Google has recently launched a new search tool in the US that, if it makes its way to Australia, may soon render our online beauty booking sites (like Bookwell or Beauro) obsolete.
The new Google ‘Reserve’ tool is incorporated into the Google My Business function, the Google App page that displays your business contact information, images and map. If you currently use Google My Business, you will know that this is the one that pops up at the top of a Google search when users do a specific search for a business by name, or a general salon search based on a specific location.
When searching on mobile here in Australia, Google My Business pages currently offer users a button for call, directions, or website. The Reserve tool gives US users an option to click ‘Book Online’, a function that links with the business’ pre-existing online booking system.
According to Reuters, Google is drawing thousands of new customers to gyms and salons every month through an appointment booking tool. Users are able to quickly book and even pay for appointments without even having to visit another website.
Google even hopes to, in the near future, enable the function to take bookings via voice command through the Google Assistant virtual home device. Google says their Assistant device will even make robo-calls to businesses if there isn’t a suitable option through the Reserve function.
Google is currently partnered with at least 25 large software companies that businesses like spas and restaurants use to take online bookings, which supplies Google with up to date schedules from tens of thousands of businesses across 13 countries.
One of these booking software companies, Buenos Aires-based restaurant booking system Restorando, allegedly attracted around 15,000 diners that spent roughly $270,000 in just the first several weeks of the new function being available.
Here in Australia, the market for third party listing sties, particularly in the beauty space, is booming. One of these services is Melbourne-based Honee, and according to founder Matt Jones, there is still a big gap in the market when it comes to online bookings for beauty. “After taking an in-depth look into the market, we discovered that the beauty and wellness industry received less than 0.2% of their bookings online, and many businesses were still using pen and paper for their appointment setting and client notes.”
However, just like Google’s Reserve function, third party booking sites like Bookwell and Beauro still require businesses to be utilising an online booking software (such as Timely or Shortcuts) for their systems to sync to. So whether Reserve makes it to our shores or not, implementing a 24/7, online-based booking system is where businesses may fall behind the eight ball when it comes to maximising their bookings.
Want to learn more about beauty booking sites and what they can offer to revolutionise your appointments? Make sure you subscribe to get a copy of SPA+CLINIC’s upcoming August print edition!