Monday, February 22, 2010

Check out Susie Ellis's Spa Blog

Dear Friends,

For more information on the Spa industry at large, I invite you to take a look at the following blog set up by Spa Finder Inc.'s president, Susie Ellis.

Political Correctness: A Cancer?

So, many have been calling and emailing me to express their satisfaction at hearing the truth and to encourage me to continue to be frank and honest and NOT politically correct. This brings me to address that issue. Political correctness is a “cancer” that is slowly destroying America philosophically and literally! The fact that so many people have sent me emails and have telephoned to manifest their approval to my last entry is reassuring; but at the same time, it is disturbing as they chose not to reply on the blog itself. Is it really because the “P.C.” virus has already contaminated them?

The American spirit exemplified by the pioneers who founded our great country based themselves on truth and frankness; and yet “Honest Abe” would probably not make it in today’s America! How did this deviance occur? It probably started with Dr. Spock, who preached against discipline in child rearing, something he acknowledged was a huge mistake at the end of his life (but not after messing up 2 generations of children!). Then there are those pseudo-intellectuals and psychologists who advocated the importance of developing self-esteem at the expense of truthfulness! Of course, there is no doubt that litigation lawyers hold a great deal of responsibility in the deterioration of honesty, forcing people, companies, associations, etc to lie so as not to be sued!!

Let me give you one example of this gangrenous political correctness. Telling a morbidly obese person that “fat is beautiful” is not only a lie; it falsely comforts those people into thinking that it is OK to be disgustingly obese while not telling them that it will shorten their life by some 20 years, prevent them from having a well balanced life, and have healthy relationships. It also hides the fact that it will even prevent them from getting good jobs, in spite of the anti-discrimination laws that have been put in place but which can easily be circumvented. We are told that about three fourths of Americans are overweight and one third of the population is obese (!); in fact it is probably an even greater number since the A.M.A. has just recently increased what defines overweight and obesity by 10% so as to perpetuate the lie and not make people feel bad! All the while, they are saying that obesity is an epidemic in the US. Go figure!
America is the land of free speech; it is part of the constitution. Yet, all of the sudden, it is no longer acceptable to tell the truth for fear of being sued or being “politically incorrect”?! In our industry, this “malaise” is rampant and to a great extent responsible for the lack of success, not to say failure, of many. I will, in future blog entries, go in depth in pointing out a number of aberrations; but for now, I will welcome the feedback from you, the readers.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Check out the Beyond Beauty Blog

Dear Friends,

I invite you to take a look at the Beyond Beauty Blog( for up-to-date news, trends, reports, and editorials on the Beauty and Wellness industries, including articles written by yours truly.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Why are Spas in top hotel chains NOT better?

I am constantly asked why the Spas at prestigious hotels like the Ritz-Carlton, the Four Seasons, Sofitel, etc…are very average (if not entirely mediocre) and why it is that their financial results range from poor to horrible. Very simply put, these companies know their hotel business and do an excellent job at managing and operating the hotel services, including the Food and Beverage part of their business; but when it comes to Spas they do not have a clue as to where to start!

As these large hotel chains are corporate-minded, they proceed to seek out experts in the field, which sounds good; but in order to identify who is knowledgeable and who is blowing smoke, you have to have a minimum of knowledge yourself…which they do not have. So they end up hiring B.S. artists who know how to play the corporate game and make them believe that they are experts! We have had in our training seminars some of the so-called top Spa directors from these companies. As a rule, since these seminars are custom designed to help these people do a better job in their position, we have them take a general knowledge test of about 50 questions. To this day not one got more than 23% on this test! Hardly what you would call an expert level!

In general, a lot of these people come from F&B, sometimes from the front office staff, and sometimes from the fitness industry; yet none of these fields have anything to do with what a Spa in a hotel should be! Their technical knowledge is at best textbook knowledge. In some cases, the candidate invests in schooling at an esthetics or a massage school in order to feature a professional license on their resume. However, many times they have never really practiced and therefore bring to the table only a vague idea of what these services are all about. As a result, they often carry into their jobs mostly erroneous notions of treatments and managerial skills which can be best described as Mom and Pop level, needless to say totally inadequate. Most of the time they will join an association such as ISPA thinking that the association will give them the clout of expertise that it pretends to have; and, there again, it is the blind leading the blind. These types of associations are mostly self-admiration societies who are happy to refer to the same ill-informed people to set the example and to provide guidance. ISPA claims to be the Voice of the Industry? There are some 300,000 workers in the Spa Industry in the U.S. and there are only 3000 members of the association? Not so impressive; only 1%!