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Glen Ellyn's Downtown Spa Hop: A Case Study

By: Sara Mason
Posted: May 31, 2012, from the June 2012 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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Potential clients followed an e-mailed link to the Alliance website, where they made up to three appointments between the hours of 9 am–6 pm on a designated day. Each appointment lasted 15 minutes, and was built into a 20-minute time block. There was also an option to disable bookings that were back-to-back, allowing for time to get to the next appointment in order to avoid no-shows and tardiness, which were issues at the inaugural event.

One of the major obstacles was the complexity of scheduling that many appointments with 11 different businesses and their team members. Mike St. Marie, founder of Instant Media Services, is an independent contractor who worked with the Alliance to build the Spa Hop scheduling program. After taking input from last year’s event, St. Marie scrapped the program and started over from scratch.

“The first year, there was a lot of scheduling confusion, so we tightened that up,” he explains. The new online program—developed by St. Marie—had a more user-friendly interface, allowed appointment slots to be filled properly and gave the individual spas more control over their own schedules, as well as access to the information. “Each business had control over the time-blocking and how many technicians they appointed to perform different services,” states St. Marie. They also had access to client information in order to follow up after the event. The site partnered with Paypal to allow immediate, online payment and ensure commitment to the appointments.

For the early February event, the ability to book appointments was made available on January 1. According to Namasté’s Appleberry, about 80% of the appointments filled up rapidly. However, there was still some availability leading up to the day of the event, allowing some spas to take walk-ins. “Walk-ins were often able to schedule a service for later in the day, so they returned after spending time downtown,” she explained. “It was all about timing.”

Once scheduled, it was only a matter of enjoying their services and taking home a swag bag, sponsored by a local realtor and filled with goodies, such as samples and service discounts. Between treatments, clients shopped and ate downtown, as well. Two area restaurants teamed up with the spas to offer lunch and dinner specials for spa-hoppers. “People got to enjoy our downtown, and many spent money in nonparticipating stores, as well,” explains White. “Many spent the entire day downtown.”