2020 Spa & Massage Living Wage Initiative
As of January 1, 2020 Hawaiian Experience Spa’s prices are all inclusive, meaning no tip is required or expected!
Since the growth of the modern spa industry massage therapists have heavily depended on tips, often for more than 50% of their total income. Despite being licensed health care professionals who can profoundly help their clients with pain, stress, physical performance and much more, the position of Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT) has been delegated to the realm of tipped hospitality worker instead of the realm of medical professional where it belongs. That system is a detriment to not only the LMT but also the client. It simply gives the appearance of lower prices for the business promoting it, while creating inappropriate pressure for both the guest who is trying to relax and the therapist who is trying to do their best job to help the guest relax. The situation is similar with Licensed Estheticians who care for your skin health. What they do is much more then cosmetic as those of you who receive facials well know.
Hawaiian Experience Spa is taking the lead in changing this practice with our 2020 Living Wage Initiative. We have broken the mold in the spa industry by raising our prices, using that money to raise therapists’ and estheticians pay, and instituting All Inclusive Services with a “no tip required or expected” policy for our guests. This bold initiative does four things for the guest:
- Lowers your overall prices: If you generally tip the expected amount this saves you money. That is because other pricing structures factor in guests who only tip a couple of dollars or don’t tip at all. That raises the prices for those who tip appropriately. We raised our prices on all services to an amount that is less than our previous price plus the 20% expected tip. Now everyone contributes equally to the therapist’s compensation and you no longer have to pay extra to make up for the “$2 tipper!”
- Increases the level of professionalism and service: This system allows us to hire and maintain only the best professionals from day one. We are now paying more than any area spa and that equates to a better selection of therapists for you. Only the best and most dedicated professionals are hired into our new program.
- Eliminates tipping pressure: Most people feel pressure in any tipping situation. As our goal is to make you relax, not increase your stress, this initiative fits right in with that goal.
- Helps the community: Paying a living wage to all employees helps everyone. It expands the economy, decreases reliance on public benefits and makes for an overall happier community.
How is this fair if I am not happy with my service and don’t want to tip?
If you are not happy with your service, you should tell the spa manager. She will find out what happened and hold the therapist accountable as appropriate. If you simply didn’t tip and left, we would never know anything went wrong and could not use your experience to improve the spa and help the therapist. This system raises the level of accountability – it does not lower it. The spa manager can also help you as appropriate if you did not get what you paid for. Our goal is to make you a Raving Fan of the spa – tell us anything on your mind.
What if I want to tip anyway, can I?
You may tip anyone at the spa at any time for exceptional service, for special occasions, etc. No tips are ever expected or required.
How do I compare prices at Hawaiian Experience Spa with spas that expect tipping?
Industry standards are to tip 20% – 25% of the regular price (not the sale price or member price) of a service or $20 – $25 per hour, whichever is higher. Simply add that amount to the other spa’s price and you will see how our 2020 Living Wage Initiative actually saves money.
I have a gift certificate from before you started this program. How does that work?
If you have a gift certificate for a service purchased before 1/1/20 it can be one of three things:
- Gift card with tip included: Your gift card may say “& Tip” or “Tip Included” or show a dollar amount of gratuity. In this case, tip is included, and you do not have to leave anything extra.
- Gift card that is all inclusive: Towards the end of 2019 we started selling some gift cards under our new program. They will say “all inc” or “all inclusive” on them. With those cards no tip is required or expected.
- Gift card that does not say either way: A gift card that just list a service such as “60 Minute Lomi Lomi Massage” does not include gratuity. The fine print on the card will state that. If you have one of these please continue to tip your therapist as appropriate. The therapist is paid a lower, older, rate for those services and depends on gratuity.
All gift cards sold in 2020 or later are all inclusive. If they also list a gratuity it means the purchaser requested that something extra be added for the therapist above and beyond their normal wage. Usually, however, no gratuity is listed or mentioned or “NA” will be written in the gratuity field.
I am part of the Wellness Program – how does this affect my existing 50 minute massages?
Your existing 50-minute kama’aina services, if you have accumulated any, are not changing. You still get what you paid for. You can continue to use them and add gratuity as in the past if you wish, however, we don’t believe you will find that to be the best option. All new plan charges, however, will be at the new rate and will be all inclusive starting January 1st.
With the old system, each time you come in you still have an out of pocket expense for a tip, despite having prepaid services. Many guests have asked us to use their prepaid services towards tips over the years but that was not allowed in the previous plan, requiring the guest to have an expense for tip during each visit. All we are doing now is allowing that option and making it the default because it really benefits all guests. So, if you have twenty 50-minute massages for which you paid $59.99, under the old plan you need to come in 20 times (assuming you don’t get longer services and combine them) and leave a tip each time. If you leave $22 you have a cost of $440 for tips to use your 20 services. If we allow you to use some of them for what was the “tip” portion you have no out of pocket expenses at first and your overall cost is less.
So, assuming you have multiple prepaid 50-minute services, if you come in tomorrow for a 50 minute massage this is what will happen. The new price is $79, all inclusive. Your massages are worth $59.99 each. We will use two of your prepaid massages which have a dollar value of $119.98. We will apply $79 to your service and put the remaining $40.98 in your account. If you come in again the next day we will use one of your prepaid services and part of that credit to make the total $79. All we are doing is allowing you to use the prepaid services to pay for what used to be a tip, though we are charging a fixed “tip” amount which may be more or less than you normally paid. This is a benefit to your cash flow. It also is a savings unless you left less than $19.01 for a gratuity. We are not mass converting your massages to the new ones. It will be done at check out each time you come in. If you prefer to leave a cash tip like in the past that is perfectly fine. Just tell the front desk when you arrive. If you always want to do that, they can put a permanent note in your account. That way you would have the same number of prepaid massages and that would never change.