DYK: 38% of spa and salon bookings go for same-day appointments.
If your booking is done exclusively over the phone that can translate to a potential loss of bookings and missed opportunities. Why? Because if your phone line is busy then guests can’t reach you to book their same-day appointments.
If we told you that you could secure more bookings, cut fixed costs, AND create a better work environment for your staff, would you be interested?
The right online booking software can do all of that - and more! But picking the right one for your salon or spa takes time, research, and resources.
To save you time and Google searches and bring you clarity on what can be a game-changing decision, we’re breaking down everything you need to know about online scheduling software.
Let’s get into it.
What is an Online Scheduling App?
An online booking application is a live-update calendar where guests can view stylists’ availability and choose the date/time that works best for them. Not only is a booking software convenient for guests, but it also enables businesses to track and manage appointments efficiently and securely.
With an online booking tool, guests don’t have to drop into your salon, call you on the phone, wait on hold, get a call back while they’re in a meeting, miss that call, call back but realize it’s after hours, leave a voicemail, and wait until the next day. Sounds like a lot right? And unfortunately, it’s more likely that if they aren’t speaking to someone from your team on the first call, they are looking elsewhere for an appointment.
Scheduling appointments is one of the most time-consuming tasks at a salon. Take that work off their plate so they can focus on building relationships with your guests.
Learn more about the benefits of online appointment booking software here.
What Does a Salon Appointment Booking Tool Do?
The real question here is, what doesn’t it do?
While not all salon and spa booking software is created equal, the best ones are designed to make your life easier. Intelligent, high-quality salon appointment booking software can:
- Cut fixed costs
- Offload time-consuming administrative tasks from your front desk staff
- Get more bookings
- Automatically offer guests the right time slot, with the right service provider, at the right location
Cut Fixed Costs
Hiring and keeping quality staff is challenging. And with payroll being a top fixed cost, using software that can cut down on the number of staff you need while unburdening the team you do have from unnecessary administrative duties can be a game-changer (and dollar saver!).
Create a Better Work Environment for Your Staff
Let’s face it, no one wants to come into work with 10+ voicemails, let alone check them to find 50% are hang ups and out of the remaining 50% they need to play phone tag with before making contact.
Take the upfront booking off your front desk staff’s hands and end the need for manual appointment reminders. With automated appointment reminders to guests on their chosen platform (email, SMS or WhatsApp) you ensure they don’t miss their appointment, while saving your front desk staff time, and giving them the tools they need.
For more tips on creating an engaging work environment your staff, check out this blog post.
Get More Bookings
An efficient salon and spa booking software ensures that your calendar is always synced and up to date. Making it easy for your busy guests to find slots for services at their convenience. Guests are also empowered with the tools they need to rebook or cancel their appointments from their chosen device, be it their phone, your website, or your social media accounts. And in the background, your booking software detects the cancellation and adjusts the provider’s schedule accordingly.
46% of appointment scheduling is done by guests themselves.
The best salon scheduling software also integrates a secure payment gateway to ensure touchless transactions, mitigate friction, and offer access to products and services at your guests’ convenience.
What Appointment Booking Features Should You Look For?
In the salon industry, regulations often change, especially since the pandemic. With a booking tool, you can make changes to rules like mask requirements and distance quickly and easily.
Instead of spending time “putting out (appointment booking) fires”, an online appointment booking tool gives your front desk staff time back to focus on your guests.
Key Features to Look For:
✅ Self-service booking: The ease of booking from anywhere and at any time makes self-service booking the preferred option for guests.
✅ Quick and easy login: Guests can rebook an earlier appointment quickly with just a few clicks via the app or any platform of their choice, such as the salon’s website or social media.
✅ Access to guest-visit history: A booking tool that saves guests’ visit history spares them from having to re-enter their profile information, debit or credit card details, and service history each time they book an appointment. Plus, it lets guests access their package or membership details quickly.
✅ Payment security and flexibility: A trusted salon and spa booking software will be secure and offer a variety of payment options.
✅ Intelligent multi-service booking order: A smart appointment booking system ensures that services are scheduled in the right order, such as a color before a blowout, or body scrub before a massage.
✅ Appointment time optimization: Instead of stacking similar services together, an intelligent scheduling app should stack services guest-wise, cutting both wait time for guests and downtime for service providers.
✅ Identifying downtime: A scheduling app can fill provider gaps by adding services so that your staff’s time and skills are used optimally, and they can earn extra tips.
✅ Booking at nearby locations: When a guest can’t find a convenient time at their preferred location, the app should display open slots at your other locations, giving the guest more options and increasing the chances of their business staying with you.
✅ Upselling: A robust booking tool should use the window of appointment scheduling to upsell, allowing guests to buy products or book more future services than they intended to.
What Do the Best Online Scheduling Tools Have in Common?
The above features are non-negotiable. Any online scheduling app should meet the basic needs of your business, but a modern-day salon appointment booking software should do much more.
The best online scheduling apps offer the features mentioned above as well as premium benefits that empower your staff, amaze your guests, and position your salon business a cut above the rest.
Benefits for Your Guests
1. Mobile-Friendly Design
29% of guests book their first ever appointment online, which makes having an interactive platform that is designed for mobile-first use crucial.
70% of customer online bookings come in through mobile devices.
2. Superior Self-Check-In and Check-Out
Hallmark movies are popular for a reason. They’re predicable, easy to watch, and make you smile. Is your check-in and check-out experience the same? 55% of people find self-service web portals difficult to use. If it isn’t as easy and enjoyable as a Hallmark movie, we don’t want it.
Save time and cut your front desk staff by half with a sophisticated mobile application that allows automatic self-check-in when your guests enter the salon, and self-check-out as they leave, processing payments through the mobile system.
3. Endless Booking Options
Most guests prefer booking with a familiar service provider. An intuitive appointment booking system allows guests to find their preferred provider and rearrange other service providers’ schedules to accommodate the request. Guests who don’t have a preference will be assigned to an available provider, ensuring that providers remain busy even when their slots are moved around at the last minute.
Further, quality software offers multiple appointment options, including bookings for couples and small or large groups.
Our data shows that 66% of salon and spa visits booked online are identical to a customer’s previous visit.
Benefits for You and Your Staff
1. Automated Booking
The best salon booking apps check parameters like availability of service providers, room, and equipment. They can adjust appointment times, suggest booking slots, popular providers’ next availability, and more in just a few seconds.
2. Employee Satisfaction
The best scheduling apps for salons will take employee satisfaction into account by providing them access to their schedule, service details, notes from previous appointments, and information about guest preferences. It will empower them with data on their earnings and ratings and help manage schedules, time off, guest check-ins, upsells, and more.
3. Integrate with Marketing Campaigns
An all-inclusive scheduling app doesn’t neglect your marketing goals. It allows guests to enter discount or coupon codes to redeem special offers while booking services online, or add gift cards to invoices while processing payments, ensuring your business makes more profits with each service offered. It will also market to online users and prompt your front desk staff to upsell. Incorporating your retail products on the app will allow guests to buy their favorite products from home between their visits, which means more revenue for you.
Bottom line is the best online salon or spa scheduling software for your business is one that is easy for your guests to use, saves you time and money, and makes life for your staff better.
If you’re ready to invest in an innovative salon scheduling tool, it’s time to book a Zenoti demo!
Let our team of experts show you how our feature-rich software will make running your business easier, more efficient, and more cost-effective.