If your salon or spa is located in a summer destination area, you’re gifted with a unique set of challenges and opportunities.
Some beach towns with year-round populations of 5000 people swell to as much as 10 times that number during the summer months, providing a windfall of potential appointments to be scheduled by travelers. But come Labor Day, this new business can disappear overnight.
These 5 tips will help you expand on seasonal business in the immediate future and keep those relationships warm until next summer.
1. Build Your Database
Your primary goal for any client who either phones or walks in the door is to gather their basic contact information. Name and email address are a must, but obtaining a snail-mail address and phone number is even better. Whether or not they even make an appointment with you, the fact that they expressed interest in your services is reason enough to add them to your database.
2. Encourage Repeat Business
When a new client makes an appointment during the busy summer season, be sure to send them home with a compelling offer to return. Based on how long your high season lasts (usually 3-4 months), you’ll want to create a plan to maximize potential visits by each client. One easy way to do this is to present customers with a return visit voucher for an offer such as:
- $15 off treatments over $75
- Bring a friend, and you’ll both receive a free retail gift
- Book the first appointment of the day and get a free treatment upgrade
It’s essential that you give vouchers an expiration date—typically 4 weeks out from the date you distribute them—and communicate this deadline to the client during checkout.
3. Actively Gather Reviews
If either repeat or new clients express satisfaction upon checkout, invite them to submit a review on Yelp, TripAdvisor, or other major review sites. You can keep a tablet computer queued up at the front desk for just this purpose, or send a link to your listings page of choice in a post-appointment thank you email.
4. Continue the Conversation
Once new clients are in your database, keep the conversation going during the off-season by adding them to your regular e-newsletter list. If they hear from you over the winter regarding new products, treatments, and staff you’re bringing in for the next season, it’ll keep your business in the forefront of their mind and increase their likelihood of returning next season.
5. Project and Protect Cash Flow
In order to maximize sales during summer, make sure that you’re staffed to capacity and that your operating hours reflect demand. You should also minimize expenses during the slow season so you can make your summer cash last as long as possible. For example, you may want to arrange a budget plan for heating and cooling your facility with your local utility provider, or hire technical staff on a ‘pay for performance’ basis instead of an hourly rate.
Once the summer crowds have gone, you should examine which promotions were most successful this year and meet with your team to create a marketing plan for next summer, which should kick off in April or May at the latest. That way, you’ll be ready to provide great customer service and lock in repeat visits from previous destination clients when the next busy season rolls around.
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