Beat the 40% Benchmark for Online Bookings with SalonIQ
What other salons are doing to smash online bookings, reduce no-shows and make more money through their websites – and how you can grab a piece of the action too!

21 February 2023

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During December 2022, one of our salon owners achieved 1,254 online bookings through their group’s websites, which equates to 40.7% of their total bookings that month. And they’re not the only ones…

So on this page, we show you why we think YOU should be aiming for the same, maybe even better, how to set up the perfect online booking sequence, and how other salon owners are already doing it.

Take bookings for your salon while you sleep

Since re-opening our salons following Covid, many reconsidered their opening hours and actually made some big changes, some now close on what would have been very busy days of the week, such as Saturday for example. And while this idea does not suit all salons, it has made a great impact on staff morale in the salon and higher levels of productivity. Directing your clients to book online every while you sleep allows them to check your availability and find a day that suits them without the need for interaction from you by telephone or email.

Did you know 42% of all UK online salon bookings are made out of hours, between 6pm and 8am?

This statistic has increased significantly in recent years within our industry, we strongly predict this figure increasing even further as time goes on. make sure you are a part of the online bookings world for Hair and Beauty salons.

Tip: Ensuring your salon and team’s rosters are set correctly is very important, your clients will be able to view and select a time based on your availability.

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“I’m really happy we’ve achieved such a high online booking rate, our clients find the booking process very easy – they can see all the services we offer at a glance.”
Phil Tracey, The Naughty Egg – now taking 78% of his bookings online

Why salons must BOOST their online bookings  and increase their revenue from new clients

In just one month, SalonIQ saw 85,802 total online bookings made and a whopping 14,844 (17%) of those were from NEW clients to salons. These days, your salon’s online presence really is replacing your shop window.

According to phone retailer BankMyCell, 75% of millennials now avoid phone calls altogether and 81% experience “apprehension anxiety” before summoning up the courage to make a call. What’s more, in February 2023, an estimated 2.64 billion people bought products or services online. That’s 33.3% of the population of the entire world. So one in three people you see makes their purchases online…. and salons need to be capturing that intent.

To encourage more prospects to choose you as their new salon over another, the simplest and easiest thing you can do is to reduce friction from the journey. An online booking option is a subtle but seriously effective way to show your prospects that you’re a salon that understands their needs and desires from the get-go.

SalonIQ software tip: Having an obvious call to action “Book now” button plastered all over your website, social media and messaging gives anyone who avoids the phone another reason to choose you.

Stylists and therapists hate selling – online bookings take the strain, reduce errors and make your life easier

Nobody becomes a stylist or therapist for a love of sales. Taking the strain off your creative people will give them more freedom to do the thing they’re so good at, plus it’ll leave them more satisfied in their roles too. Here’s why:

  • Your team won’t have to spend so much time on the phone or checking emails to answer booking queries
  • They don’t have to manually update your availability, enter each new booking into a complicated spreadsheet, or send out individual confirmation emails either
  • A great online booking system does it all on autopilot, cutting out human error along the way

But more importantly…

Done right, your online booking system can leave clients psychologically more open to the upsell when they’re in front of the mirror.

…Which is another tick in the job satisfaction box from your team’s point of view (and more revenue for you). But how? It’s as simple as taking a deposit online at the point of booking, leaving the client feeling like they’ve got more cash to spend when they’re in the salon.

“We find having guests able to book online frees up the team in the salon to spend more time with their guests, but the biggest advantage we find is our guests being able to book their appointments out of hours and at a time that suits them.” – Paul Parker, UK Hairdressers Group incl. Regis and Supercuts

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Okay, now we’ve really gone and said it. The D-word!

Deposits. The big one. If you’ve never taken deposits in your salon before, it can feel a little bit scary. We get it (we’re salon owners too remember). But taking deposits is now transforming the way British salons do business… Plus it’s great for your cash flow. So we’ve GOT to talk about it.

