Last-minute vacancies do not have to be lost opportunities...
The salon and spa industry is one of the most lucrative and fastest growing business sectors in the United States. In 2014, the Dun and Bradstreet First Research report projected industry revenue growth to top $20 billion. The Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics 2017 report projected a 13 percent increase in salon-and-spa industry professionals being hired between 2016 and 2026. Basing future industry projections on past and current market trends, the salon and spa industry should see exponential growth in labor and revenue in the coming years.
However, in order for the industry to continue this upward trend of creating employment opportunities and generating revenue, salon and spa owners have to carefully perform a cost analysis on a routine basis to ensure business-related costs do not diminish revenue and profit margins. A key, but often overlooked, area owners need to focus on is assessing the costs associated with last-minute vacancies.
Rather than allowing these costs to cut into their revenue, and eventual net profit, owners can be proactive in creating a plan that turns what is typically a liability into an asset for their business.
This can be accomplished in a number of ways, from implementing a cancellation policy to enabling an automated marketing tool to reach relevant customers to fill last-minute openings.
The creation and implementation of a cancellation policy should be your merchants’ first step in reducing and reversing the negative impact of last-minute vacancies. It is important to create a policy that deters clients from making last-minute vacancies but doesn’t drive away loyal customers who may have to cancel at the last minute due to an emergency. To compensate for an unexpected vacancy, salon and spa owners can charge a cancellation fee. Some owners charge a flat fee, and others charge a certain percentage of the cost for the services that would have been provided.
If a cancellation policy is implemented, clients need to be made aware of it with plenty of notice and to understand the implications of the policy prior to implementation. The policy needs to be placed in accessible and visible areas of all business locations, and it needs to be placed on all internet-based platforms, such as the business website and/or online scheduling site.
New-Client Waiting List
Last-minute vacancies are a great way to bring in new clients. Your merchants are regularly meeting potential clients, whether it’s during designated marketing campaigns, clients making visits in search of a new salon and spa or during casual conversations. During any of these events, owners should be creating a waiting list if they are not currently accepting new clients. When gathering information, owners can take the opportunity to gather specific details, such the client’s needs and contact information, preferred services, and preferred appointment times. What appeared to be lost revenue once again becomes a revenue-generating opportunity.
Build Existing Client Relationships
It may not seem obvious, but last-minute vacancies can be turned into an opportunity to shower loyal clients with appreciation for their continued support. Longtime clients typically have a set schedule and specific services they prefer and enjoy. If there is a cancellation around their usual appointment time, reach out to see if they would like to come in for an earlier appointment. Your merchants can also offer incentives for filling vacancies or trying new services. This can be conveniently done through an automated marketing platform that integrates right in the POS.
Last-minute vacancies do not have to be lost opportunities. They can be used to maintain current revenue-generating pace or increase it by engaging new potential clients. In an industry that generates roughly $44 billion annually, every situation has potential with the proper time, strategy, and tools in place.