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What Matters to Clients as Salons, Spas, and Wellness Businesses Reopen

By Katherine Wernet

January 23, 2024

The coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) has transformed consumer expectations for beauty and wellness businesses. Across the globe, as salons, spas, and other wellness businesses look to reopen after months of shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders, they face many unknowns. What will the business look like with social distancing in place? Will it be possible to be profitable with such constraints on capacity? Will employees be anxious about coming back? Will your customers be ready to return in the midst of this pandemic?

We surveyed Mindbody app users to learn what’s important to them when they look to book services at their favorite salons, spas, and wellness businesses once again.

What types of beauty and wellness businesses are consumers comfortable returning to?

We asked what types of businesses consumers are most comfortable going to when they reopen. Consumers are most comfortable with the prospect of returning to hair salons; 64% say they’re comfortable returning. A majority (54%) are also comfortable returning to wellness businesses (acupuncture, chiropractic, acupressure, etc.).

What types of beauty and wellness businesses are consumers comfortable returning to?

Back in May, we asked Mindbody app consumers what types of businesses consumers they were most comfortable going to when they reopened. Consumers were most comfortable with the prospect of returning to hair salons; 64% said they were comfortable returning. A majority (54%) were also comfortable returning to wellness businesses (acupuncture, chiropractic, acupressure, etc.).**

A majority of consumers are comfortable with the idea of returning to hair salons

If your business is closer to the bottom of the graph, fear not! We’ve got some specific insights below about what can make your customers feel safe in returning (and protect all involved).

Will clients return to your salon, spa, or wellness business?

For the most part, consumers want to go back to the beauty professional they used before the coronavirus. In fact, 79% said they’re planning on doing so. Minimising risk and protecting client health is important, though; 36% of consumers will choose to go to the beauty professional who creates the safest environment. Only 5% say they’ll go to “whoever will take my appointment first.”

Beauty consumers are loyal but also looking for safety

Among Mindbody app users who have not yet booked a service (as of September), safety becomes even more important. Forty-three percent say they’re looking to book with the safest professionals. Only sixty percent plan on returning to their pre-COVID spots. Salons and spas have a major opportunity to highlight their safety and take on new clients who are long overdue for services.***

What’s the most important action businesses can take to make clients comfortable?

Just what makes customers feel safe, though? We asked how important changes at a beauty business would be to a consumer’s decision to visit that business once it reopens. Following rigorous cleaning guidelines is the most important measure that beauty businesses can take to help clients feel safe; over 90% of consumers following rigorous sanitisation guidelines is an important deciding factor in whether or not to visit a beauty business once it reopens. Consumers also rate reducing the number of clients allowed in the business at once (no more walk-ins) and changes to physical layout to follow social distancing guidelines in the top three attributes for post-coronavirus changes to businesses. And it’s definitely time to toss the communal magazines.

According to consumers, the most important change a business can make is to follow rigorous cleaning guidelines

The importance of a low-touch journey in the wake of the coronavirus

Consumers are looking for low/no touch in their in-store interactions. Sixty-nine percent believe eliminating the waiting room is an important safety measure post COVID-19 (just another reason why you’ll see salons and spas forego waiting rooms in the new normal).  In addition, 55% say virtual check-in over the phone is important, 71% say developing processes to support contactless payments, 57% say enabling them to pre-pay for service and tip are important safety measures at beauty businesses.

See how Mindbody’s AI receptionist, Messenger[ai], can help you minimise contact at your salon, spa, or wellness business and make coming to your business an easy decision for clients.

Should your salon, spa, or wellness business go virtual for consultations?

Virtual consultations allow beauty and wellness businesses to make the most out of their newfound constraints. While new to many clients and businesses alike, we’re sure to see increasing demand for them. Even now, 22% of consumers are interested in virtual consultations regarding skin care, and 14% of consumers are interested in virtual hair consultations. A quarter of consumers say they’d like virtual beauty classes or tutorials. As these virtual experiences become more commonplace, consumers will be increasingly comfortable with a hybrid of initial consults and in-person services (allowing salons, spas, and wellness businesses to maximise profitability). Some businesses are even using these virtual consultations as a way to allow staff to catch up with their customers and answer any questions on COVID-19 changes and precautions. When the client arrives at the business, staff members can get right into the service—without losing the human connection.

Learn more about leveraging virtual consultations for your salon, spa, or wellness business here.

Are salons, spas, and wellness businesses coming to their clients’ homes in the new normal?

In-home services are also on the rise, driven by consumer demand. Thirty-two percent of consumers are interested in having a hair stylist visit them at home, and 52% are interested in having a massage therapist visit come to them.

What’s the best way to get clients back?

How can you make it even easier for clients to book appointments with your salon, spa, or wellness business? About 26% of consumers typically book hair services after their appointments, at the business, so it’s likely those will need to be rescheduled. What’s the most common way consumers are looking to reschedule? For hair services, it’s text message (22%) and online via a website (21%).

Other stats on booking methods:

  • Facials/skin care: Text (9%), website (24%)
  • Massages: Text (12%), website (29%)
  • Waxing/hair removal: Text (8%), website (18%)
  • Nails: Text (8%), website (13%)

Notably, the phone is one of the lowest channels, with only about 6% of consumers saying they use this channel. Be sure you’ve got your business optimized as your customers look to get on your books. 

It’s easy for clients to book online with Mindbody’s salon software, spa software, or wellness business software. And don’t miss the opportunity to have them readily schedule over text with Messenger[ai].

It’s going to be different for a while, but the numbers don’t lie—consumers are eager to return to salons, spas, and wellness businesses. Make sure you prioritise making customers feel your space is safe. Prepare your entire team to answer their questions and let your clients know what the new protocols are. It’ll make the decision to return all the easier for them. The salons, spas, and wellness businesses that will thrive in the new normal will create low-touch journeys for clients on-site and maximise profit with virtual consultations and at-home experiences.

Mindbody. “COVID-19 App User Survey.” May 2020.

Looking to boost revenue as you reopen?

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About the author:

Katherine Wernet

Katherine Wernet

Senior Campaign Program Manager


Katherine leads the salon and spa marketing strategy at Mindbody and is part of the team behind the Mindbody Wellness Index. While she started her career in film and television, a passion for small businesses won out and led her to Mindbody. She earned her MBA from UCLA Anderson School of Management.

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