Are you the type of fitness studio that offers endless class options, yet can’t seem to fill any of them?
Whether you’re just opening your doors, or you’ve been open for years, it’s always worth assessing your class schedule with regularity. You want to be efficient, provide a great experience, and allow yourself the space to rest. Additionally, it’s more fun for your members and newbies to experience a full class. It allows them to meet new people and get a better workout (we all know we work harder when there’s someone running next to us).
Don’t burnout by trying to keep a bunch half-full classes on the schedule, when you could maximize your efforts and reduce your stress. Here are a few tips and guidelines when reassessing your studio’s needs:
When all of your classes are full.
This is a great problem to have. Your classes are full, and your waitlists aren’t budging. Before your members start looking elsewhere, it’s time to start adding more classes to your schedule. Now, before you start doing so, ask for feedback. Take the extra five minutes to create and send out a survey, it can be easily done via a service like Survey Monkey. However, make sure you are asking the right questions, for example:
- What offering/type of class are you looking to see more of?
- What class time is missing?
- What is your favorite class time?
- What days of the week are you most likely to come to class?
Give the people what they want, before they realize they want it.
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When your classes are half full.
Okay, so your classes aren’t filling, or maybe they’re half full...so, what do you do? Sit down and crunch your numbers. If you are offering classes every hour on the hour, and aren’t seeing high attendance, it may be time to reassess your schedule. When taking away class times, always give your members time to adjust to the new schedule. I would recommend a month’s notice- this will allow people time to plan and also provide feedback to you.
For example, if you are offering five morning classes at 5am, 6am, 7:15am, 8:30am and 9:30am, and aren’t having any classes fill, it may be time to take away some classes. No one likes to sign up for a group class, only to show up for a private session. You probably only need one early class, so keep the 5am or the 6am. Maybe switch it up and keep 6am for M/W/F, and 5am for T/R. You’ll still be able to cater to your demographic and keep everyone happy. Same thing goes for evening classes.
Remember that it is about quality, not about quantity. Focus your energy on providing a great class experience. Chances are cutting some classes now, will result in more energy to provide for the classes you keep. Once your classes start filling again, you can look back into adding those class times.
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During the Summer.
Summertime and the living is easy.The kids are out of school, and that means that your 9:30am class that used to fill after school drop off is now impossible to make. You may want to look into providing childcare during certain times to assist those members with limited childcare options, or look into adding back those early class times. Many parents can make an early morning 6am while the kids are still sleeping, allowing for one parent to get a workout in before work, and the other parent after work.
Summer is for vacation, and that means that your regulars may be planning trips here, there and everywhere in between. If you plan on changing your schedule to suit for Summer, send out emails in late April and early May. Encourage class attendance through Summer challenges, and remind your members that it is all about maintaining their habits, including coming to class.
During the holiday season.
Grandma didn’t get run over by a reindeer, and she is expecting you to come home for the holidays. The holidays mean time for family, fun, and copious amounts of processed sugar... I mean carrots... isn’t that what reindeer eat? You may want to look into changing your schedule when it comes time for the holidays.
I like to go by the list of federal holidays, your big six - New Year’s, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you want to host a turkey buster workout on Thanksgiving, do it in the morning, before everyone begins their attempts at frying the main course. You may also want to consider changing your class schedules on the days leading up to and around these holidays. And don’t be afraid to ask your members what class times they would want to see around the holidays.
Trust your gut. If you think it’s time to change up your schedule, it probably is. Listen to your people, and remember to always leave time for your members and instructors to adjust to changes. They are the heartbeat of your studio, so encourage them to give you feedback to assist in any changes.