We hear from some spas that they’re not interested in online booking. Of course they know their spa business better than anyone, but when we take a look at how spas are succeeding with online booking and growing revenue and bookings we want to take a deeper look at why they are resisting this spa innovation. These six reasons are the ones most commonly quoted from spas that aren’t ready to move their business forward:
1. Our services are too specialized/complicated/sensitive to be booked online, we need to speak directly to each client and make sure that they fully understand the service.
Most guests book your most popular and approachable services, such as a basic massages. Many spas offer some signature services that might require communication with a prospective guest. However, those signature services are most likely to be booked by repeat guests with whom you already have a relationship. Those guests have likely already discussed the treatment on a previous visit and are more likely to book by phone.
Photos can help guests visualize each service offering and self-select those treatments that make them feel comfortable. For any spa that offers basic massages, or any simple treatment, as part of your spa menu, online booking will benefit your spa.
2. There will not be enough lead time with online booking, it will be a scheduling nightmare.
25% of appointments at resort and hotel spas are booked 2-3 days in advance and 20% of appointments are booked within 24 hours (2015 ISPA Industry Spa Study). Marriott International found that guests who booked their appointments online, averaged four days in advance, providing even more lead time for scheduling purposes. Online Booking also gives you an opportunity to set the most appropriate lead time for a particular service. Scheduling will always be a complication for service-oriented spas, online booking may encourage guests to book farther in advance because there is less friction in the process.
3. Our guests want the service of booking their appointment with a live person.
Online is here to stay and only going to become more important as the digital-native generation takes precedence. Already, many guests are more comfortable making reservations without human interaction and actively seek online booking opportunities. These guests may bypass spas that do not offer online booking and book with competitors that do. These types of people consider an attractive, easy-to-use website and booking process as exceptional guest service. For spas that continue to insist on phone or in person bookings only, they may experience a decrease in bookings as consumers look for online channels.
4. There will be many fake appointments and problems to clean up if we offer online booking.
Spas with successful online booking programs report that it has not created fake appointments and they have not increased no-shows. Spas that are successful with online booking review all of the appointments that come in through the website, just as they review all of the appointments that are made through other channels. They use the automatic confirmation feature to ensure that the guest has the appointment information accessible and then follow up with Automatic Appointment Reminders to ensure the guest doesn’t forget about their appointment. In addition, requiring guests to provide a credit card number with their booking helps ensure that the guest is truly serious about their booking.
5. We have plenty of bookings, we don’t need to take reservations online.
That might be true today, however online booking isn’t going away and will only grow in importance as the technology-native generations become the largest consumers of travel and services. You can keep the status quo, or you can prepare to meet the booking needs of these consumers that require the ability to book online. In addition, offering online booking can increase the amount of reservations you can accept and process, without adding to staffing costs. By offering online booking, your administrative costs are reduced and your profits can increase.
6. I don’t have time to manage an online booking website.
Managing a busy spa is a full-time plus job. Just keeping up with the day to day needs such as resource scheduling, budgeting and marketing can seem overwhelming at times. Your online booking solution needs to be seamlessly connected to your spa management system so you can manage pricing and availability and have it flow in real time to your website. An easy to use administration site helps you manage the back end. Once the online booking website has been customized to reflect your branding, configured to present the services you want to offer online and procedures established, the website basically runs itself.
We think that online spa booking is right for every spa and provide the customizable application that will make it work for your spa business. Contact us today to set up a demo.