Pilates 101:
Class Scheduling

By Jean Munoz-Keese
From the 2008 Balanced Body catalog

From the beginning, I realized that along with quality programming, excellentstaff, and a supportive environment, scheduling would be a critical element inthe success of my studio. Efficient scheduling is at the core our business andwhen done properly, will help maximize your capacity and revenue. The bottom line?You want to schedule as much as you can. But, you need to have a strategy.

Peak hours

We all know what this is – it’s the time of day when your greatest traffic comes through your door. For many facilities, it’s before people start their day or as they are finishing it. During these times we offer the classes that meet the needs of the majority of our customers.

For our existing clientele, we offer most of our apparatus and mat classes. To attractnew customers, we offer our beginning programs to hook prospects on what we have to offer.

Non-peak hours

These are the hours we book most of our private sessions and semi-privatesessions. While we also schedule classes during these hours, most of this timeis booked with people who want more private attention. In these non-peakhours, we schedule specialty classes, such as prenatal or kids classes.

Creating synergy

Offering other types of fitness classes can cause a synergy to inspire your clients toincrease the frequency of their visits – if it is convenient and cost-effective. Whenscheduling, think about what classes work well back-to-back. For example,offering a 30-minute jump board class after a mat Pilates class or before anapparatus class gives customers a easy way to extend their stay in your studio.(Note: Package pricing is an excellent way to encourage this.)

When to add a class

When you offer both apparatus and drop-in mat classes, you’ll hit a point where you need to add another class. For any appointment-based class, this is simple. When you add a group class, it can be a bit more complicated since you may dilute your current classes. When done at the right time, however, this added class gives you room to grow and gives your customers more opportunity to increase their classes within a high quality teaching environment.

When to drop a class

Well, this isn’t as fun. But the reality is that sometimes a class is not as successful as anticipated. We generally give a class three months to do prove itself. If it is still suffering after that time, we take it off the schedule and try something new! No reason to put energy and resources down the drain.

When to make changes

With any appointment-based class you will know when you need to make a change, and you can do it rather quickly. With drop-in classes, it isn’t as easy. I know some studios change their drop-inschedule monthly. For us, we’ve found that seasonal changes work best to allowour customers to establish a routine. So,we make a majority of our changes inJanuary, June and September.

Get customer feedback

Customers are the experts on what you should do. Take surveys and find out what they want! Clearly, their purchases and attendance are a vote in themselves. However, there may be other opportunities you can learn about by listening to your customers.

Jean Munoz-Keese is the co-owner of Sattva Yoga, Pilates & Ayurveda in Rocklin, CA