With three booming businesses under her name, you could say that CEO and marketing extraordinaire Haylee Benton has a flair for creating first-class ‘me time’. We spoke with her about standing out in the UK, her five-star client experience and how she uses Timely to grow her three businesses.

Why UK CEO Haylee Benton uses Timely’s Online Booking to help her Spa, Salon and Skin Clinics Thrive

From Corporate to Self-Care

Based in Hertfordshire, 40 minutes north of London you’ll find the ‘me time’ trio, Cecily Day Spa, Alchemy & I and Koha Skin Clinic. You might assume these fully booked and successful businesses could only be owned by someone with decades of experience in the industry. Well interestingly, that is not the case. With a background in Marketing and Business Management, Haylee was climbing the corporate ladder when in 2014 the idea of starting her own business came about. Enter stage right: ‘Pamper Pad’. In Haylee’s words “it’s the Trip Advisor of the salon industry.” With over 8,000 businesses listed in Pamper Pad’s directory, customers can find local deals, while pamper professionals can market their business at an affordable rate.

One Year, Three Businesses

With Pamper Pad a roaring success, Haylee wanted to pivot into salon mentoring, as she saw the need for business coaching in the industry. “A hairdresser doesn’t become a hairdresser because they want to run a business. They’re passionate about hair, they often don’t know about the business side.” Haylee knew that she’d have to get the experience first. “I knew I didn’t have the credentials behind me to give advice, and I wanted to be able to say that I’ve been there and done it.” Fortunately, a friend of hers owned an established beauty spa called ‘Cecily Day Spa.’ Haylee offered to buy it and well, the rest is history.

Haylee immediately set to work – she moved the spa into a much larger building, then opened up a hair salon on the ground floor of that building called ‘Alchemy & I’. Of course, Haylee didn’t stop there. “I still had the lease on the smaller building where Cecily used to be so I decided to put ‘Koha Skin Clinic’, in there. It’s handy to have businesses that compliment each other. All of the businesses are relevant to each other and we can market to each others clients.

Haylee Benton with members of her team.

What Women Want

We asked Haylee, “why beauty?”

“I don’t know how I got into beauty really, but I’m a woman, I understand women and I know what they want. When I go into a salon or spa, I have extremely high expectations. I don’t want it to be a boring, run of the mill experience.”

A lot of businesses don’t offer a unique experience to the client, which in Haylee’s eyes, is a missed opportunity.  “The stuff that we’re trying to do in these businesses is on another level compared to a lot of standard salons”. The hair salon ‘Alchemy & I’ is a blow-dry bar with colour specialists. “It’s focused around treating yourself, so we have a bartender who makes cocktails and Dyson hairdryers so that it’s quiet. Clients can talk to their friends while getting their hair blow-dried or coloured and cut.”

When it comes to the client experience, Haylee is always willing to go the extra mile. After all, it’s the little details that count. “Once our clients have had a massage at the day spa, they’ll be a bit oily, so they can come downstairs and get a blow-dry to feel fresh.”

The beautiful interior and workstations in the Alchemy & I salon.

A stylist attends to a client at Alchemy & I salon.

How Any Spa Can Create An Addictive Mini-Escape

In the beauty business, it pays to be different. Each of the treatment rooms at Cecily Day Spa has a theme, so when a client goes into a treatment room, they’re immersed in a completely different world. “In the UK, where there is so much competition – you need to stand out. So, we went big and bold. The themes are very original – 

“We’ve got an apothecary room which is quite ‘wizardry’, a woodland room, a marble room, a glow worm cave room, and a New Zealand inspired room.”

Each year or two they plan on changing the themes in the rooms, to keep the client excited about coming back. Delivering a personal and memorable experience will really help with client retention. Group pampering is central to Haylee’s marketing strategy. “Clients know that they can come in with their friends and get pampered together. We make it obvious at our Spa by having four pedicure thrones together which look out to the High Street.”

Haylee says that they want people coming in with their friends, because it’s a good earner but also fun for the business. Their new marketing slogan is ‘don’t meet at the pub, meet at the spa.’ “We haven’t had to do any 2 for 1 deals because the environment is built for small groups!”

