Team TMN caught up with Nitin Reen, CEO and Co-Founder of Vaniday Middle East, to find out more about the newly launched online booking platform….

Tell us a bit about Vaniday?
The cornerstone of the Vaniday philosophy is that looking and feeling your best should be accessible to every person, at any given moment, wherever they are in the world. With Vaniday, customers are able to discover new services and professionals, book appointments and get inspired. Salons can showcase their work, connect with new and existing clients, and grow their business.

Where did the concept for Vaniday originate?
Although, it is one of the largest and most profitable industries in the world, the beauty & wellness sector is one of the few industries that has not yet fully transitioned from offline to online. It is so simple nowadays to book a plane ticket, or book a car service to your door online. We identified a gap in the market and thus, Vaniday was born.

What makes Vaniday unique as a service?
First of all, we have an unprecedented number of high-end, well-established venues on the site that feature exclusive offers to our users. We are available online via the website, as well as both an Android and an IPhone app, and our customer service team are highly-trained and ensure that booking and paying for services is both easy and convenient for salons and clients alike. Also, unlike salons and spas, which have strict opening hours, Vaniday is available 24/7, 365 days of the year.

How have you marketed Vaniday since its launch?

We have used a combination of offline and online marketing channels.  On the offline side, we have tried initiatives ranging from flyering and hosting events, to radio campaigns and billboards on Sheikh Zayed Road. On the online side, we have had a good amount of success through SEM and Facebook focusing on both the web and app fronts. It’s important to note that we don’t view any initiative in isolation and we try to tie everything in together – so if we have an offline initiative such as radio mentions or a competition, then we link it in to Facebook advertising to have a complimentary and symmetrical marketing offering.

How do you feel social media has helped your company grow?

Social media is important for any business, but of even greater importance for a company that exists in the digital world (such as ours) – and greater still for a company centered around the beauty industry. Social media is very useful to us in order to drive customer engagement – It helps us get to know our customers/supporters and allows them to get to know us. Through SoM, we can get an idea of who our customers are, what they appreciate and what they want.

Who is Vaniday’s target audience?
Anyone with a busy lifestyle who loves indulging in hair, beauty and spa treatments. More than a third of our users are males and most of our users are professionals who want to be able to book salon and spa visits quickly and conveniently, without worrying about where to go or what appointment is available.

Why did you decide to launch Vaniday in the UAE?
Given the hectic lifestyle in the UAE, we felt that many people needed a service that could save them time when they wanted to book a salon or spa visit. The Middle East in general, and the UAE specifically, is one of the fastest growing beauty markets in the world. This, along with the fact that the UAE has one of the highest smartphone penetrations in the world and a growing propensity to transact online, made the foray into the UAE market a very simple one.

How can businesses/PR companies get involved with Vaniday?
There are many ways in which external agencies can get involved. As a young but rapidly expanding company, we are open to fresh ideas and progressive thinking and we are always on the lookout for exciting collaborations! All people need to do is get in touch.

For any salon or spa that would like to be listed on Vaniday, its management can get in touch and we can negotiate how they can become salon partners.

Did you face any challenges in establishing the website in the UAE?
The main challenge at the beginning was hiring a great team. Our goal was to be lean which demanded the highest standards of efficiency and we were quite lucky in finding amazing talent. Every member of our team is a rockstar in his/her focus area. We wanted to bring people in who are truly passionate about our company and have strived to cultivate an environment where people feel that this is their company and they take pride in all of its achievements. We were fortunate to achieve this objective and today, everybody in our team lives and loves Vaniday.

What does the future hold for Vaniday?
We are currently experiencing very rapid growth. We have been active for less than a year and are already in numerous countries all around the globe. We are constantly working on expanding our existing markets as well as new ones. In regards to the Middle East, this trend also holds true. This is a region whose market behaviour is very conducive to our business model and we are planning to capitalize on this to the benefit of our current and potential customers.