It could be argued that the primary objective of the roles of hotel manager & spa manager are virtually identical i.e. space management. Each role is responsible for a finite amount of space (measured in numbers of rooms) and the success or failure of their businesses depend upon how they manage these spaces and drive occupancy of the rooms.
Of course, some may say that that’s where the similarity ends. For example, if you were asked to conjure an image of the typical hotel GM responsible for a 100 bedroom hotel and a typical spa manager responsible for 10 treatment rooms, what would they look like? What calibre of person would you imagine in each role; what educational qualifications do they possess; what skills and experiences would you expect them to have attained?
Are spa managers being stero-typed?
We have posed these questions to several independent hotel owners and the pictures that emerge are remarkably similar from all respondents; the GM is a well-groomed gentleman (usually) in a smart suit and holds a management degree or equivalent qualification and has several years’ hospitality experience under their belt.
By contrast, the image of the spa manager is typically a petite, young woman, dressed in a therapist uniform whose qualifications relate to ‘hands-on’ activities such as a variety of massage techniques plus some further education via seminars in marketing & promotions.
These images are of course stereotypes and when considered in the context of the leading question used to conjure them, they are probably quite fair. However, these perceptions are often the basis for key decisions and as they are used as benchmarks of expectation relating the recruitment of employees in these roles.
This is all very well for the GM as the image is positive and expectations high; but less so for the spa manager and the implications of these perceptions may be potentially damaging on the business performance of the spa.
Hotel revenue vs spa revenue
Let's explore the revenue potential of the two businesses.
A 100-bedroom hotel operating at 73% occupancy with an average daily room rate @ £90 will generate approximately £6,500 per day.
A 10 treatment room spa open for 12 hours per day offers a capacity of 120 rooms. At the same occupancy of 73% and an average treatment rate @ £60 per hour the spa may generate approximately £5,200 per day. Not a significant difference from that of the hotel.
Now let’s consider the level of support provided for each role.
The hotel GM will invariably have a Reservations Manager, possibly a Revenue Manager, a Reception Manager, an F&B Manager, a House-keeping manager and possibly an Assistant Manager also.
By contrast the Spa Manager is likely to be supported only by a Senior Therapist & Head Receptionist yet the individual is expected to drive a business with similar revenue potential as the hotel.
So, we pose the question again;
Hotel GM vs. Spa manager - who really has the tougher job?
We welcome your thoughts on this matter.