Online Booking: 2019 A Year in Review

Diving into the nitty-gritty details of your online booking stats can feel overwhelming.

Who has time to sit down and research how clients are finding their business online, or what social media platform had the biggest pay-off in 2019?

Well … it turns out Bookedin does!

We decided to jump into the research pool with both feet. Buckle in as Bookedin takes you on a magical ride through the last 12 months for our users and their clients. Take this epic journey with us and leave with 13 tangible takeaways on how to take your business to the next level.

Alrighty … let’s do this.

Welcome to the *Two Comma Club*

That’s right. You’re officially part of the exclusive *TWO COMMA CLUB.* In 2019, Bookedin users logged a whopping 1,547,239 appointments platform wide. Even more staggering was seeing the *US of A* come through with just over 1 million of those online bookings! Great job 🥳.

Although the US dominated with appointments overall, it was London (UK) who came in at number one for “city with the highest number of appointments booked.” Jolly Good!

We love all of our Bookedin family equally, but based on stats these five industries are the appointment booking ninjas of 2019:

  1. Barbers & barbershops: 304,905
  2. Tattoo shops: 169,890
  3. Hair salons: 118,088
  4. Beauty salons: 107,707
  5. Dog & Pet Grooming: 38,117

Who was making all these online bookings?

online booking appointment stats 2019

It was a pretty close call between online appointments booked by clients (46%) vs. staff (54%), and here’s the breakdown:

  • 713,726 were booked by clients 
  • 833,513 were booked by staff 

On top of that, your 1.5 million clients were popping by our online appointment booking directory to check out your business, an increase of 21% compared to 2018. When they landed on the directory they stayed for almost a full minute. Not too shabby!

What does this mean for your business?

Share your booking link—EVERYWHERE. Make it easy for clients to find and book through your personal business channels (website, social media), or when they Google your business name. The more visible you are, the more online bookings you’ll start to see.

Increased online bookings also means less busy work for your staff. The more clients book themselves online, the less time your staff will need to spend on scheduling.

*This* is the year to make your business mobile-friendly

No real surprises here. 82% of your clients are using mobile to book their online appointments (up 16% from 2018), while all other devices are trending down:

  • Mobile: 82% (⬆️ 16%)
  • Desktop: 16% (⬇️ 8%)
  • Tablet: 2% (⬇️18%)

And …

This means your potential clients are scoping out your business while commuting home in an Uber or waiting in line to grab an almond milk latte—basically, during any spare minute they have. Your business needs to grab their attention and convert that *interest* into *commitment* as quickly as possible.

Here are a couple of simple tips you can put into action now:

  • Always have a clear call to action in your social media posts → for example Ready to book an appointment? Click the link in my bio.
  • On that note ^^, make sure your Instagram bio also calls out how to book an online appointment with you. (For more tips on how to set your Instagram up for online booking success check out this blog post)
  • Add booking buttons to your website and social media platforms—make it dead simple to book with you in a hurry!

Is your business showing up in the right places? {Well, we’re about to find out}

booking appointments online by traffic channel source

When your potential dream client searches for a service on their phones, how are they coming across your business? 

Are they typing your online booking page right into Google (direct search), finding you on Instagram or stumbling across your page in search (organic)? When you discover how your business is being *found* it can cause a seismic shift in what marketing you focus on and which you drop!

Here’s what we found through the power of Google Analytics:

Social: 41% (⬆️ 27%)

Direct: 29% (⬆️ 19%)

Referral websites: 25% (⬆️ 3%)

Organic search: 4.4% (⬆️ 50%)

Nice stats Bookedin. But what does it mean for my business?

For 2019 the greatest jumps were social media (no big surprise there) and organic search. We’ll go through a breakdown of each so you have a solid understanding of what these channels mean for your business. Up first—social

41% of your clients are finding you through one of your social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram)—that number is crazy. So, how can you capitalize on all those 👀? First, you need to have a booking link or booking button in your bio so clients can quickly view your availability and make an online appointment.

