Do you want to start taking online bookings for your salon, spa or clinic, but you’re unsure which booking platform is best for your business?
This guide covers the eight most important things to look for in an online booking platform to ensure your system will provide a great experience for your clients, and blends seamlessly with your own appointment book, website and workflow.
Here’s what you should look for in an online booking system for your salon, spa or clinic.
1. Ease of use
First and foremost you want your online booking to be easy for your clients to use. The platform should allow you to clearly display your services, their descriptions and prices. You should be able to manage these into categories to make services easy to find. Functionality that shows your most popular services and your client’s recently booked services is also great for clients.
Make sure it’s easy for your clients to choose their preferred staff member, and if you have multiple locations, they should be able to switch easily between them and still be able to view their history across your entire business if necessary.
Another way to encourage your clients to book online is to install Book Now buttons on your Facebook business page and Instagram profile. If your salon online booking software has an integration with Facebook (which also owns Instagram), it will make it easy and convenient for your clients to book an appointment without leaving their favourite social platform.
2. Automated confirmations and reminders
Appointment confirmations and reminders help to significantly reduce no-shows and cancellations. Bookings made online need to offer this same automated follow-up functionality, especially if you need to make a change to an online booking before confirming it.
It’s even better if appointment confirmations include the ability for clients to quickly and easily add their appointment to their calendar.
3. Provides clients with access to their information
Imagine if your clients could securely access their balances and history, update their contact information and share photos with you. Online booking can give them this ability without putting your client database at risk.
Clients should be able to login to view their upcoming and past appointments, as well as their up-to-date loyalty balance to see how far away they are from a reward. If they’ve purchased vouchers or concessions, they should be able to see the remaining balances.
When booking appointments, it should be easy for them to add photos and you should be alerted when one is added so your staff know exactly what their clients want before they even arrive. They could even add photos as progress updates to keep you up-to-date too or check in on before and after photos you add to their client card.
An online booking platform that allows clients to update their information and links those updates to your client cards means you have correct, up-to-date client data ensures you can remind clients of their upcoming appointment, market to them and be well prepared when they next come in.
4. Accepts deposits for online bookings
Taking full payments or deposits from your clients through online booking can further reduce no-shows and cancellations. These payments increase your client’s commitment to their appointment.
Look for the ability to customise the deposit to suit your business and clients. You should be able to require a dollar or percentage value deposit in order for your clients to complete their online booking.
Learn more: Why you should take deposits for online bookings.
5. Enables online voucher sales
Vouchers make great gift options for your clients and act as a powerful referral tool for your business. The ability to sell vouchers online, such as through an online booking platform makes purchasing and giving vouchers even more convenient for your clients.
Kitomba’s Online Voucher Sale functionality not only lets your clients purchase vouchers online, they can also send the voucher directly to the recipient. Meanwhile, the voucher is automatically tracked in Kitomba, even across multiple sites, making giving and using online vouchers easy for you and your clients.
6. Remain in control of your appointment book
You should be able to maintain complete control of your appointment book even while taking bookings online. Look for the ability to accept, move, change or cancel online bookings before they’re confirmed. This way, you decide what goes into your appointment book.
For example, if a regular client books for the wrong type of service, you can edit their appointment before confirming it and they’ll be notified of the update. You should also be able to choose which services are bookable online, giving you even more control.
7. Secure, accurate bookings
Offering your clients a great online service shouldn’t mean you need to compromise on security. Clients should be required to login and create an online booking profile that links to existing client cards in your database and ensures bookings are made by a real person.
This prevents online bookings from making duplicate clients, clients from making fake appointments and spam appointments.
8. Fully customisable to fit your brand
Your online booking platform should allow you to personalise and customise the look and feel by adding your brand colours, a banner image, opening hours and a blurb about your business.
Get started with online booking for your salon, spa or clinic
If you’re looking for the best online booking system for salons, spas and clinics, Kitomba’s Online Booking offers so much more than the ability for your clients to book their appointments online.
Not only does Kitomba Online Booking provide all eight of the most important aspects to look for in an online booking system covered in this article, but it’s proven to add value to salons, spas and clinics as a source of revenue while creating a great client experience.
If you don’t have online booking in your salon, spa or clinic, book a personalised demo to see how Kitomba’s online booking and other powerful functionality can help you grow your business.
- How to create the best online booking client experience
- How to make $4,000 a month with online booking
- How to sell more online gift vouchers
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on 23 October 2018 and was updated in October 2020 for relevance and comprehensiveness.