Treating a client at Koha skin clinic.

Timely and Consult Are More Than Important, They’re Crucial

Haylee is a New Zealander, one of the many reasons why she wanted to use Timely. You could say that Timely helps keep the heart of the businesses beating.

“We’ve got Timely on about 15 iPads, one in each treatment room which we use the Consult app on during our pre-service consultations. Then, four iPads at the concierge which my staff and clients are constantly using.

The concierge desk has two receptionists working non-stop looking after Cecily Day Spa and Alchemy & I. “We get a lot of online bookings, but still the phone does not stop ringing – it’s constant. I would hate to think what that phone would be like if we didn’t have online booking. We just wouldn’t have the staff to answer all those calls, we’d have to hire another receptionist.”

Timely has saved us the cost of hiring a third receptionist.

Online Booking Is A No Brainer

Online booking is a surefire way to stand out from the competition. “We’ve had online booking for years, but salons around us don’t tend to have it. I’m still waiting for them to catch up. Timely definitely makes us different –  it’s crucial to make it as easy as possible for your client to book with you.” 

Online booking is a must-have because people are busy, and they often don’t have the time to make a phone call. It’s important to enable them to do it in their own time. “Our clients can go online and have a look at times that suit them, rather than being on the phone for a while and working with a receptionist to find an appointment that suits the client and the business.” 

Haylee believes that “if the client is booking online, they’re more inclined to make a booking that suits them, rather than feeling pressured to pick an appointment time quickly.” This could have a halo effect on your no-show rates – people are less likely to cancel or not show up if their appointment slots conveniently into their schedule! 

Online booking can also make your digital marketing more powerful. 

“Our online marketing prompts people to ‘Book Now’ through Timely – it’s pure ease for our clients. How many online bookings we get is quite crazy really. Online booking is just the way of the world these days.”

The Answer To Making Online Booking Work For Your Business Is…

Deposits! Online booking is an amazing addition to any salon, spa or clinic, but you need an insurance policy to protect you from flakey clients. “No shows and cancelations are really demotivating for our staff because they’ve got targets to meet and they want to do well! So we’re now taking a 25% deposit for everything.” While this was scary to do at first, Haylee says this decision has really paid off. “We’ve had a huge reduction in no-shows, it’s been so successful we may look to make it 50%”

Asking for a deposit or full payment, demands respect for your business from the get-go, “When a client pays a deposit for their appointment online, we find they’re much less likely to cancel. Deposits are a no-brainer.” 

Timely + Their App = Client Retention Magic

Cecily Day Spa have leveled up their client experience game with their app, which they built with ‘Oappso’. Once the client has downloaded the iOS or Android version, they can book online, get access to exclusive appointments and even order drinks! “With the app, we send push notifications out to clients when we have an appointment available and they can book it because Timely’s online booking is embedded into the app. They can order the exact drink that they want when they arrive, like tea with soy milk and one sugar. We also have QR codes on each mirror, in each room, so if the client has the app they can scan the code and order a drink from wherever they are in the building and we add it to their bill at the end.”

Haylee Benton relaxing in her business.

What Haylee LOVES About Timely

“I would say it’s the improvements, the constant evolving, the fact that you can connect to other apps that you might need. The dedication to making it better all the time, not just standing still. Other companies seem to stand still and stay the same.”

We love surprising and delighting our Timely users with new features and improvements, so it’s great to hear Haylee values this, too. “It’s the community feel – when Timely post something on social media, there’s so much engagement. Yes, Timely cares about their customers but the customers feel the same way back – it’s very much a two-way street.”

Haylee reviewing information on a computer with a salon manager.

20 Staff, Three Locations And Timely Manages It All

“What I like the most about Timely is the reporting and the executive summary. Every week we have a management meeting with the managers of each location and the reports are really helpful for that. Our spa manager is a beauty therapist and our hair salon manager is a hairdresser so they don’t have backgrounds in business management. Timely’s reports are easy to understand so it helps them be better at business. I truly believe that for someone to be successful in business, they need to know and understand their data, and Timely gives you that in an easy to understand way. When you look at the dashboard, it tells a story, doesn’t it?”

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