How to Organize & Manage Staff Summer Vacations

Apr 07, 2022


Spring is in the air, and you know what that means: summer is on its way!

Although you may feel busy enough as is with prepping for Spring and summer services, updating home care regimens and events, this is the PSA you’ve been looking for to not forget to prep for your staff’s vacation requests.

I know, say it with me: “Ugh.” Organizing your team to cover your regular summer bookings and those (sometimes last minute!) time off requests is an HR pain in the neck, to put it mildly. 

This is only compounded by the fact that, as many of you in my spa-owners only Spa Business Mastery Facebook group are saying, low staff and finding quality staff already feels like an impossible task right now… let alone covering for them when a few of them jet off to Spain for a few weeks!

But you know your team needs a break and, more importantly, you need to have safety nets in place so that you’re not trying to run your biz by yourself when they’re not there to help. Breaks are critically important for the overall health of your spa biz, so you may as well learn how to both manage and value those summer vacation requests.

Here are the two action steps to take to still have enough coverage for client bookings and sales goals throughout the busy summer months

Managing Spa Owner Expectations Regarding Staff Vacations

The past two years have done a number on spa leadership when it comes to both recruiting and hiring. If you’re feeling like there simply aren’t many people looking for work right now, you wouldn’t be alone. You’d also be right.

If you haven’t already heard about The Great Resignation (otherwise called “The Great Reinvention”), it was a movement that started in early 2021 and is set to persist throughout 2022. With COVID-19 setting off an almost unprecedented turnover in the U.S labor market, the country’s rate of quitting hit a 20-year high last November… and is still hovering around that rate today.

Why? Because the series of COVID-related shutdowns, job losses, and general overhaul of how people work has prompted people to rethink what makes them happy: especially in the context of their workplace. 

While most spa owners are so heavily invested in their business (and rightfully so!) that they feel getting out of the industry isn’t an option, employees have an easier time with this because they have the flexibility to choose. Even as a spa business coach and marketing agency owner, it made myself and my husband question our careers– namely what parts of our careers we feel fulfilled by and which parts we want to scale back in order to preserve our mental and emotional well-being.

In short, spa owners need to remember to have compassion right now: we’re all undergoing huge internal change that has no playbook!

What does that mean for you? It means you’ll need to be more flexible with your vacation request system than in previous years, as employees have more power to choose where they want to work (and whom they want to work with.) After all, losing out on quality staff just because you were inflexible with vacation times is going to cause you more issues down the line with the staffing shortages that are running rampant right now! 

What does this flexibility look like? You may simply need to run with a skeleton crew for parts of the summer to allow team members a quality summer vacation. You may even decide to temporarily close one day a week to manage a lack of staffing. We’ve seen this happen in many other service-based industries already when it comes to providing enough vacation time to attract and retain staff. (See? Even though that article orbits around corporate teams, it speaks to just how deeply all businesses are rethinking their vacation flexibility policies!)

Create a Vacation Request System

If you know anything about my coaching business, Kirsten Foss Coaching, then you know I’m all about systems, systems, systems.

That extends to vacation requests, of course!

To avoid the potential complexity and friction that comes with vacation requests, here’s what I used to do with my own spa team back when I ran my spa biz:


  • Staff had to submit their summer vacation requests by May 15th if they were planning on being away any time between June 1st and September 1st
  • Requests were prioritized by their start date
  • Only one person was permitted to be off at a time due to the small size of my spa, which is a rule I included upfront in my spa team handbook
  • The summer vacation schedule was posted by May 30th
  • If staff wanted extra days off, they had to find their own coverage


While I promised to do my best to accommodate, client care and business outcomes were always the priority. This is where things have changed! As employers, we do have to be more flexible because of the current employment situation. I’d advise to accommodate (reasonable) vacation requests vs potentially losing a quality team member. 

I know first-hand that the HR portion of your spa leadership is often a struggle. That’s why you need a team handbook and policies to ensure that you and your staff are clear about how things work within your spa biz. This is especially true if you’ve changed how you accept vacation requests throughout the years.

Download your very own done-for-you spa team handbook template today to make managing this summer’s vacation requests a cinch.



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