Say goodbye to no-shows by taking deposits

Right now, 51% of our salon owners are asking clients for a deposit at the point their booking is made online, and we’ve found that doing this significantly reduces no-shows.

The average deposit value paid by clients when making a booking online is £51.49.

That’s astounding. And we really believe it’s the only way to reduce your no-shows all together, so we’re working with our salon owners to review their current no-show percentage and share the benefits of having a deposit system in place for their salons.

Taking deposits doesn’t just lower your no-shows either, it helps you increase your revenues too. Let’s break this down even more – a typical in-salon bill is around £50, give or take. The average online deposit value is £51.49.

But here’s where this gets really interesting…

You see, the typical deposit request is around 50% of the total bill – which means there are plenty of salons that are taking well over that average £51.49 per booking.

One of our salon groups took just over £75,000 in online deposits in December alone – so how can YOU change your processes to take more money online too?

Getting your salon online right – 6 ways your salon can smash online bookings this year

Now you know what difference online bookings can make to your salon, here’s how to bang out the process in the best way possible.

1. Link your website in with your booking portal

If you don’t already have a website, it’s time to get one sharpish (there are plenty of free or inexpensive website-building tools online). Your website should be attractive with clear messaging and – most importantly – it MUST link in with your booking portal.

Your portal is your client’s Hub, their go-to and central place showing key areas about your salon from, viewing your service menu and booking online, to reading your reviews, purchasing gift cards and homecare to finding out your exact salon location and contact details.

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2. Add super clear calls to action all over your website, ads and SMS/email blasts

Your salon can have the best online booking system in the world but if you’re not telling your clients how to use it, it’ll be worthless.

Big buttons and QR codes with clear instructions, like “Click HERE to book your appointment” and “BOOK NOW” dotted throughout your website, on your paid advertising and in every email, SMS or post you submit will do the trick!

3. Add all your key services to your booking menu

Within your portal, you’ll have the option to add your key salon services to your booking menu. It’s always worth running a report to find out what your most used services really are – there are often some surprises in there. Ensure these services are available for your clients to book themselves online.

SalonIQ users can run a service ranking report within the reports suite to pinpoint exactly which services need to be bookable in their online menu. We recommend running this report for a period of 3 months to give yourself a good indication on popularity.

You can still use your online booking system to capture the data of anyone who’s looking for something that’s not on your menu too. Simply give them the option to book the initial consultation first instead.

4. Finetune the upgrades available in your online booking portal

Having the option to book online is one thing, but using your portal to increase service upgrades is something else altogether.

Great salon software will give you the opportunity to select criteria for your chosen upsells, then it’ll automatically scan for available upgrade appointments close to the slot that your client is booking.

In other words, if you’ve chosen Olaplex as a service upgrade for cut and blow dries, then when Jane comes to select her cut and blow dry next Friday at 10am, SalonIQ will automatically scan the calendar and decide whether there’s also availability for an Olaplex around the same time Jane’s coming in. If there is, the booking portal will then ask Jane if she wants to add that in with her cut and blow dry.

This is also a fantastic way to promote services that are not as popular or known to your clients, perhaps they had an additional service at their last appointment but struggling to remember what it was or they could have completely forgotten about it. The upgrade options gives them a nudge and may just encourage them to select this as well before they complete the online booking.

Increase the value of your Online bookings by offering upgraded services with your most popular services

At SalonIQ, we recommend you offer no more than 3-5 service upgrades per menu item. Very quickly, you can increase the value of your online bookings through these additional extras, plus you can promote new or less popular services too.

5. Set your salon system up to take payments online

Your salon booking platform will become even more appealing to existing and new clients when they have the option to make fuss-free payments ahead of appointments. Taking payments online will reduce your no-shows and seal in those upgrade services too, leaving your clients more open to purchasing products in-salon on the day of their appointment.

By incorporating Stripe (like PayPal but with a cheaper rate), you can accept credit and debit card payments through your online portal, which will then be transferred to your bank account.

