As the Australian government steps up measures to control the COVID-19 outbreak, salons and spas are feeling the pinch.
With “social distancing” encouraging Australians to keep a space of at least 1.5 meters between them and other members of the public, beauty salons and spas are experiencing an unprecedented number of appointment cancellations.
The global health and beauty sector was last valued to worth an estimated $152 billion (in 2018), but is expected to take a massive hit in the coming months.
Belinda Merlino of The Skin Clinic, says given that beauty and skincare is a touch-based industry, there is bound to be an impact felt. “We have noticed an increase in cancellations and last-minute rescheduling of appointments,” she says. “We have a clientele that travel frequently, so the new requirements around a two-week quarantine on return to Australia is also sure to have an impact. We also have a huge demographic of mums who have been keeping kids at home and practicing social distancing. It’s definitely having an impact. I think this is the first time that we as an industry have felt a hit such as this.”
If, like Belinda, you’re planning to keep your salon or clinic open for business throughout the coming weeks and months, here are our top tips for getting through.
Keep your salon as safe as possible
According to Marie Enna-Cocciolone, CEO and Founder of Inskin Cosmedics, keeping your salon as safe as possible starts with your staff. “Ask staff when returning to work after sick leave, including just one day, to present you with a doctor’s certificate, clearing their return to work.” Marie also suggests introducing a daily health-check for all staff. “At the start of every day [or shift], as staff arrive at work and sign in, take their temperature using a non-contact thermometer. Readings of 38 and higher should be sent to a doctor for medical assessment; staff should not return to work without medical equipment.”
When it comes to greeting clients, Maria recommends avoiding physical contact such as kissing, hugs or handshakes, and wearing gloves for the duration of the treatment if possible.
Communicate with your clients
Customers are likely to feel a little anxious about venturing out, particularly during a period of social isolation. If you have decided to remain open for business, communicate with your clients.
Use social media to highlight that your salon or spa is open, and that appointments are available.
At the time of booking – whether over the phone or online – inform the customer that you have taken extreme measures to ensure the salon is safe, and that you require their assistance to ensure the good health of both themselves and your staff. “We have encouraged unwell clients to reschedule and have been screening those that have travelled to ensure it’s not a high-risk destination. Treatment rooms have been disinfected more frequently and cleanliness and hygeine is our top priority when our therapists are not attending to clients,” says Belinda.
In the salon, ensure that it’s made clear to your customers that the space is clean and hygienic:
- Position hand sanitiser and disinfectant wipes throughout the salon, and ask patients to sanitise their hands before entering the treatment room.
- Show clients that you are using sterile tools as well as single-use utensils.
- Have a small sign on the bed welcoming your customer and advising them that the room as been sanitised for their health and safety.
- Consider using credit cards only, and ask the client to tap their card, so no cards or money are exchanged.
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