I have been playing around with a new app for the beauty industry called VANIDAY.
It's an online booking platform that allows users to seamlessly browse for their next beauty service and book their appointment. Salons can efficiently manage their bookings, respond to customer requests and gain visibility online. Operational in 8 countries, VANIDAY is on a mission to redefine how people book beauty services.
What I like about it is how easy it is to use to find a beauty service that is close to you. It's fast, booking is easy, and if you need to cancel (which I have had to) it's a simple click of a button and you get an email notification to confirm that the booking is cancelled. Email confirmation comes on booking your appointment also.
The app has plenty of services on it. I'm in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney so I have found a big range of places that I can visit, and all services have the price so once the service is chosen, just choose the date and time, click 'book' and then the payment option for credit card or pay cash on visit.
UPDATE by Style Editor, Glen Fitzgerald. July 2017
"Salon owners and consumers alike: Beware the perils of online beauty platforms"
As you may know @styleguy.tv also operate two luxury hair salons in Sydney's Eastern suburbs. I am also Style Editor for Sydney Chic Blog. So I've had lots of experience dealing with online booking platforms and partnerships with beauty companies etc.
Now let me share with you some recent experiences with Vaniday...
Salon owners beware that you have no guarantees that clients will actually turn up. Late on a Friday evening I received a call from Vaniday with a booking request for a master stylist on Saturday morning (yes the next day) at 9.30am. The service was to be a long hair Brazilian Keratin Treatment plus a master haircut long hair. Total service value = $400 +... total time needed = over three hours. Now being a Saturday, I didn't have the spot readily available but not wanting to lose such a lucrative booking I swiftly flew into action, shuffling appointments, moving hairdresser's between salons and calling in extra staff to accommodate the now SUPER busy day of bookings. Within 5 minutes I had expertly waved my magic wand and made this booking possible. I called back to Vaniday immediately and they called the client to confirm - everything was organised, or so I thought.
Then every salon owner's worst nightmare happened! At 9.35 am the client had not yet arrived so I put in my usual friendly courtesy call to see if they found the salon ok or if they needed help to find parking. It went to voicemail. At 9.45 am I tried again (remember today was super busy and the timing was crucial - meanwhile I had hairdresser's pacing waiting to leap into action). No answer again. I then received an email alert - From Vaniday - sorry this appointment has been cancelled.
I quickly tried to call Vaniday from the number linked to the email... "sorry you have called outside of hours". Are you serious? This company works in the beauty industry with salons and spas all across Sydney but they don't work on the busiest day of OUR week?
Needless to say my day in the salon was a flop, and a mess and I was out of pocket for the extra staff I had recruited and I had a big gap in the morning in my scheduling of 3 + hours... Now you might say - this happens all the time, and sure it can do. But if it were one of my existing clients I would have control over the scenario and I probably would have secured a credit card deposit with a cancellation policy applying for less than 12 hours notice. Bearing in mind this was 35 minutes notice!!
The thing is with Vaniday I have no contact with the client. But I foolishly thought that it was confirmed and that the client's credit card had already been processed by Vaniday and I was looking forward to meeting and servicing a great new client.
The worst thing was their response - whilst I know in all good reason that its not their fault the client cancelled, they did assure me they had a cancellation fee for bookings cancelled within 12 hours. But when I asked for compensation they said sorry we can't help you in a very nonchalant manner.
And it's not just salon owners who should be wary of this messy and archaic way of online bookings for the beauty world. If I had no security for this booking as a salon operator then what security does a client have when they put their credit card details in? Last week we had a client turn up for a spot which they thought they paid for online through Vaniday but we had not received any calls or confirmation from the Vaniday team (probably Saturday again and they don't want to pay their staff weekend rates, but they didn't care that I'd lost 3 hours of weekend rates in my latest experience). Luckily I did everything I could to help this client, and she left having her hair done beautifully but maybe at another salon with less of a customer service focus they might have just said "sorry we didn't know about it too bad." What happens to her money then?
So whilst it seems great to sit at your desk on your laptop or iPhone and choose your next dream salon service just remember one thing; hairdressing is a people industry. If you want the best experience and to find the best match for your next dream salon experience - think twice before you take the "people" out of the process! Online may be great for some things but I guarantee you'll have a more enriching and seamless experience talking to the friendly salon operators and staff who will take the time and effort to ensure we get it right for you!
I endeavour to keep this blog authentic and although I have published a good report on Vaniday last year, I felt that Glen's experience should be shared.