How to keep clients coming back with pre-booking

May 24, 2012 | By nducoff | 4 Comments

Pre-booking is merely the practice of asking your guests for the permission to book their next appointments before they check out. It’s centered on maintaining and fulfilling their needs. Pre-booking increases productivity, drives revenue, helps with staff retention and improves customer loyalty.

Here’s your pre-booking to-do list: (Goal: Build a total “Client Experience System” that includes pre-booking.)

  1. Ensure your team understands:
    • What pre-booking is.
    • Why they need to do it.
    • How to do it. (More on that below.)
    • How it will be evaluated.
  2. Develop the process. It’s as simple as asking the client how she feels about her service. You’ve just opened the door to make the recommendation for the next visit, which may involve the same service and/or the addition of a complementary service.
  3. Have your team build scripts to successfully pre-book.
  4. Role-play using the scripts so that they feel natural. This will help your staff feel comfortable recommending pre-booking and dealing with different responses from customers.
  5. Be sure your front-desk/guest-services team has the scripts to successfully pre-book. The goal is that every guest is pre-booked. Everyone is responsible.
  6. Communicate the progress daily.
  7. Ask your staff: “What can I do to help you reach pre-book success?”

What should this the pre-book score look like?

  • 80-90% = No-Compromise Zone
  • 70-80% = Compromise Zone
  • 60-70% = Mediocrity Zone
  • Below 60% = Review your pre-booking procedures to ensure that they are clear and easy-to-implement. Individuals who continually fall below your standards need one-on-one coaching.

Why is pre-booking important?

  • Predictable productivity in the next 3-6 weeks.
  • Drives frequency of visit from 6 visits/year to possibly 7 or 8 visits.
  • Increases guest retention.
  • Creates avenues to communicate with the guests.
  • Drives revenue opportunities creating growth.

Mary Walker is a Certified Strategies Coach (CSC).

Categories: Customer Loyalty , Profitability

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  1. Hello,

    I have a clarification question. We have two metrics we measure…pre-booked appointments and unique pre-booked clients. The pre-booked appointments metric seems more indicative of future revenue as it is a percentage of total appointments on the schedule that day that were pre-booked vs individual unique pre-booking clients (regular clients tend to pre-book and book multiple appointments, so the metrics are vastly different for us). Can you advise here as to what is more representative of our success in pre-booking?


    1. What you want to know is … “How many clients checked out with an appointment for the future … whether they made the appointment at checkout or have multiple future appointments.” The higher that “prebook” number/percent … the future time on the books is pre-sold. This also drives up your productivity rate and first and existing client retention rates. IMPORTANT: It doesn’t matter if the client prebooks with the same or other service providers. This approach is more “team based” than “request” that’s all about individuals building their own clientele.


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