How to Create a Salon Appointment Booking Website: Step-by-Step Guide
In today’s digital age, and especially after the global COVID-19 pandemic, consumers now expect online convenience and accessibility for virtually any business.
This, however, is especially true for service businesses that rely on client appointments, including salons. An appointment booking website would benefit a salon business in many different ways: first, it allows clients to easily view booking availability, schedule appointments anywhere, anytime, and from any device, and choose the services they want at their own convenience.
On the other hand, the booking website will also provide salon owners with a more effective and efficient way to manage their schedule, reduce no-shows (i.e., via automated reminders,) and ultimately increase the number of bookings and revenue.
In this step-by-step guide, we will cover everything you need to know for creating a winning salon appointment booking website.
By the end of this guide, you’d have learned about:
- Different options for building an appointment booking website for your salon business
- Choosing the right website builder
- How to get a domain name and register for a hosting service
- How to integrate a booking system or booking plugin into your brand-new website
- How to promote your website and attract customers to book your service online
Without further ado, let us begin right away.
Salon businesses in 2023: the importance of having an appointment booking website
In this post-COVID digital reality, having an appointment booking website is becoming increasingly important for any service business–including salons.
To really understand the benefit of having a 24/7 online appointment scheduling system, let’s briefly discuss the traditional booking process we typically have at salons.
Traditionally, customers have to make a phone call or visit the salon in person to make their appointments. The process would typically go as follows:
- A potential client would call the salon (during working days and business hours), and speak to a receptionist.
- The receptionist (or other staff members) would ask the client what service they are looking to book, and when they would like to schedule the appointment.
- The receptionist or staff member would check the availability of the service provider (hair stylist, technician, etc.) of the said service, and may provide a few appointment time options to the client.
- The client agrees on a date and time or may ask for a different option (in this case, step 3 is repeated.) Once the client agrees on an appointment slot, the staff would then manually record the details of the appointment whether in a physical book/document or on a computer. In some cases, the salon may use appointment/reservation software for this purpose.
- Depending on the recording system used, the receptionist may ask for details like the customer’s name, address, email address, and phone number to be recorded manually. If the conversation happens over the phone, the exchange for this information alone can be quite challenging and time-consuming.
- Depending on the salon’s policies, the client may be asked to provide a credit card number for the booking or require a deposit to be paid. This can be a potential bottleneck, not to mention risky.
- If the client needs to reschedule or cancel the appointment, they would have to call or visit the salon again during business hours and speak to the receptionist/staff member to make the changes. This may require another back-and-forth exchange about the available time slots, etc.
- Throughout all these steps, the salon would require the receptionist to manually record, update, and manage the appointment schedule. This staff member would often need to deal with issues such as double booking, no-shows, overbooking, and so on.
As we can see, the traditional booking process is prone to human error, time-consuming, and often leads to no-shows and missed opportunities (i.e. due to missed phone calls.) The clients may be required to make multiple phone calls just to schedule one appointment and may need to wait on hold as the receptionist checks for available service providers/time slots, manually records information, and so on.
Not to mention, if a potential client wants to make their reservation outside business hours or during weekends, it is often not possible with this traditional system. This often results in the clients finding the whole process frustrating.
With that being said, implementing an online booking system integrated with a website would provide the following benefits for both the salon business and the clients:
Benefits of having an appointment booking website
Below are some of the reasons why having an appointment booking website can benefit your salon business:
- Convenience and better customer experience
One of the most important benefits of having an appointment booking website is that it provides convenience for the clients. Prospective clients can book their appointments at their convenience: from anywhere, at any time of the day or night, and on any device as long as there is an internet connection.
With the online booking system for salons in place, clients no longer have to do multiple phone calls/visits, wait on hold, or wait for a callback to schedule their appointment.
- Reducing time-consuming administrative burden
A functional online booking website can significantly reduce the administrative burden on your salon’s staff members. An online, automated appointment booking process will ultimately reduce human errors, no-shows, double-bookings, and other issues common in traditional booking processes.
This would also free up the staff members’ valuable time that would otherwise be spent on the manual booking processes so they can use it on other, more productive tasks.
- Increasing revenue
The appointment booking website can also lead to an increase in bookings for the salon business, due to the streamlined appointment scheduling process, and also to the reduced likelihood of overbooking and lost appointments.
The automation of the booking process would also allow the business to offer additional packages and promotions, which can contribute to further increased revenue.
- Data collection
The appointment booking website can allow the salon business to collect valuable data on customer behavior: how they booked their services, what services are popular, etc.
Salons can then use these valuable insights to adjust their offerings to better meet the client’s needs and preferences, as well as to create more targeted marketing efforts to improve engagement.
- Create a competitive edge
In this digital age as more businesses adopt online business processes, having an appointment booking website is no longer a luxury, but a necessity just to stay competitive in the market. Today’s consumers simply expect businesses to have a strong online presence that facilitates accessibility and convenience–including a reliable online booking function.
Having a fully-functional appointment booking website can help your salon business stand out from the rest of the competition by facilitating a streamlined, fast, and efficient booking process that meets your client’s expectations
Creating a winning salon appointment booking website: two different options
If you are a salon owner or a service business owner looking to build a booking website to allow your clients to make online bookings 24/7, there are two main options available, each with their own pros and cons.
1. Using a hosted booking page
Some booking/appointment software solutions offer the option to use their hosted booking pages that you can use virtually right away. This option is the quickest and easiest way, allowing salon owners to start accepting online bookings on their own website without building a website from scratch or integrating a booking solution into an existing website.
