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If you run your own salon, it’s never just business as usual – especially if the front door has your name on it. Master stylist Lorrene Conino can relate. As the owner of Chicago-based Salon Lorrene for 24 years and counting, Conino prides herself on running a successful business offering hair, spa, and bridal services.

Lorrene Conino, master stylist and owner of Salon Lorrene

Conino and Zenoti longtime salon consultant, Sabrina Buddle, discussed the strategies of high-performing salons in a recent Zenoti webinar, now available to watch on demand.

What is a high performing salon

In the webinar, Conino shared ways she works to maximize her revenue and motivate stylists – and how the Zenoti software platform helps her do both. Here are five takeaways:

1. Provide online booking

Salon owners and managers might fear that online booking takes away their control of the appointment book, but Conino confirms they’ll actually have greater control: They can see and approve bookings, adjust the timing or reschedule appointments, and even have FaceTime pre-consultations.

“Online booking is very personalized through Zenoti, and you have full control.”

– Lorrene Conino

At high-performing salons, nearly half of appointments are from online booking; at the average salon, online booking accounts for just about one in five appointments.

To take full advantage of online booking, implement it not only on your website and mobile app, but also on your Google business listing and social media channels.

2. Focus on retail sales and service upsells

Provider-led retail sales can bring in an extra $2,845 per location each month at the highest-performing salons, so there’s great value in preparing salon staff to recommend products to guests in the chair, like Conino does.

For instance, when she runs her “buy 3 items, get 20% off” promotion, she encourages her stylists to tell every guest. “My front desk will close that sale, but the stylists do talk about it and share,” she says.

“If you really move in with retail sales, you can bring an extra two to three thousand dollars into your business per month.”

– Sabrina Buddle, salon consultant

In-chair upsells are also an easy way to increase average ticket size without being pushy. When a guest comes to Salon Lorrene for a color service, Conino gives them the choice of deep conditioning or a shimmer treatment. Such upsells also translate to higher tip income for stylists.

3. Place more emphasis on gift cards

Make gift cards available year-round, and promote them at busy gifting times like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and the holiday season. Conino notes that your salon anniversary is another opportunity to highlight gift cards for a revenue boost.

Here’s a key reason to focus on gift cards: new guest acquisition. The lifetime value (LTV) of a new guest with a gift card could range from a few hundred dollars when they walk in the door to thousands if they like your salon and stay loyal for years. Those $300 balayage treatments add up!

“When you encourage people to give, you’re also really buying future clients for yourself.”

– Sabrina Buddle

How can you bring more attention to gift card offerings? Conino recommends rewarding a gift card purchase with a complimentary service. She offers a free manicure with a $200 gift card or a free mini pedicure at the $400 level. Choose tiers and amounts that work for your business and four to six of your most popular services as giveaways.

Get more salon business tips: The high-performing salon webinar is now available on demand.
Watch now

4. Minimize no-shows

For every $100 lost to no-shows at high-performing salons, the average salon loses $740. If you want to cut no-shows and costly late cancellations, push your guests toward booking online. Data shows that the higher the online booking rate, the lower the no-show rate. In fact, Conino says her salon does not have any no-shows from online booking.

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You can also protect salon revenue and staff time by implementing a no-show policy and fee for every booking. The fee acts as an effective deterrent – Conino finds that guests typically reschedule or cancel in time, freeing up the appointment book for paying customers. When that happens, you’ll improve staff utilization, leading to busy stylists, happy customers, and higher tips.

5. Keep an eye on KPIs

To track the health of your business, pay close attention to your progress across key performance indicators (KPIs) most relevant to your salon. With the Zenoti platform, you can monitor each aspect of your business and generate reports with just a few clicks.

“If you don’t have the data, you won’t know where you were and where you’re going. Even if you’re not good with numbers, Zenoti walks you through it. You could select just the few things you want to watch and add to it over time.”

– Lorrene Conino

Conino also touched on the importance of industry benchmarks to understand salon performance. Like all Zenoti customers, she can access benchmark data to see how her business stacks up to others like it.

Watch The high-performing salon for more ideas on enhancing the guest experience and keeping stylists excited and motivated. During the webinar, you’ll see how strategies such as digital payments and referral programs can benefit your business, as well as the full list of 7 KPIs every salon should track.

Note: The figures in this article are Zenoti data for salons in the U.S. and Canada.


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Gita Mani
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Gita helps brands find the right words for their messaging, with the customer’s best interests informing her approach. Being in nature is her favorite way to unwind.
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Coming from a healthcare family, growing up as a competitive athlete, and being trained as a filmmaker, and MBA, Cullie brings diverse experience to her storytelling and digital business-to-business product marketing. Her writing focuses on sharing trends and insights from her experience in software, entertainment, wellness, and fitness.

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