“It’s like getting two birds with one stone,” says Roula Nassar, owner of Roula’s Nail Spa in Houston. “Friends book together and they are able to enjoy someone’s company while getting beautified.” Nassar says her salon receives requests every day for double bookings — appointments where two clients come in at the same time to enjoy side-by-side services. Double bookings became popularized as a fun way to celebrate events, such as Mother’s Day or birthdays. Today, salons who service two (or even three or four) clients at once are replacing traditional meeting spots such as coffee shops, bars, and surprisingly, even movie theaters.
Double bookings seem to attract natural nail clients over enhancement clients. One reason for this may be because enhancement clients are more likely to prebook their appointments instead of spontaneously deciding to get their nails filled. But another contributing factor may be the relaxed pace of natural nail services, especially pedicures. For the most part, natural nail services include a massage, which helps slow the pace, relax the client, and create a small reprieve from an otherwise hectic schedule. Most often, we want a slower pace when we meet a friend, making natural nail services at a salon a perfect choice.
With the increase in double bookings, it’s clear that clients are using the salon as a gathering place. By accommodating multiple clients during the same hour, salon owners can keep their current customers happy and attract new ones to the salon. Read on to see how these salon owners have creatively accommodated the double-booking trend.
Roula’s Nail Spa, Houston
“We include a cocktail or a mocktail with our services,” says owner Roula Nassar. Adults enjoy a cocktail, and teens or little girls sip mocktails, pretty drinks with no alcohol, while getting their nails done. Offering a drink doesn’t have to prolong the service, but it does increase the “aaahh” factor, so clients automatically take a deep breath and relax. Salon owners can encourage clients to extend their time in the salon by offering specials that will help them linger longer. For example, Nassar says she runs a special offering $5 off a mani/pedi combo, encouraging dual services during double bookings. “Most people walk out with a combo,” says Nassar. “I would say 50% are the mani/pedi combo, with 35% getting a pedicure only and 15% get only a manicure.” Though they don’t do a lot of advertising to promote double services, Nassar says the salon self-promotes the opportunity. “We’re conducive to double services because of the location, because we have eight pedicure stations, seven of which have a mani attachment, and because, though clients come together, they can personalize their experience by choosing their favorite of our 22 different scents,” she says.
The Nail Bar, Dallas
“We accommodate clients who spontaneously decide they want to get pedicures together, even without an appointment scheduled,” says manager Star Williams. “Clients will walk in with Starbucks cups and want to sit down and spend time together. It happens naturally when there is space enough for two.” Clients are allowed to BYOB (bring their own bottle), which makes after-work hours and Friday evenings popular times for appointments. “People meet here after work instead of meeting friends out for a drink,” says Williams. In addition to the “after-work” crowd, double bookings offer a draw to people who just want a place to meet. “We get friends, sisters, and mothers and daughters who come in to spend time together.” There is a difference between “double bookings” and “parties” at the salon, says Williams. “Parties,” she notes, “are for when a bunch of friends want to celebrate an event; double bookings are for every day.” An added benefit to a double appointment: Clients who schedule together most often also want the high-end services. The “Nail Bar Signature Package,” a mani/pedi combo, is the most popular choice for double bookings, though other options are available that cost less than this $70 service. Though the Nail Bar doesn’t run promotions or discounts for double bookings, they do offer an early-bird special that discounts the mani/pedi combo, so friends are able to take advantage of the discount if they book early in the day.
Cosmos Beauty Bar, Glen Ellyn, Ill.
“We add the entertainment value,” says owner Annie Johnson. With a full-service bar as part of the salon, Cosmos is literally a Beauty Bar. “When clients book appointments together, they get something tangible and intangible,” says Johnson. “They get to be out with a friend, but they also leave with something tangible: beautiful nails.” Going out for a mani and martini is less expensive than dinner and a movie, but evenings and happy hours aren’t the only times that book up for nail services with a shot and twist: Business meetings, mother/daughter, or aunt/niece outings are also very popular bookings. “We decorate the whole salon to celebrate every holiday,” says Johnson. “Clients love it. The salon is so festive, and clients know when they come in it will be a ton of fun.” Johnson says double bookings happen mostly through word-of-mouth, though she does advertise her salon in local magazines and newspapers, as well as through donations of gift baskets at multiple fundraisers. The fact that there are multiple pedicure booths and manicure tables, along with a full bar, makes double bookings a natural and regular part of the offerings at Cosmos Beauty Bar.
Scratch Pedicure Parlour, Rockford, Ill.
“We offer a movie night where friends can book services together and bring a bottle of wine and a movie to enjoy while they’re getting their pedicures,” says owner Heather Hall-Williams. The salon’s location makes it easy for clients to order carry out from local restaurants in case they also want to enjoy dinner or snacks. Hall-Williams says she began to see that clients schedule together, and she realized they were using the salon as a place to hang out with friends while they got their nails done. Her salon is located downtown, making it accessible not only as a destination, but also as a perfect spot where clients stop in as part of their evening plans. “We see a lot of Adam-and-Eve bookings, where clients come in before they go out,” says Hall-Williams. “Other times, coming in for pedicures and drinks isn’t tacked on as part of the date — it is the date.“ To promote clients scheduling together, Hall-Williams runs specials that discount double bookings. “We offer $10 off your service when you book with a friend, which really means they each get $5 off the service.“ Hall-Williams markets through signs in the salon’s window, through Facebook, and by participating in her city’s First Friday events. All of these help get the word out to current and potential clients that her salon can be the go-to destination for friends.