This option offers some key benefits and drawbacks:
- The biggest advantage of this option is that you don’t need to build a website yourself. Developing a well-designed and functional website obviously can be challenging and time-consuming. Using a hosted booking page will bypass these challenges.
- It is an easy and quick way to showcase your salon service and accept bookings (and payments) almost immediately.
- In most cases, hosted booking pages are less expensive than building your website from scratch. Not to mention, you won’t need to pay the ongoing costs of hosting, maintenance, or updating the website.
- They typically offer some degree of customization, allowing you to personalize the page and add some branding elements (logos, etc.) However, you won’t get as much flexibility and freedom as in building your own website.
In short, if you don’t have the budget, expertise, or time to create a brand-new website from scratch, then this is the most viable option for you. Basically, in this option, you only need to do one thing: choose the right vendor offering the hosted booking service.
There are actually a wide variety of such vendors available in the market, each offering its unique sets of features. Thus, finding the right one for your business can be challenging in practice, and you may want to weigh these different factors:
- Features: look for critical features such as online booking reliability, easy appointment scheduling, automated reminders, and payment processing
- Customization: make sure that the service provider offers adequate customization options, especially to help you with branding purposes.
- Mobile optimization: the vendor should offer a mobile-responsive booking page.
- Integration: look for a solution that can integrate with other software and tools in your ecosystem.
- Pricing: pretty obvious, choose a solution that fits your budget
- Customer support: ideally you’d want a vendor that offers responsive 24/7 customer support
- Security: make sure to choose a vendor that takes data security seriously and has implemented adequate data security best practices
Bookeo, for example, offers the ability to use its hosted, standalone website booking page while also providing great customization opportunities, responsive technical support, and data security features at a competitive price.
To use its hosted booking page, you can simply paste the unique booking page URL from Bookeo and share it with your clients, or paste it on your business card, online signature, or social media profiles.
2. Building a new website
The second option is to build a new website and either create the online booking functionality from scratch or integrate a ready-made appointment system (like Bookeo) into the website.
This option also offers its own pros and cons:
- You have more control over the design, branding, and functionality according to your preferences and needs. You have the most freedom to create a unique online presence that reflects your brand’s values and showcases your service.
- With website builder platforms like Wix, Squarespace, or CMS platforms like WordPress, creating a brand new website is now much more accessible. These platforms offer customizable themes and templates that are easy to use and can be personalized to meet the services you offer or your unique business needs.
- Although it’s much easier and affordable nowadays, creating your own website can still be challenging and time-consuming.
- It’s much more expensive than using a hosted booking page.
To summarize, building a new salon booking website from scratch will give you a lot more freedom and flexibility, especially when it comes to customization and branding. However, it is also much more complex and challenging to do. You will need to follow at least these steps to ensure a seamless appointment booking process for your clients:
- Subscribe to a web hosting service and get a domain name
A domain name is a unique address that serves as the “identity” of a website on the internet. It will be a means for potential clients to access your website.
Ideally, your domain name should be your salon’s brand name. For example, “MySalon.com” if the salon is called “My Salon.” Make sure the domain name is easy to pronounce and remember and is relevant to your salon business. Avoid using special characters and numbers.
Once you’ve secured your domain name, find an appropriate web hosting service to host your website. You’d want a hosting that offers fast and reliable hosting that also suits your budget.
- Choose a website builder or CMS platform
Nowadays, we no longer need to hire a website developer or outsource the project to an expensive agency. We can simply use website builder platforms like Wix, Squarespace, or Weebly, among others to easily build a website with a drag-and-drop approach. Typically, you’ll need to pay a monthly subscription fee to use these builders.
Alternatively, if you want more customization flexibility, you can use a CMS platform like WordPress. Not to mention, WordPress is free.
- Find a template or Theme
Once you’ve chosen a website builder, simply choose a template (or Theme for WordPress) that fits your needs. Make sure to choose a template/Theme that is mobile-responsive, visually attractive (while fitting your brand’s aesthetics), and easy to navigate. Customize the template/Theme and add your brand elements as you see fit.
- Add your content
Now you can start adding your website’s content, including:
- Your salon’s address and contact information
- List of services you offer, complete with pricing
- Photos to showcase your work
And other relevant information as you see fit.
- Integrate a booking system or plugin
Now, you need to install a booking system or plugin to add the online booking functionality to your website. There are many options available depending on the website builder or CMS platform you’ve chosen. For example, on WordPress, there are scheduling plugins that offer reliable appointment-booking functionalities.
Alternatively, if you want more features and reliability, you can use a fully-fledged booking system like Bookeo, that you can easily integrate into your newly-built website.
- Test your website
Before launching your website, make sure to test every aspect thoroughly to ensure it’s functioning properly. Test how the booking system or plugin performs, and evaluate the booking workflow. Make sure all the links and pages on the website are working as intended.
- Launch and promote
Now you’re ready to launch the salon booking website. But your job doesn’t stop here.
No matter how good your website is, it won’t bring any value if you can’t attract potential clients to visit the website. Promote your website on various channels, including social media, SEO, email marketing, paid advertising, and more.
Having a functional booking website for your salon is simply essential in today’s digital age, and you basically have two options: building a website from scratch or using a hosted booking website you can use right away.
While building your own website will give you more flexibility and freedom (i.e., the ability to add more branding elements and more features,) this option requires more technical know-how, time, and effort.
On the other hand, choosing a booking system like Bookeo that offers a hosted booking page is a much easier and more accessible alternative, while you’ll still get the benefits of a reliable online booking function and the ability to accept online payments.