Second, don’t be shy about telling your clients how they can book with you in every single post. You might feel like a broken record but social media algorithms are wild cards. You can almost guarantee the only one seeing all of your posts is YOU.

Direct traffic is on the rise: This traffic comes from clients who type your online booking link directly into their browser or click a link that’s in an email. It might even be from a click inside a private source like chat, WhatsApp or a text (otherwise known as “dark social”). Encourage your clients to *share* your posts on social media. You’ll gain more exposure and have a better idea of how much traffic is headed to your page.

Referral websites are hanging on: Think of referrals like word of mouth traffic for your website. Your online booking page is found via a “referral” when visitors come from other websites (ex. your business site), or any website that links to your booking page. To build your referral traffic you first need to *have* a website. From there make sure to add a book now button front and center for prospective clients to click. Here’s a quick tutorial that’ll show you how to get set up.

Organic search has doubled … but don’t get too excited: Those clients who find you by searching on Google, Bing { ← yes, people do use Bing} or DuckDuckGo are called organic search. It means your clients are finding you without a *referral,* such as another website or a paid ad … it’s like magic. 

And organic search for our Bookedin users is up a whopping 50% over last year. Alas, it still only makes up 4.4%. If you’re looking to get in on some of that action, consider what content you’ve added to your online booking page. How detailed are your service descriptions? … Are they really selling your offerings? Head here for a couple of ideas that could help raise your rankings using words that grab the attention of your clients.

And the award for most bookings on a social media platform goes to …

TIKTOK!! Joking—it’s definitely Instagram. Well done you. It looks like more businesses than ever put their online booking link prominently in their bio and it paid off. Up 36% over last year, Instagram was the biggest traffic driver by far. Here’s how the other platforms played out:

Instagram: ⬆️ 36%

Facebook: ⬆️ 22% 

Twitter: ⬆️ 117% { ← WHAT?!!! This is nuts}

Instagram Stories: ⬇️ 78%

Huh?! I thought Instagram Stories was where it’s at for 2020?

Here’s the thing. Instagram Stories is *great* for driving traffic to your Insta account, blowing up your visibility and engaging your audience, but unless you’ve got over 10K followers it’s useless for linking to your online booking page. Literally. You can’t do it. Instead, add your booking link to your Instagram Page (you can find out how here) and use Instagram Stories as an *add on* to show off what happens behind the scenes. Video helps get potential clients excited about coming to experience your business in real life.

Related: How to Book Appointments Through Instagram

Your clients are living the 9-5 life … even if you aren’t

Our reports show your clients are getting a jump on organization at the beginning of the week. Monday – Wednesday are the most popular days for booking appointments, with a 40% drop off once the weekend hits. And though clients beg for  24/7 access, they tend to visit your online booking page between 9 am and 4 pm.

Why it matters:

Knowing when you’re going to get hit with a batch of new online bookings or flooded with questions ( ← Do you have any openings? Can you squeeze me in?) gives you time to prepare. It also lets you plan promotions or events to launch around the time you know your clients will be clambering to make an appointment.

Your clients *looovveee* text messages

Of course they do. How often do you pick up your phone to dial it these days? When mine rings I almost have a heart attack, and that’s with a ringtone playing my favorite song. { QOTSA if you’re curious} But a staggering 2.6 million text messages? Wild.

Think about all the time automated text messages saved you this past year 💭 Online booking confirmed ✔️ … follow-up ✔️ … last-minute reminder ✔️ Ahhhh, what did you do with all those hours? Something super fun I hope.

How can you use text confirmations & reminders to your advantage?

Your clients are busy, just like you. Letting them know you offer text confirmations and appointment reminders is one more way to set you apart from the competition. Staying in touch with your clients is the key to helping them stay organized and increasing the chances they’ll show up on time for their appointment. Who doesn’t want that?

Cancellations. They happen to the best of us …

appointment cancellation stats

The dopamine surges when you hear the *ding*  of a fresh notification…Joe Smith booked an appointment on Saturday, February 2 at 11:45 AM! Not so great when that same client cancels. But, that’s all part of doing business, so we decided to take a deeper dive into the in’s and out’s of client cancellations.

