How to fill last-minute booking cancellations

• Written by Kate

Lady at reception desk

Last-minute cancellations are frustrating because the closer they are to the appointment, the less likely you are to recover the revenue.

Especially when the cancelled booking was a long, high-value appointment it can leave you feeling a little resentful towards your clients - even if they were within your cancellation policy! Even though it’s something you don’t want to happen and you’ve sent your trusty booking reminder, inevitably sometimes they will still happen. So the best thing to do is to prepare for when they do! Here are a few things you can do to ease the pain.

Use a waitlist

For a busy salon, some appointments are just hard to get. Saturday appointments are like gold dust; a client forgetting to book their colour appointment for the festive season is in real trouble, and office workers compete for those rare late evening slots! Incidentally, these are also the most annoying times to have unexpected gaps, because you know you would have a line out the door for clients trying to get them normally!

So, take that line and keep it on hand in the form of a waitlist in case of cancellations. When a client is trying to get a certain appointment but they’ve missed their chance, take details of the appointment they’re after and when you get those pesky cancellations you can contact your waitlist and fill the slot. It has a good side effect of your clients feeling valued as well, so everybody wins.

Post on social media

Social media is a really easy and free way to contact your client base. Posting any gaps that need filling for the week routinely means your clients who need a last-minute appointment know where to go to find the information they need.

Equally, social media delivers the message quickly so if your clients have notifications turned on for your posts they can get the lucky news first and grab the appointment they’re after.

Message clients directly

For those super last-minute booking cancellations (or even a big no-show), texting your clients is an immediate way to let them know that you’ve got a gap. Local clients might even be able to get into the salon that same day. We would recommend contacting clients who have visited you in the last few months, but not in the last 4 weeks, and who don’t have a future booking to make sure you’re contacting those most likely to respond!

If you’ve tried all of the above and still have space, text clients again offering a discount for appointments booked in the available time. As a service-based industry, once the time has passed you can’t sell it again and having team members standing around doing nothing is demoralising and not a great business move. Get those clients in who weren’t planning on coming back but your offer lured them back in and then use this opportunity to wow them and get them back as a regular client!

Written by Kate

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