Massage therapy has been proven to reduce pain and stress, improve overall circulation, increase immune efficiency and flexibility, and improve overall appearance. With this in mind, it is more and more common for inns to offer in-house massage services to their guests. If this is a service your inn offers, it is important for you to know and understand the potential risks to you and your business.
When it comes to offering in-house massage to your guests, you basically have two options from which to choose: you can hire an on-staff massage therapist or contract with an independent therapist. In either case, the therapist must be licensed by the State. Whichever arrangement you choose, there are some important risk management issues to consider.
- We recommend you have General Liability and Workers’ Compensation insurance covering the massage therapist, should they accidentally trip a guest or cause some immediate injury while on premises. If you hire the therapist, or get a portion of the total fee paid by your guest, you need to be sure your insurance policy is able to protect you and the inn.
- We also recommend Professional Liability insurance, in case the therapist performs an incorrect technique on a guest and injures them. Again, if you are receiving some kind of remuneration for arranging services for the guest, you need to be sure your insurance protects you for your part in this service, even if your part is only helping to set the appointment and hosting the therapist.
- Keep in mind that allegations of inappropriate sexual touching may not be covered by either Professional or General Liability insurance. If these allegations were to be made, you might need to self-fund attorney fees to defend yourself and the inn.
- To minimize their liability, many innkeepers just choose to recommend a local massage therapist or two who are willing to come to the inn. The inn receives no remuneration for this arrangement. If you choose this option, be sure to have a written agreement, outlining the therapist’s responsibility and limiting the inn’s liability. This is known as a hold-harmless agreement.
Offering massage services is a wonderful way to enhance your guest’s experience at your inn and make it more memorable—provided everything goes well. If you are concerned you have not properly prepared for a worse-case scenario, contact our Inn team insurance professionals for further advice.
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