It’s no secret that this year was a major comeback year for the hospitality industry after the 2020 downturn. We’re seeing travel demand like never before and a major increase in hiring to meet the influx of demand. Spa Directors everywhere are looking for technology to step in and fill staffing gaps. One missed phone call because the spa desk is understaffed can result in major revenue loss, which is why it has never been more important to let your technology fill in during high traffic times or when your staff is clocked out.
The one thing that will never stop advertising for you and working for you is your online booking site
Implementing an online booking site or AI technology can generate tens of thousands of dollars in revenue that could otherwise be missed for a single property. Reasons that revenue could have been missed vary on a case by case basis; maybe your desk concierge was helping a guest select retail in person, maybe a call came through after hours or while the phones were tied up. Whatever the case, this doesn’t have to happen.
The one thing that will never stop advertising for you and working for you is your online booking site. Online booking sites allow guests to start their spa journey by looking at beautiful custom graphics, your service menu, and booking their appointments whenever they want to.
You want the beginning of your guest journey to be as simple as possible because the last thing you want to hear is “Your booking site is down” or “I gave up.”
Nearly half of millennials did not book their last spa appointment by phone
People want to book appointments online these days, and if you don’t accommodate this you will wind up paying for it. Research backs up these claims. ISPA’s Consumer Snapshot Volume VII, Millennial Perceptions and Preferences found that a majority of millennials are “spa-goers” and that nearly half of them did not book their last appointment by phone.
When asked, “Thinking about your most recent visit to a spa, how did you book an appointment?” 40% of respondents booked by phone and 17% booked in person. Of the remainder:
- 24% booked via website on a laptop or PC
- 7% booked via social media
- 4% booked via mobile app
- 8% booked via website via smartphone or tablet
That’s a total of 43% of millennial respondents who used web or mobile technology, rather than a phone, to make their appointments.
Another survey from Accenture, this one looking at healthcare appointments, found that 77% of patients want the ability to book, change or cancel appointments online. This is particularly important to millennials, who make up about a third of the global population and don’t like to make phone calls.
Research conducted by OpenMarket found that, given the choice between only being able to text or call on their mobile phones, 75% of millennials would rather lose the ability to talk, and 76% said they prefer texts over calls from companies.
Then there’s all the revenue lost from only taking appointments during business hours. This just doesn’t work anymore. People want to be able to book whenever the fancy takes them, and that includes after 9pm. Research suggests that between 30% – 40% of appointments are booked outside of business hours (presumably, through a means other than the phone). Averaging those numbers and even allowing for half of those people to call back during business hours, losing just 17.5% of 50 appointments a day at $150 is a loss of $409,00 a year – or nearly a half a million dollars (assuming a spa is open six days a week for 52 weeks out of the year).
People spend more when booking online
Book4Time’s team has also found that people spend more when booking online, spending an average day-spa ticket price of $120.44 when booking online versus $105.92 when booking by phone or in person, for a 12% spend differential.
Top industry leaders in hospitality know the value of online booking
“If you’re a spa today, you absolutely have to be in the online booking space.”
Kenneth Ryan, Vice President – Global Operations: Spa, Fitness and Retail at Marriott International, told Spa Executive magazine in an interview, “I’ve been a champion of online booking for spa for at least eight or nine years. If you’re a spa today, you absolutely have to be in the online booking space. Guests want the freedom to be able to get things done in their time and at their leisure, and not be confined to actually calling when the spa is open or waiting on hold.”
Book4Time also has numerous examples from businesses that have benefited immensely from implementing our software with online booking functionality.
In 2022, online and mobile bookings have so far generated over $1,000,000 in revenue for the spa at Hotel Del Coronado
These include the Spa & Salon at Hotel Del Coronado. In the period between June 2019 and July 2020, after the Del transitioned to Book4Time, online and mobile bookings generated over $240,000 in revenue for the Del. And it gets better! Later, Michelle Frye, Spa Director at the Del, told us, “In 2022 to date, 36% of our business was booked online and this has resulted in over $1,000,000 in revenue.”
“It only made sense that, if our rooms can be booked online, activities booked online, then from the customers perspective, they should be able to book spa online. This lends itself to a better guest experience. Now spa-goers can book online and we don’t risk losing that revenue we were losing through call abandonment, and we alleviate some of the call volume from the call center. This also allows us to yield our treatments and turn on or off online treatment options based on demand.”