Once you have a Stripe account, it’s quick and easy to connect it to SalonIQ. Simply to go Main Menu > Settings > Online > IQ Payments > Link account. And to activate deposits, go to Main Menu > Settings > Salon > Appointments and Online Bookings then alter the deposits field.

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6. Train your staff extensively

Whenever you introduce a new practice in your salon, training your team will make the transition easier (at SalonIQ, we’ll take care of all the salon booking software training you need!). You’ll:

  • Minimise hiccups and interruption later down the line
  • Avoid duplicate reservations, missed bookings and technological difficulties that cost your company time, money, and possibly even clients
  • Empower your staff to make changes to existing guest reservations, check employee schedules, swap shifts, and schedule holiday time using your online salon booking system

How far ahead do guests book online? (Probably less than you think!)

We recently found the average gap between a booking being made and the guest’s actual appointment is 8.5 days. That struck us as lower than expected, and we reckon it means salon owners need to take four important actions:

  • Once a week, every week, you should be looking at the following week and working out where the availability is – that’s the first place you should focus every week.
  • Wherever you’ve got appointments available next week, use an email or SMS blast to push those appointments – you could literally list everything that’s available to save your clients and prospects making their way through your calendar.
  • You can be topical in your messaging in those blasts. Why not refer to something in the news and get really creative with your reasons for sending out those open appointments?
  • Again, make sure you’ve got a big, fat “Book now” button or link in every. single. thing. you send out.
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Online bookings for salons – what do you do about team holidays, skin tests and colour consultations?

When you need to do a skin test before you can apply any colour, letting someone book a colour appointment might feel like an inappropriate thing to do. And what on earth do you do when someone books a slot on a day that their stylist’s going to be away?

The good news is that smart salon booking systems like SalonIQ allow you to handle both of these complications.

First off, your team simply enter their away days and holidays into your SalonIQ system and the calendar will automatically update the online availability to prevent clients from booking on a day when their stylist is off.

Likewise, you can block users from booking colour appointments (or any type of appointment you choose for that matter). Instead, you could give them the option to book a consultation and accompany this with a skin test.

No need to call any clients back to have that awkward “actually you need a skin test first” conversation – you simply book their colour appointment during that initial consultation in the salon instead.

We help lots of our salon owners manipulate their online booking system to do this, including Phil Tracey, the lovely owner of The Naughty Egg salon in Backwell.

Meet The Naughty Egg salon owner, Phil Tracey, who’s achieved an average 78% online booking rate over the last three months

In less than a year, Phil has increased his bookings by using his very own Salon online booking app. Over the last three months, he’s averaged a whopping 78% online bookings, which means he’s now scheduling only 22% of his appointments over the phone.…Freeing up more time, reducing staffing costs and giving his clients a far better experience.

We sat down with Phil to chat through the process and find out what he’s made of it. Here’s what he said:

“Our clients have taken on the booking system really well. Without a doubt they find the booking process very easy – at the touch of a button they can plan their day. The main benefit of our online booking system has to be the convenience, the clients can see at a glance what services we offer and book any time of the day.

“To be honest, I’m proud and really happy that we’ve achieved such a high online booking rate and I’d highly recommend SalonIQ as a result. Great system, great back-up, great company, and I love seeing results on all our figures at just the push of a button.”

Naawww, thanks Phil.

Take your salon to the next level with an impeccable online booking system that brings in more clients and generates more revenue

Our Head Office Team – making sure that our customers get the most out of SalonIQ

If what we’re saying is making sense to you, we’d love to help you put this plan into action. At SalonIQ, we’re not just known for our amazing cloud-based software – it’s our team of salon owners, stylists and industry experts that make such a difference too.

We’re here to help you and your team get the most out of your software, so you can get your salon maximising revenue on autopilot. Any time you’ve got a question or need to provide your staff with some training, we’ll be there.

There are no silly questions here – being salon owners ourselves, we’re all in this together. Book a demo below and let’s chat about how we can help you make more of your salon too.

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