UK Spa Association
Are Male Therapists the Answer?
We hear from Jessica and her team at Lucknam Park on their success with employing male therapists, how they have overcame challenges, and how this has had a positive impact on team development and return bookings.
How have you found having a male therapist benefits your wider spa team and spa treatment offering?
“I have always enjoyed working with male therapists as they bring a different energy, perspective and skillset to spas. It is also important to show guests and staff members that you have a diverse team with equal opportunities"
Offering employment to male therapists will widen your talent pool and attract more candidates to your business in a time when we are experiencing a shortage of therapists. Dimitrios (Didi) is a breath of fresh air, contributing to the dynamic and balance in our team.
“We find having a male therapist within our team to be highly beneficial, not only does it aid the guest experience by being able to accommodate for their therapist preferences, but it also helps when advising guests on treatments as Didi specialises in myofascial release and deep tissue massage & reflexology.” - Spa Recpetion Team
Does Didi specialise in any specific treatment, and do you find he brings a different rebooking clientele?
Didi is popular with guests who are looking for a firm deep tissue style massage. Our American clientele in particular tend to prefer a male therapist as they assume the massage will be firmer. Didi has a few regular spa members, and his column is as busy as the other therapists in our team.
What are some key factors you have to consider when employing a male therapist?
Training the reservations team to always check with the guest/s and to upsell their skills! It shouldn't be awkward to ask, but the reservationists need reassurance and the confidence to do so to avoid any challenges that could occur on arrival.
There will be an initial barrier and unconscious bias, however, with the correct procedures and checks in place, your team will overcome it and the male therapist column will be as busy as any other therapist.
How do you handle client care around bookings and communicating this to your clients to ensure they are comfortable?
Our reservations team make all guests aware that we have male therapists in our team and ask them if they have a preference. It’s all about making it a positive rather than an inconvenience or a caveat on a confirmation email. It is never an issue as long as it is discussed before the visit and alternatives can be offered. If no alternative can be offered at the time, we encourage the guest to try, and we reassure them that they are in expert hands. I have always had positive feedback once they have tried.
What would your advice be to spa managers who are thinking about employing more male therapists?
I would highly recommend spas to recruit male therapists. It offers more options to your guests and it will bring a lovely balance and diversity to your team. More guests are open to trying a treatment with a male therapist, and some guests actually prefer it.
My advice is to make sure your reservations team check prior arrival and that they upsell their skills.
Also, always aim to add more to their skillset if you feel their column is not as populated as others. We are currently looking at developing Didi as a fitness trainer as he has shown an interest in the leisure area as well as therapy. A multi-disciplinary and diversity approach will futureproof your team at the same time as embracing equal opportunities and attracting new talent.
We hear from Didi and his thoughts on working as a male therapist at Lucknam Park.
“As a male massage therapist in the industry, there are different milestones that I have had to overcome and achieve. When first looking for a job to start my career I had been openly rejected from even applying for the role because I was a male and they only hire female massage therapists. After being discriminated against multiple times, you could imagine my joy when I visited Lucknam Park and Jessica had told me that she has always had male therapists in her team and that she wanted them at Lucknam Park. After joining the team, being a male therapist and the youngest, I have always felt included and a key member of teamk"
"The reception team have done a great job at adapting to me as at the start I was not getting as many treatments because we could not find the right way to push me, and I was often getting rejected. Quickly after there were discussions on how to push me as a therapist and now, I have the same amount as everyone else. I mostly get requested for deep tissue and reflexology.
There are still people that do not want a male therapist, however, there are still many people that only want a male therapist. So far, I have enjoyed my time in the spa industry and intend it to be my lifelong career".
Another fantastic initiative - I worked with male therapists as a spa years ago and they were always the most booked up!