More Pre-Booking Incentive Ideas

This is the last week of our discussion about pre-booking. My hope is that you have really taken this to heart and taken action after reading our blog. All my posts throughout September and October have been about pre-booking. Please re-read each of them to make sure you didn’t forget something and to refresh your memory. It’s November and we really need to master pre-booking quickly over the next two months. If we don’t pre-book into the next year, we will see a huge decline in clients, services, retail, and in our income.


In last week’s post, I shared an idea with you that involved a basket of retail products. This basket is typically filled with nail-related products and placed at your station. You can add any products that your salon sells if you wish. The idea is that every time your client pre-books her next appointment, she will get her name into a drawing to win the basket. My recommendation was to run this promotion for two months. Running this contest for two months gets your client’s name into the basket several times. It also plants the idea of pre-booking appointments in advance. It gets your client used to pre-booking their appointment before she leaves the salon. Remember pre-booking guarantees your paycheck and keeps your money from fluctuating.


Here is idea #2. Instead of using products, use a salon gift certificate. This gift certificate can be used with you for a particular service or dollar amount. If you choose to offer a service, choose a full service. You will not get many clients to pre-book for a complimentary paraffin treatment. Yes, some clients will be moved to pre-book for a free paraffin dip, but for the most part the prize needs to be bigger. Give away something big, but within reason — something that will be an incentive. Give away an upgraded pedicure; anyone can offer a basic pedicure. An upgraded pedicure is a big dollar service, but that’s the point! Maybe some of your clients have never tried your deluxe pedicure before and this is a great opportunity to let them experience something new. Who knows, they might like it and book it often. Plus with a pedicure, the service appeals to your natural and artificial nail clients. Another reason I suggest running the contest for two months is you’re only giving away a free service every two months.


This gift certificate for a dollar amount may be used with you towards any service you provide. Make sure that you are making that clear to your clients. You would feel awful if your client had her heart set on using it towards a hair or spa service. Also, that can get sticky with other service providers unless you clear it with them first. I suggest that YOU offer the complimentary service and make good on it. Then there is no confusion and the point is to bring those service dollars back to you. So alternate the baskets to change it up every two months.


If the entire salon is on board, you can offer a larger product gift basket or gift certificate drawing to every client who pre-books. Place the gift basket at the front desk. Coach your front desk to ask, “Would you like to get your name entered into our drawing for a chance to win this basket/gift certificate by pre-booking your next appointment?” It works and you’ll be surprised at how your salon pre-book percentage will increase. Some salons that are doing this promotion are drawing the winner on Christmas Eve or the last day they are open before the holidays. Just make sure you pick a date and have every client fill out an entry form. Filling out an entry form with the client’s name, address, phone number, and e-mail is helpful to your computer data. You will be amazed when comparing the entry form to your client’s info how many discrepancies there are.


Idea #3: This can be done salon-wide or by yourself. Start by placing three similar vases at the front desk or on your station. Use larger tall vases at the front desk, due to the large amount of entries. Smaller vases can be used at your station. Decorate each vase or simply tie a ribbon around them. Place a card on or in front of each vase with the name of the service. For nail techs, choose three of the services you offer. An example would be an upgraded pedicure, gel polish manicure, or set of artificial nails. You choose the services that you and your salon want to offer for each vase. You may also only choose two vases; you don’t have to do three vases — you decide.


For full-service salons you could offer a pedicure, facial, massage, or hair color. When the client pre-books her next appointment, she will get her name entered into the drawing for the service of her choice. She will fill out the entry blank and place it in the vase for the service she wants. A winner will be drawn from each vase at the end of the promotion.


Here is another reason I strongly suggest using entry blanks — not only will it update your client files, it can be used as a marketing tool.  Here is what I mean by that: You know that the client has interest in the pedicure because they chose to put their name into that vase. Now, because you have her address you can send her a postcard offering her a promotion for a pedicure. Offer $10 off or a complimentary upgrade with a pedicure. This will get a lot of clients to take you up on the promotion.


Pre-booking with incentives and follow up, one more way to make you stand out above the rest and become the BEST!


For more pre-booking ideas and salon consulting for the nail department, e-mail me at [email protected]


— Jill

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