Neci Ward, spa attendant at Turning Stone Resort’s Skana: Spa in Verona, New York, was a finalist for Forbes Travel Guide’s 2021 Spa Employee of the Year Award. The awards seeks out exemplary team members in the hospitality industry who stand out in their service of guests and coworkers. We reached out to Ward to learn more about her love of spa and what led her to become such a standout member of the industry. Ward’s passion for Skana is unbeatable, and she has some amazing advice for running a spa post-quarantine.
How did you get started in the industry?
My passion and love for the spa industry first started when I lived in California. I wasn’t working in a spa there, but was intrigued by the lifestyle and knew I wanted to be a part of it. It was that passion that brought me to Skana in 2006 when I joined Turning Stone as a spa attendant. I was part of the opening team, and it was my first job in the industry. I never looked back and have enjoyed every minute of my 15 years at Skana. Not too many people can say their passion is also their career.
What’s the most fun part of your job?
The best part about my job is our guests. I enjoy being part of their journey and watching their transformations as they decompress and relax as all of their stress just melts away.
What wellness trends do you see emerging?
Since even before the pandemic, there has been a deeper understanding and focus on healthy living, wellness and self-care. With a renewed appreciation for self-care, spending time at a spa to relax is no longer seen as indulgent. Instead, it’s viewed as necessary for well-being. Another trend we continue to see is guests’ expectation for high-quality products with natural ingredients that they recognize.
What are your top tips for running a successful spa?
Over the last 15 years at Skana, I have learned a lot about keeping a luxury spa running efficiently. You really need to excel at guest service and tap into their personal needs. Be intuitive by anticipating what they’ll want before they even know they need it.