In the last three months, the greatest number of cancellations occurred Monday – Wednesday between 11 am and 3 pm. Clients heavily favored using email (74%) over text (26%) to let you know they wouldn’t be able to make it.

Overall, these four industries saw the greatest number of cancellations:

  1. Barbers/barber shops 
  2. Hair salons 
  3. Tattoo artists /shops
  4. Beauty salons

Well, that’s all well and good, but how can I *stop* clients from canceling?

You can’t. But hang on, even though you can’t *stop* clients from canceling, there are steps you can put into place so you don’t lose out on that hard-earned money. When clients book their appointment online why not request an up-front deposit?

It can be the full value of your service or even a partial amount. Requiring a deposit from clients booking online gives you the peace of mind you won’t be left empty-handed in the eleventh hour.

Related: Tired of No-Show Appointments? 5 Reasons Why Your Clients Keep Bailing

Taboo topic alert! We’re going to talk about money

online payments for appointment booking

Y’all collected over $4.2 million using Bookedin’s online payment processing, with the average transactions being between $20-50 { ← the highest payment accepted was over $1000!}. Let’s stop for just a minute and give each other a virtual high-five 👏.

If you feel left out don’t worry, 2020 is your year to start taking payments online:

Accepting online payments is super easy. No one likes to chase clients down for money owed. With online payments, we do it for you. Set up is simple—all you need to get started is a Business PayPal account and you’re off to the races. Find out all the details about online payments here

How’d you get your hands on all those dollar bills?

You might have been thinking to yourself: $20-50 seems a little low for service pricing … well, this might clear things up. You see, of the $4.2 million Bookedin users collected last year, 84% of it came from upfront payments (that’s 63,213 individual payments processed). Does the $20-50 make sense now?

Here’s how the other payment methods used shake out:

  • Upfront Payment (paid online when booking): 84%
  • Payment request (invoice): 8.1% 
  • Pay later (email invoice sent automatically after appointment): 8.2%

When it comes to upfront payments, does your industry love ‘em or leave ‘em?

Here are the top five industry leaders in requiring deposits: 

  1. Photographers
  2. Driving schools 
  3. Tattoo artists & shops
  4. Hair & beauty salons salons 
  5. Eyelash services

Why should you be taking notes here?

Combining deposits with online (pay later) payments is your golden ticket to stress-free client transactions. You choose the amount you’d like your potential client to pay *before* they’re able to score a booking with you. Then we’ll send out their booking confirmation and reminder automatically {including} a “pay now” button. No follow up from you required.

Ready to try it out? Get all the juicy details on upfront payments here.

Whew, that was a TON of information. Did you make it all the way down here? If so, here’s a reward for being such a trooper:

^^^ Ron Swanson for the WIN!!!! 

No time to read through the entire blog post? It’s all good, we’ve got you covered …

Here are the 13 key takeaways:

  1. Share your booking page link everywhere
  2. Add a call to action to your Instagram bio that includes your online booking link
  3. Put a call to action in *every* social media post notifying clients you’re taking online bookings
  4. Put a booking button on your personal website
  5. Add a book now button on Facebook
  6. Encourage your followers to share your posts publicly
  7. Create a personal website with a prominent booking button/booking calendar
  8. Make your service descriptions irresistible to your potential clients
  9. Plan all launches/promos early in the week, between 9 am – 4 pm
  10. Make sure all potential clients know you offer text confirmations & reminders
  11. Use up-front deposits to avoid no-shows & last-minute cancellations
  12. Start accepting online payments to save the hassle of chasing down clients
  13. Use Instagram stories to drive traffic to your brick & mortar business

Did you find this roundup of our 2019 online booking statistics helpful?

What other numbers would you love to see us analyze in the future … your wish is our command. Pop your deepest desire into the comments below ⬇️ and we’ll see if we can add it to our next year-end review.