“Even when we aren’t actively using Book4Time, we know it’s there.”
Another success story comes from the Four Seasons Park Lane, London. Spa Director Taffryn Ellis gave us an example of Book4Time’s online booking working even when spa staff is gone for the day. Ellis told us, “Even when we aren’t actively using Book4Time, we know it’s there. Over the past year, we’ve seen a significant uptick in online booking. Many of these bookings come in after hours, and it’s reassuring to have a system to capture those appointments instead of hoping guests call back when the spa is open.”
“Appointments come in while we are asleep”
Yoshimi Anderson, Spa Director at Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa, has similar comments. She told us when asked about her favorite features and functionalities of Book4Time: “Online booking capability. This is why we wanted Book4Time. Appointments come in while we are asleep. Guests can easily book online at any time, so we do not have to stretch operation hours just to stay open. We open when guests want to come in.”
She added that the system also helps to reduce spa concierge errors. “Guests book it by themselves,” Anderson said. “So, if there is an error it is not the spa’s fault.”
Another advantage, said Anderson, “is that online booking frees up time for the spa concierge to assist the guests in front of them, rather than spending more time on the phone. So our service became more personable, and staff is not overwhelmed by the number of phone calls coming in.”
“From no online booking to a spa operating at full capacity”
Leah Crump, of Leah Crump Consulting echoed this positive sentiment when she said in an interview, “Successful online booking metrics have been the biggest win. I’ve gone from no online booking to a spa operating at full capacity.”
“It’s a better experience for the guests and less work for us. As a result, we’ve reduced our cancellations by 90%.”
Book4Time also reduces cancellations. Pedro Castillo, Wellness & Spa Director at Eden Roc Cap Cana, explained to us, “Before Book4Time, our clients couldn’t book online. This meant they called and we didn’t make them reserve with their credit card. And because sending reminders was incredibly time-consuming, we often didn’t do it. The end result was that we frequently had no-shows. With Book4Time, our clients reserve online and the system automatically sends them appointment reminders. It’s a better experience for the guests and less work for us. As a result, we’ve reduced our cancellations by 90%.”
More benefits of online booking include only having to ask for information once. Guests can create and maintain their profiles online, giving you instant access to their information, while info taken manually runs the risk of getting lost or being taken down incorrectly. And if you have multiple locations, this information can be shared across all of them, so you have the details available when a client visits another location.
“The power of simple visibility”
Sal Capizzi, Marketing Director at Book4Time and a former Director of Spa and Wellness at NEXUS Luxury Collection, likes to tell the following tale:
“On the very last day of the month at one of my former brands we were about $200 away from reaching our service goal for the month. We were doing some heavy outreach, running reports, pulling client lists and the books were pretty full as far as massages went so it was going to be a facial or esthetics service that took us to the finish line.
“We were hitting our target outreach lists all morning by phone and email. Everyone we spoke to either couldn’t come in on that particular day or already had a service booked for some time in the future.
“By noon when doubt started to roll in I noticed a pending appointment on our Book4Time scheduler. The pending shadow was in the form of an 80min service slot. Still, I was being pessimistic that it would be a basic cleansing facial that would ring out to about $180.
“A few moments later an actual appointment was booked and it was a $495 Platinum Hydrafacial with a couple of add-ons. I was relieved and shocked. The appointment was made by someone who had never visited our spa before and made completely at random simply by having our spa’s online booking site on multiple web pages.
“The client had an exceptional service, bought a few retail items and even stated ‘I had no idea you carried this brand here,’ then went on to also pre-book her next appointment with us for the following month.
“The power of simple visibility may seem basic and sometimes too easy, like when we thought that being on the phone all morning was going to carry us over the finish line. But this story is one I tell time and time again to other spa directors who have doubts about the power of having their menu and bookable services on their online booking site.”
So many benefits of online booking
Increased revenue, time saved, better guest experience, capturing more bookings – there are so many upsides to online booking. The cost of implementing this functionality is a fraction of what you will gain. Get in touch with us to talk about how online booking can benefit your spa or wellness business.