7 ideas how to avoid no-shows in your spa
No-shows. Happen unfortunately all the time and everywhere to all spas more or less frequently.
Isn’t it highly annoying when your spa day is fully booked, you may even have had to turn away business, and finally those expected clients don’t show up?
Resort and Hotel Spas may find a way of retrieving some of the loss of revenue through no-shows by booking confirmation to the room, displaying cancellation policies or charges to the room.
However day spas (and hotel spas accepting day spa guests likewise) are usually more effected by loss of revenue through no-shows, particularly smaller businesses taking bookings over the phone without credit card securement or pre-payment.
Here are my 7 tips how to deal with no-shows and how to avoid them all together in the future:
- Know your business: peak times, bestsellers, KPIs
Knowing your business in detail helps making the right decisions. Knowing your peak times (seasons, weekdays and time of the day) is mandatory for correct staffing and yielding. Above you may want to divide your treatment availability in green, yellow and red times, meaning that red times are peak times, for example weekends when spa traffic and booking rate is higher. You can implement policies that you only offer a certain range of products to a certain target group such as loyal customers only at a certain colour time, this way maximising revenues.
Or introduce policies for pre-payment, for example for first time customers or for bookings for peak times.
Knowing your guests habits and preferences aids you in judging risk involved, for example when laying off employees or shortening/extending opening hours.
Your bestseller may be easy to determine, but is your bestseller offering you a prime margin at the same time? Knowing your key performance indicators will help you in raising your RevPAR (revenue per available treatment hour).
- Reward loyal customers
Repeat guests are less likely to no-show, particularly as you have their contact details on record for follow up.
What is your repeat guest ratio compared to new guests? The lower your repeat guest ratio, the more you want to reward loyal guests by introducing loyalty programs.
Do you find your spa mainly visited by walk-ins? Think of ways to turn walk-ins into regulars. When thinking about increasing revenue, increasing customers is not always necessary.
A great way of rewarding loyal guests is something like a ‘buy 10, get one free’ series. For example on buying 10 massages in one payment, the customers receives the 11th massage for free. When making a reservation, inform this guest that in case of not respecting cancellation policies, full payment is due. This way you turn the series voucher into pre-payment. If or how strict you execute this policy requires individual judgement, however I guarantee you that this way more guests will cancel their bookings in the future instead of simply not showing.
- Accept bookings in writing preferably
In day spas we find telephone bookings a common way of booking. Analyse the channels that your guests can book: via internet? email? telephone? mobile phone message or app? Which of the channels is your preferred channel, which channel is guest’s preferred channel? I recommend to enhance bookings made in writing, so introduce a raffle or reward program to drive guests to your channel of choice. Bookings made in writing can be confirmed in writing by providing your cancellation policy, adding a barrier to no-shows.
Or go viral entirely and think about a booking online option with credit card payment. Apropos Pre Payment: of course, your easiest way of avoiding unpaid no-shows is taking bookings on pre-payment only. As for overbooking (see below) applies: pre-payment may only be forced as long as the cost of unhappy guests and cost through no-shows have an equal value.
- Know your non-target: block unfaithful clients
A business can never be everything to everybody. Define your target market and target customer, and refrain from serving ‘all’ customers.
I understand that particularly in the opening phase of a business or when trying to gain market share, you may not want to turn away any potential customer. However some customers can hurt your business.
Think about life long value of a customer to your business. A one time walk-in customer has a lower life value compared to a regular guest visiting your spa every month. Focus on creating relationships with your customers. Mutual trust supports mutual respect, leading to customers cancelling instead of no-showing.
- Communication: educate your clientele
Communication is information is education. Inform your guests about the high standards you are applying to providing your services and resources involved. Guests that understand the effort it takes your business to provide the excellent service they expect, will be more respectful in return.
- Go social:
Engaging your spa community in social media activities creates brand loyalty. Besides this gives you the opportunity of spreading the word about last minute vacancies!
- Over Booking:
Hotels are showing us how to do this: calculated overbooking bears risks, that can be wanted and managed. Planned overbooking can help in avoiding empty treatment rooms due to no-shows.
In this case you need to know a rate of probability for no-shows (giving you an amount of potential overbooking). But: services may only be overbooked as long as the cost of unhappy guests and cost through no-shows have an equal value.
Are you dealing with or suffering from no-shows in your spa business? Do you have further ideas that you would like to share with peers? Looking much forward to hearing from you!
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