Lessons from lockdown: What we’ve learned, going into a second shutdown

As England enters its second national lockdown, hair and beauty businesses have closed their doors once again, until at least December 2nd. But there is some good news. This time, we’re not going in blind — and knowledge is power. 

So, to keep an eye on the horizon of a successful reopening, we’ve looked back at some of the biggest learnings we gained from the last shutdown, and what they mean for salons reopening this time around.

Bookings will be back

One of the biggest lessons to come from the first lockdown was just how committed clients are to their hair & beauty. During weeks of no treatments, revisiting a salon was consistently one of the top 3 things that people were prioritising, as soon as they could.

And they kept their word. As soon as businesses were able to open their doors again, we saw a huge spike in bookings — over 2,200% more than usual, across a huge range of treatments.

Mens’ haircuts lead the charge (with a staggering 10x more bookings than normal), followed by hair colouring and roots — plenty of DIY disasters to fix up. So, if you’re able to offer these treatments, make sure they’re top of the list for availability when you’re able to reopen.

Hygiene is still key

No surprises here. Hygiene was (and remains) one of the top concerns for clients when booking. With nerves at an all-time high after a lockdown, people were anxious to know they were booking somewhere they could trust to take their health seriously.

Take the time during this lockdown to make sure your hygiene standards are up to scratch — is there anywhere you could improve or tweak your protocol to make things run a bit smoother? 

Communicating those hygiene measures was also a key factor when clients chose where to book, and will be again. Update your website, social media and window display — wherever clients see you, let them know what you’re doing to keep them (and you) safe.

We saw reviews also becoming particularly helpful here, to offer that all important word-of-mouth that increases confidence.

Booking habits are changing

Hair and beauty saw a number of changes to the ways that clients book, following the previous lockdown — and they look set to continue now.

Booking further in advance and booking online both skyrocketed — we mentioned the record booking numbers on Treatwell before — as clients were unwilling or unable to take the chance of just walking in and booking in person.

And, with large numbers of people working from home or furloughed, we also saw a huge shift to booking local — powered by a renewed interest in discovering and supporting local businesses on their high streets. That means another wave of fresh demand you can prepare for.

With all that in mind, making sure you’re available to be discovered and booked online is critical. Use this opportunity to brush up your online presence, from social media to your website, to make sure you’re as visible as possible when lockdown ends. 

Peak times are disappearing

Following salons reopening after lockdown, we saw a new trend in peak booking times — or rather, a lack of one. 

With more people working remotely, many opted to book at unusual, traditionally off-peak times to guarantee their appointment and avoid the rush, meaning that weekday and morning appointments shot up in popularity and bookings were far more spread out across the week.

To prepare for the same approach this time around, you might consider opening or re-staffing with extended hours to make the most of the extra demand — or even opening for additional days if you’re able to staff it. These days, Mondays are no longer dead.

Clients want to connect

Let it be known that clients will never take their stylist for granted again. We saw a huge appetite during the last lockdown for a connection to their stylists, particularly on social media.

That means there’s a great opportunity to keep building your community and your brand online, even while closed. While you might not be able to chat with them as usual, you can use social media and email marketing to create a positive influence for clients during this (frankly) depressing time. 

Creating engaging, funny or helpful content will go a long way to keeping your salon at the top of their mind, and their first port of call when you’re allowed to reopen. And hey, we all need a little bit of fun.

The coronavirus has made salon life a lot more complicated for everyone. We’re here to share useful tips, guidance and advice as the situation continues, so you’re able to reopen your doors with a bang (so to speak). To make sure you don’t miss the latest content, make sure you sign up to our newsletter, follow our Instagram and check back regularly.