moreover, if they possess an internationally recognized certification the other team members will not qualify for the same qualifications. They too would need to go through the same accreditation process.
ON-LINE LEARNING – Despite initial doubts, this educational method is becoming more widespread. However for hands-on techniques it still has its limitations. A global leader in vocational education has overcome this issue by pairing instructions conveyed over the internet with on-site work placements. For example, the Bali International Spa Academy (BISA) has partnered with Australia’s Open Colleges to deliver at their Sanur, Bali campus a range of their internationally accredited courses. This includes a diploma in beauty therapy.
On the other hand, on-line spa management courses can be highly effective to develop the commercial knowledge required to succeed in a spa and wellness environment. BISA offers their own accredited course for those who are not able to take time away from work or personal commitments.
Without the limitations of time and place, on-line learning can expand anyone’s skills and knowledge. It is likely to broaden their horizons as well.
HOW-TO-VIDEOS / WEBINARS / PODCASTS – Websites such as youtube have made education of all types easily accessible. Such tools can be highly effective with minimal or zero investment.
For webinars and podcasts, all you have to do is find out when the next one is scheduled.
Most of these are reputable, but beware that the objectives of some are purely sales focused. Others are not carried out by those with strong expertise in their field.
For those that are eager for further education these are all tools that can supplement more intensive training and educational initiatives.
IN-HOUSE TRAINING BY OUTSIDE CONTRACTORS – Ideally, this is the superior method as you remove yourselves from any internal biases. The training is left in the hands of experts. Also, some staff respond better when it isn’t a manager or leader that sets outcome expectations.
Many spa training schools can send a trainer to the firm’s premises to minimize expenses. This can work particularly well during slow periods or days of the week.
SELF – FINANCED EDUCATION – This is a popular option given the limitations of what some employers are able to offer. Likewise, independent therapists can benefit from enrolling in courses to expand their own skills.
The cost is surprisingly low when compared against potential earnings. For example, anyone can learn Balinese massage in five days for US$564. There are many training institutes around the world that offer similar intensive courses at very affordable costs. Alternatively, if there is a college in your area offering spa courses, you can continue to work while studying.
It is well worthwhile investigating whether these expenses qualify for any tax deductions. You may be pleasantly surprised!
With so many continuing educational formats available to individuals and employers, devoting resources to it is critical. If you don’t adapt to changing times, your competitors will. The health of your business will certainly be negatively impacted without a continuing education strategy.
The current shortage of qualified spa therapists and management personnel requires an even greater investment in the well-being of the spa and wellness industry. Now is definitely the time to make education and training a key part of your business plan.
If you would like to learn more about the training options available at BISA,, please contact me at Penny@balibisa.com.