Is it a Match? Technology and the Spa.

Ruth Cox

Technology in the Spa Business is Life Changing. There is no better example for me than laser tattoo removal. Over the period of a few months, those tattoos that generated feelings from pride to embarrassment disappear into the past. The technology we use in the form of chemicals, products and equipment enable us to better serve our clients. But, what about the technology you use to create your brand, public relations and marketing, customer communications and perhaps most importantly process a sale transaction? Has the technology you’ve chosen helped your business generate transactions that result in cash and profit?

For the purpose of this discussion, let’s stay on the topic of information technology. Besides the wireless or landline telecommunication device, the most common technology application processes the sale transaction itself, whether that includes a credit card terminal; check verification system or some scheduling application and/or accounting software. I’ll confess, Bella Fontana Spa is a bleeding edge user of information technology. But this is not for everyone.

This begs the question fundamental to this blog – how do you choose what technology fits your operation?

I believe this depends entirely on the strengths and weaknesses of your operation. If you are highly adaptive to technology, then it can really benefit by creating new sale opportunities. Technology should enable the business, e.g., empower and liberate you and your staff to do what makes the operation successful. The metaphor that is most apparent to me is our daily transportation use. Most of us do not know everything about building, supporting and operating our mode of transportation, but we use it everyday without a thought unless we are buying or trying something new. Similarly, stay focused on how the technology supports the goals of your operation and mitigates any risk or weaknesses. Let technology help you do a better job of serving your customers.

When making a decision about an information technology solution, know your top priorities for your next level of success. Just what is it you need to improve, and will it add to your bottom line, or reduce some risk to your profitability?

Great accounting records and practices may not add one appointment to your day, but they sure can reduce your risk. What are you willing to do to get this part of your business in better shape, and is it critical this month, this quarter and this year?

  • On line gift certificates may increase your holiday sales, especially when holidays fall on Mondays and you are closed on Sunday. A significant portion of my online sales come from family members that live outside the geographic area, and several have come from soldiers in Iraq.
  • Does your customer base constantly tell you that they have been meaning to come in, but they just haven’t had time to call and make an appointment? Maybe on line booking and the ability to schedule anytime, without being overheard, will facilitate more appointments. This is particularly useful for certain professionals, the self-employed, mobile or travelers and those that work shifts like medical personnel.

When you are considering new technology of any kind, make sure it is taking you to a new level of success, not just fixing old problems. Find the right match, and if you struggle knowing just what that might be, contact one of us or another member of the Day Spa Association for a little help and support.


3 Responses

  1. Hello Ruth,

    Have you had experience yet with online booking? I am interested in adding that service to Bellanina but I am conflicted as to the inability to give personalized service when booking. I like the idea that I could sit at my computer late at night when I decided I want a facial and have the appointment handled right there, like paying my mortgage from online banking. Do you think the good outweighs the bad?

  2. Nina, I see this service mainly for repeat clients who are looking to get on the schedule at a particular time with maybe even a particular therapist – some of these online booking services – such as SpaBooker I believe, can actually show them who is available at a particular time slot.
    The software can also place these appointments right on the clients’ appointment calendar, and you can program the system to send them a reminder email, in which you can invite them to call during normal business hours should they have any particular questions.
    I would definitely give it a try – just another service to make it easier for your stressed out busy clientele!

  3. Nina – SpaBooker, SpaBoom, Salon Iris, Mind Body OnLine, Millenium Harms and more offer some sort of on-line booking function. SpaBoom for example, has on-line gift certificates as well. Since SpaBoom does not require you to change your processes, it is a great way to try out on-line services for your customers.
    Most customers call for their appointments, especially for multiple services or bookings. Yes, they like to hear your voice and enjoy your personalized service, so this is a key component to your success. However, those same clients with whom you have a regular email dialogue will appreciate the opportunity to book online whenever the mood strikes them without having to worry about time zones or taking time away from their work or clients.
    Don’t hesitate to call if you have more questions!

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