Hilton wellness program that aims to shake up the spa industry recently scored a big award, and in recognition of it, two wellness gurus sat down to discuss the curation of the program, its impact on the industry and the future of spas and wellness overall.

The program is the Hilton School of Wellness Spa Leader Onboarding Program, and Hilton’s spa and wellness team won the 2019 ISPA Innovate Award for it, an honor from the International Spa Association (ISPA). To mark the big win and share the importance of the transformative work that earned it, Melissa Walker, Hilton’s Senior Director of Global Wellness, and Lisa Starr, Principal of Wynne Business Spa Consulting and Education, shared insights about the program and industry alike.

The program is a unique training program within the spa industry, as it is designed to help Hilton spa team members bridge the gap between the skills they learn as service providers and the skills they need to effectively manage the business aspects of a spa. It provides aspiring leaders in Hilton spas with the practical training and tools they need to grow the business while also helping them progress to management.

The program was designed to attract new professionals to the spa industry as well as to propel and retain professionals. It is one of three winners honored in the Leadership & Philanthropy category of the ISPA Innovate Awards, a distinction that fellow ISPA members select to celebrate “creativity and commitment in an ever-changing market.”

Melissa Walker: Senior Director of Global Wellness

Lisa Starr: Principal of Wynne Business Spa Consulting and Education

What inspired the creation of this program?

  • MW: When we spoke with spa leaders at our properties, we found that many mid-level managers had started as service providers. While they were skilled at providing treatments, they didn’t have access to the tools and training that would help them acclimate to the business side of running a spa. Hilton is committed to supporting team members at every stage of their careers and finding new ways to help them grow, so we wanted to find a way to bridge this gap.
  • LS: Very few provider licensing or certification programs give their students any business training that would be practical for a management role. The program provides this necessary practical business training, helps aspiring spa leaders on the path to management roles and equips them for the situations they’ll encounter as their management careers evolve.

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