Creating a class schedule is a bit of a science and an art — especially when it comes to the times you decide to offer classes. Some time slots, like before or after work hours, are a given. But what about catering to clients that are looking to get a quick workout in on their lunch hour? Or the ones that don’t operate on a traditional work schedule?
While your busiest classes will likely be the ones that happen after 6 pm, there are a few big benefits to offering afternoon classes that you might want to consider — some of which may have not crossed your mind before. Read on for why lunch time classes can be a big pro for your fitness studio.
1. Increase Your Client Base
While the majority of your members may hold a 9-5 job, offering classes midday allows you to cater to those who don’t operate on that schedule — and can even be the deciding factor for potential members who are looking for more midday offerings due to their unconventional shift duties. “Being in a big city with locations near a large medical district, police station, university and financial district, our afternoon class hours accommodate a variety of people that have both the desire and ability to squeeze in a midday workout,” says Graham Goy, owner of TITLE Boxing Club in Chicago. “Whether it is nurse that has a shift starting later that night, a bartender wanting to get in a workout before their night shift, or a student that wants to break up their day with some one-two combos, our afternoon classes offer the perfect platform.” No matter where you are, it’s worth testing out a new class in the 12-2 pm time slot or asking your members for feedback on other options they’d like to see to learn more about how you can best meet their needs.
2. Accommodate Busy Schedules
Even clients who operate on a traditional schedule may want the option to work out in the afternoon. According to Amanda Dale, a certified personal trainer, offering short, high impact classes midday appeals to clients that need to use their after work hours for other obligations. “Shortened express lunch classes that cater to working professionals allow them to get in and out in under 45 minutes to an hour,” she says. “We have a lot of busy professionals that only get one hour for lunch — meaning that 60 minutes has to accommodate not just a workout, but a shower and quick-grab of food as well. Our lunchtime classes let these folks get a no-time-wasted, planned and intense workout in without going overtime on lunch break. And the back-to-back scheduling (classes at 12:15 pm, 1pm and 1:45 pm) means they have options for when to take their lunch ‘breaks.'” [Download our industry report How Showers, Lockers and Shorter Class Lengths Affect Reservations on ClassPass to learn more about the benefits of shorter, lunch-time classes!]
3. Allow For A “Test Drive”
Since your afternoon classes won’t be as packed as the ones you hold in the evening hours, Goy says that this makes for the ideal opportunity to try out a new class instructor or offering to see how class members respond — without having to disrupt one of your more popular evening classes in order to do so. “The afternoon hours really provide a chance for our clubs to test everything from new class styles to apparel sales and even beverages available for purchase,” says Goy. “We consider this time almost as a dress rehearsal for the prime time.”
4. Fewer Cancellations
Certified personal trainer Kyra Williams points out that when you’re offering classes in the afternoon, your members have less temptation to cancel in favor of sleeping in or going out, which can cause them to bail on the class they signed up for last minute during other time slots. “Afternoon workouts mean you are already done with your workout when you get off of work,” she says, “so that when things come up, you’ve already gotten it done!” This may, of course, vary depending on your cancellation policy. Yet while you may see fewer clients overall in the afternoon, it’s likely you’ll be able to better count on the ones that sign up to actually show up.
Download our industry report How Showers, Lockers and Shorter Class Lengths Affect Reservations on ClassPass to learn more about the benefits of shorter, lunch-time classes!