Tech Takeover: How to Choose the Right Booking App

Consider all your needs when selecting a booking software. // Photo Credit: DragonImages/iStock/Getty Images Plus(DragonImages / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Technology has influenced our everyday lives, especially with the rise of smartphones and social media. Businesses, no matter the size, can benefit from a booking software that’s tailored to their needs. For spas, a booking platform can make all aspects of the customer experience easier. Now, there are even booking apps that spas can use to book clients, market their services, and more. We asked some software pros what you should consider when choosing a booking app. Here are their responses.  

What are some key factors spa owners should consider when choosing a booking app?

“The most important aspect of any online booking or booking app is that the software understand your nuances and how you want appointments to be booked. You should have the ability to choose which services can be booked online, what order makes the most sense—facial and makeup before a massage, I think not—which employees are bookable online, what days and times are bookable, and a system that knows different booking times. Essentially, for you to trust a booking app, you need it to be as smart as your front desk.”—John Harms, founder and CEO, Millennium Systems International 

“The key factors spa owners should consider when choosing a booking app varies from business to business. Whether you’re a single operator or a large business, always look at what your competitors are using and determine their strengths and weaknesses before deciding on a booking system. A popular trend in the industry is the movement from on-premise solutions to cloud-based solutions, especially for chains or larger spas. Overall, it’s important to find a cloud-based solution that handles not only the initial booking but also the check-in, services, guest feedback, checkout, marketing, and analytics. Your spa’s software should touch every part of the customer journey.”—Roger Sholanki, founder and CEO, Book4Time

“If the spa is associated with a lodging property, the owners should consider the ease of the process and guest recognition at the point of booking for the guest, and can they package it with their lodging bookings to capture the revenue stream during their booking experience. Does the app allow multiple bookings for a single guest? Does it allow conflict management with any other activities the guest has associated to their stay or experience?”—Audrey MacRae, vice president, Maestro PMS

“Our Wellness Index data shows that U.S. consumer demand for spa services is on the rise, with 70 percent of consumers saying they prioritize getting regular spa services like massages. In addition, consumer demand is shifting towards an expectation of mobile-optimized booking, with 57 percent of web consumers saying they won't recommend a business with a poorly designed website on mobile, and 50 percent of e-commerce revenue is now from mobile e-commerce. Interestingly, our research on U.S. consumers indicates that most say that they still need to call or text businesses to book spa appointments, showing that there's a ton of opportunity to differentiate and better meeting customer expectations with a great mobile experience. When choosing a software, it's important that a business keeps a clean mobile-booking experience top of mind. Does the software make booking easy through a website on mobile?  Is there a consumer app available for a studio to provide so they can attract and engage customers?”—Amaya Weddle, Ph.D., senior director of Research & Experiences, Mindbody


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