09 Nov 2015

Written by Alice Smithson

Filling those last-minute cancellations, quiet days of the week and the columns of less popular or junior stylists/therapists can be easier said than done. 3rd party deal sites (like Groupon and Wahanda) will give you a busier salon, but take control out of your hands and money out of your till.

Fill those last-minute salon appointments

One of the most effective ways to cut downtime is to run a last-minute appointment system in your salon or spa.

The business benefits of running a last-minute appointment marketing system speak for themselves:

  • Reduce salon downtime
  • Say goodbye to deal websites
  • Attract new clients
  • Boost quiet periods
  • Build new staff columns
  • Discount only if you want to
  • Keep control in your hands
  • Motivate your salon team

Growing market for last-minute salon appointments

Only a few years ago last-minute booking was for emergencies only or for bargain-hunters searching for a cheap salon deal.

Today, with the spread of mobile devices, especially smartphones, the marketing landscape has changed forever. People love the freedom of booking holidays, restaurants and transport last-minute to suit their hectic timetables and busy lives. And this growing trend is taking the hair and beauty sector by storm.

“So how do you take advantage of this new last-minute mindset and fill those empty column gaps?”

There are two ways – manual and automated through your salon software system. Let’s look at them both:

1. Manual salon systems to fill those empty appointments

Running a manual late-availability system takes time, a dedicated receptionist and planning.

You also need to find a way to promote these eleventh hour appointments to your clients so they can snap them up. Here are a couple of ideas…

On social: Create generic graphics promoting last-minute availability so you can swiftly post across your social channels when a no-show happens or a team member is quiet. You need to be organised, with one person responsible for posting, otherwise you can miss the opportunity.

Set up a manual stand-by telephone system: Clients can call x hours ahead to book any late availability. You need to have a good receptionist for this as some clients will ring earlier and try to persuade your receptionist to give them an appointment. Again, you do need to make the effort to promote this on your website, social channels and e-news to spread the word.

2. Online last-minute booking salon software

The problem with manual systems is that they are time-consuming for you and not especially convenient for your client. Clients not only want the flexibility and spontaneity that last-minute booking gives, they expect to be able to do it online with a quick tap of their phone 24/7.

If you’re an iSalon software system user we now have the answer.

We’ve just launched a unique last-minute appointment website solution and a powerful app so your clients can snap up last-minute bookings without you having to lift a finger, or the phone. Find out more here.