In most savvy service-based businesses, online booking systems are of serious consideration. The main reason is because for consumers, the value of convenience and instant gratification continues to grow.
Recent studies indicate that over 60% of consumers want online booking options from local businesses, and a full 25% of Millennials will only book appointments online. Furthermore, it is estimated that online booking can boost spray-tan appointments by up to 25%, and the way appointments are handled post-booking can boost sunless sales by an additional 15%.
Online booking is not meant to replace traditional appointment-setting methods; but giving customers the choice to schedule by phone or online can satisfy the preferences of both customer types.
When a business is closed, potential customers are unable to book an appointment. Research shows that over 40% of bookings are made during non-business hours. Without an online option, a business can miss out on appointments from those calling the night before, or early in the morning. Even worse, if the person has never tanned at your facility, she may find your competitor who does offer online booking, and make her appointment there.
Online booking frees up time for your staff to have longer conversations with customers who contact you by phone. Rather than focus on scheduling, they will have more time (and less interruptions) to explain pre-session skin prep, what to expect afterward, and to talk about the products and services you offer. This will lead to a better experience and higher sales.
When setting up, there are several aspects of appointment scheduling that should be considered, such as service time needed, availability of the airbrush tanning artist, the service to be provided (competition body-spray or basic spray) and the client’s scheduling needs. It can be complex; but the primary goal should be a great booking experience in which the customer feels prepared, and staff get the info they need. Also, because prep and aftercare are intrinsic to a successful experience, sunless tanning professionals appreciate the importance of conveying the correct info to a customer during a booking. This should be built into the application.
Automatic text message appointment reminders can reduce no-shows for airbrush appointments by 50%. One reason why texts are extremely effective is that most people check messages several times per day. Text reminders also make it easy for customers to cancel, giving you the opportunity to fill that appointment with a walk-in or same-day booking. And, by reducing the need to dedicate staff to make reminder calls, they can focus on more productive business related activities.
Integration with Search Engines & Consumer Sites – Several platforms help you take online bookings from sites like Google, Bing and Facebook. This can be a powerful way to engage customers and get more business.
Credit Card Booking – This option not only shores up your revenue, but also helps prevent no-shows.
Cross Platform Connections – For businesses “On the Go,” this can offer an additional way to stay connected by maintaining access to your calendar and clients from any computer, tablet or smartphone.
IM & Photo-Sharing – Being able to IM customers through your platform and share photos through an embedded communicator is far safer than sharing your cell phone number with strangers.
Automatic Re-Book Reminders – This is a great way to ensure regular repeat business and increase visit frequency.
If you would like more information on any of my sunless tanning or business recommendations, feel free to reach out to QueenOfSunless@infinitysun.com.
Infinity Sun Founder/CEO, Veronique Munro, is considered a pioneer in the sunless tanning industry. She was given the name “Queen of
Sunless” by Bravo TV and “Celebrity Spray-Tanner” as she introduced sunless tanning to many Hollywood stars. Munro actively consults as a sunless expert with magazines including Allure, Glamour, Lucky, Vanity Fair and Self, as well as the hit TV shows Glee, Sunset Tan, Millionaire Matchmaker, Dr. 90210 and Entourage, among others.
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