Getting Fanatical on Salon/Spa Frequency of Visit

January 7, 2019 | By Neil Ducoff | 4 Comments

Driving your salon/spa’s prebook rate has a dramatic impact on productivity rate by filling future appointment time slots.

The merging of your prebook consistency and first-visit and existing client retention rates, literally supercharges your salon/spa’s productivity rate. It’s the orchestrated outcome of pre-selling time on the appointment book and fulfilling and exceeding client expectations.

FACT 1: Prebooking is the process of professional guidance to schedule future service appointments.

FACT 2: First-time and existing client retention rates are direct and indisputable measurements of the quality of your salon/spa’s technical ability’s and customer service systems.

FACT3: Your salon/spa can have impressive prebook and client retention rates … and still be missing the dynamic impact even minor increases in Frequency of Visit can have on total revenues.

Frequency of Visit (FOV) defined: Frequency of visit is the average number of service purchases clients make per year at your salon/spa.

The extremely simple FOV math

1,500 clients x 5 visits per year x $100 per visit = $750,000 Annual Revenue

Now, by embracing more strategic professional maintenance recommendations, lets increase the frequency of visit from five to six visits per year.

1,500 clients x 6 visits per year x $100 per visit = $900,000 Annual Revenue

  • That one extra visit, with the same number of clients and $100 ticket, increases annual revenue $150,000. That’s a 20% gain in annual revenue by working smarter and more strategically.

1,500 clients x 7 visits per year x $100 per visit = $1,050,000 Annual Revenue

  • That’s a $300,000 gain over 5 visits and a 40% gain.

I don’t know about you, but generating up to 40% or more in annual revenue by increasing the frequency of visit of clients you already have must become, without question, a “whatever it takes” initiative.

Here are my No-Compromise Leadership strategies to reap the rewards of getting fanatical on driving frequency of visit:

  • Takes more than flipping a switch: Gains in frequency of visit is a direct outcome of your systems, culture and leadership. You can’t wish it, mandate it or give it lip service. If your track record for successful systems implementation is hit or miss, your leadership skills need an upgrade. If your culture is more “country club” than “disciplined,” your leadership skills need an upgrade. Getting the behaviors and systems dialed in is a prerequisite to driving frequency of visit. Don’t assume your leadership is up to the task.
  • Prebook prowess: If your prebook rate is under 70%, your prebook system doesn’t have the necessary horsepower to drive gains in frequency of visit. The single major roadblock to achieving prebook rates of 70%+ is service provider indifference. The indifference comes in two flavors: “I don’t care,” and, “Prebooking feels like selling.” The “I don’t care” is easy to address. Every time you sign a paycheck, you’re buying “I don’t care” behavior that you allowed to manifest in your culture. Stop buying the wrong behavior. To address the “Prebook feels like selling,” you need to develop, train and lock in a system for concluding a professional service. Yes, prebooking IS selling. Yes, prebooking is the professional conclusion to every salon/spa service.
  • Client retention measures how good you are: The more first-time clients that return for a second visit, the more your client base grows. The key is to convert more first-time clients to your base than you lose through natural attrition. FACT: The lower your monthly first-time client count, the higher your first-time retention rate must be. This doesn’t mean lower first-time retention rates are acceptable if you’re attracting hundreds of first-time clients a month. To effectively and fanatically play the FOV game, your salon/spa must be fanatical in developing and maintaining the highest customer service standards.
  • Plan for Frequency of Visit gains: Most leading salon/spa software systems calculate FOV. Whatever your FOV rate is today, your first objective is to increase it by one additional visit per year. If you’re at five, shoot for six. Going back to my earlier example, if you have a client base of 1,500, adding just one additional client visit per year means an additional 1,500 service visits on your appointment book. At $100 per visit, that’s an additional $150,000 in revenue from the same number of clients.
  • It’s about the proper maintenance cycle: If your service providers are recommending that clients prebook in ten weeks, that’s only 5.2 visits per year. Eight weeks is 6.5 visits per year. Too often, service providers operate on autopilot when it comes to prebooking by going overly conservative on maintenance cycles. A truly professional conclusion to any service is to give each client the proper maintenance cycle for THAT service. If optimum maintenance is four to five weeks, that’s what should be recommended. That’s the information that should go to checkout. That’s what should be offered to the client. It is then the client’s option to decide when to return.
  • Automated online booking systems: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “Online booking systems are a secondary client convenience. It IS NOT, and cannot be, your primary system to fill future appointment time. Online booking systems can make owners, service providers and front desk staff prebook LAZY.” If your salon/spa is not controlling prebooking and driving your desired FOV before the client checkout process is complete, you are NOT controlling FOV — your clients are.

Here’s my challenge to you: Frequency of visit, like prebooking and client retention rates, must be systematized, trained, and lead at a level where it becomes an embedded behavior in your company’s culture.

The reward is increased productivity rate (as long as you don’t over hire) and dramatically improved revenue from the clients you already have.

Lastly, the better you improve your monthly first-time client counts and get them locked into the best maintenance cycles, your salon/spa will truly arrive at that elusive next level.

Categories: Financial Literacy

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  1. This is a fascinating and inspirational blog. Our Prebooking average is around 75% global with established stylists at 80%+. howvere I’ve always coached the fact that if you have a high PB rate it means nothing if they only visit every 10 weeks. This makes the whole debate clearer and easier to communicate at one to ones.
    Thank you

    1. Hey Neil,

      Our average prebook runs an average of 64% or better, which I feel is good. When we run 68% sometimes, its even better 🙂
      We have many millennial’s that do not pre-book because of long trendy hair,cuts & color that has more longevity. That’s one obstacle we face in our business in the last year.
      Haven’t done that report yet for 2018 FOV, but it seems low for our percentages. I feel there are some inaccuracies in the way my reporting is. Thanks for the reminder about making this important at our New Year meeting! Cat


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