When entering the Superyacht industry, it’s crucial to develop key skills as well as experience. Laura Riera, Stewardess and Masseuse onboard a popular Charter vessel, spent time developing her knowledge of beauty and Spa treatments prior to entering the industry.
Here, Laura shares some tricks of the trade and gives us an insight into her experience working in Spa environments onboard large yachts. Her insightful tips should inspire you to up-skill and how to ensure that you are getting the best out of your work environment onboard.
Read on for 10 questions with Laura. See her tips on how to get into the industry and more…
I was born and raised in Spain. Since I was a kid, I’ve had a great passion for the beauty industry (my mother is a spa therapist too).
At the age of 21, I decided to set up and open my own tattoo and beauty centre. We specialised in advanced treatments like Semi Permanent Makeup, Micro-needling, and Advanced Massage Techniques. I am certified and extensively trained in medical tattooing, one of my most demanded services. Medical tattooing is now commonly used for treating cancer patients post-treatment.
After successfully selling my business in 2020, I decided to join the yachting industry as a Spa Stewardess. Since then, I have worked on a range of vessels from 30m to 100m+. I performed any task assigned to me, from high-end service to the organisation and implementation of solid housekeeping and laundry rules, performing all duties to the highest standard. At the moment, I am a certified massage teacher and combine my massage courses with my rotational Spa Stew job onboard a charter superyacht.
1. What inspired you to pursue a career as a Superyacht Stewardess and Masseuse, and how did you get started in the industry?
I used to have a beauty and tattoo shop in the port area of Barcelona, where I used to see Superyachts and cruise ships every day. Crew members were regular clients.
At some point, I decided to sell my business. I thought that it was a great moment to try to do something different. Doing some internet research, I found a course about how to break into the yachting industry by Jamila Garcia. This course gave me the essential information about Qualifications, CVs, Agencies, Social Media, etc.
After getting my certificates, and spending one month job hunting from my home in Spain, I got my first job as Spa Stewardess on a 100m+ M/Y.
“In Yachting, everything is about detail”
2. What are some key skills and qualities you need to excel in your role, and how do you develop and maintain them?
In Yachting, everything is about detail. A good eye for detail is essential to to providing a 7* experience to our guests. This is something that can be developed with time and experience.
Being always willing to learn and upskill is also very important. We’re very lucky to work in a team with people from different nationalities and backgrounds. Having the right attitude towards our work will help us to constantly thrive.
A can-do attitude will go a long way. We work very hard for long hours, so the key to keep growing as a professional is a positive mentality. I maintain a healthy mindset by taking care of myself, having a healthy diet, and sleeping at least 8 hours every day.
3. What are the biggest challenges you face working onboard a Superyacht, and how do you overcome them?
The biggest challenge I face is managing my time efficiently between the two roles, Spa therapist and Stewardess. Being in a double role means that you need to jump from one to the other according to the needs of each moment. Sometimes it might be stressing or draining.
My way to overcome that is to improve my time management skills, knowing that the guest’s needs are the priority. I need to maintain good communication with my team and always be happy to help in other areas of the interior – and ask for help if needed.
4. Describe a time when you had to deal with a difficult or demanding guest. How did you handle the situation?
I’ve been very lucky with my guests, and I’ve never had a bad experience. However, some guests can be demanding or difficult to please. For me, the best way to deal with them, is to be patient, listen carefully to their requests and preferences, and be proactive in offering personalised treatments according to their needs.
5. How do you ensure that you provide the highest level of service to guests, while managing your workload and time effectively?
Being a team player. The best part of my job is my team. We all work together for a common goal: to provide a 7* experience to our guests.
6. What are the most unique experiences you have had working on Superyachts, and how have these experiences shaped your perspective on the industry?
The most interesting Superyacht experience as a Masseuse is working in Spas with the latest technologies, the most luxurious products in the world, and access to signature training. Utilising these tools has made me realise that this industry can make me grow as a professional in so many ways. Amazingly, the knowledge I am taking from it can be used in future stages of my career.
7. How do you stay up-to-date with the industry’s latest trends and technologies, and what resources keep you informed?
I am deeply passionate about my job, and always try to learn new approaches and techniques. Every time I am on my leave, I do new courses, so I am constantly up-skilling. I also follow multiple social media accounts of professionals in my field to keep up with the latest trends.
8. Can you discuss any specific training or certifications you have obtained to enhance your skills and knowledge as a Superyacht Stewardess and Masseuse?
After many years of learning the Californian Massage technique, I’ve been able to get my teacher certificate. This has given me the capability to understand this technique at a deeper level, to be able to personalize the treatments I give to each individual. I can now teach others and expand my knowledge, which is something that I love.
The second most important certificate I hold is from the Deep Tissue Massage Course. This technique’s one of the most demanded in the yachting industry and has increased my value as a Superyacht Masseuse. It has also taught me how to use my elbows and weight to perform the massage. This has been immensely beneficial to prevent wrist injuries, sore arms, and tendonitis, which are some of the most common professional risks that we face as massage therapists.
“In my opinion, being focused and organized are the essential qualities for success. All the rest can be learned.”
9. Do you have advice for someone just starting out in the industry, and what qualities are essential for success in this field?
My advice would be to look for a program that really interests them, with a happy and close interior team, and a Spa menu that offers the kind of treatments they enjoy providing. From my point of view, if you’re new to the industry, landing in the right program for you is way more important than the salary or leave.
I know that landing your first job can be hard. That’s why it’s important to invest in quality training and certifications – so you’ll be a more competitive candidate.
In my opinion, being focused and organised are the essential qualities for success. All the rest can be learned.
10. What are your future career goals, and how will you keep developing your skills to advance your career?
At the moment, I am creating my own brand to provide massage and beauty therapy training to other Spa Stews. My goal is to bridge a gap between quality training and those who work at sea.
At the same time, I am working in an amazing boat with a beautiful program that I truly enjoy. My goal is to stay there as long as possible.
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