When you opened your studio, you had a vision for it, and your classes reflected that vision. But you might find that your instructors or clients are gravitating towards a class that incorporates aspects of an exercise genre you don’t offer or that they are asking for a different type of workout. So, what do you do?
It can be tough to make the leap to add an exercise genre at your studio. That’s why we’re here to help you decide if you should and how to do it. We’ve broken down three case studies of ClassPass studios that made the decision to add new workout genres to their original class offerings and how they did so successfully.
Where: Minneapolis, MN
Opened with: Restorative Yoga & Spin
Added: Barre & More Vigorous Yoga
At DharmaCycle Yoga, founder Jackie Gladney opened with a core offering of DharmaYoga, a restorative sequence of postures in a heated room, as well as DharmaCycle spin classes. However, Gladney found that the most popular class among clients wasn’t DharmaYoga or DharmaCycle but a fusion class she had created called Prime that combined yoga with Pilates.
Although it wasn’t part of her original vision, Gladney saw that there was a demand for more fitness-based classes in the community, so they decided to add more formats that included more vigorous yoga and barre.
“Our students love our more vigorous yoga class and the barre classes. We added barre because Prime was a bit too challenging for everyone. Barre is a great workout that is accessible to everyone which was important to us. Most of our DharmaYoga classes have been replaced on the schedule. We offer it a handful of times a week.”
Be flexible, and pay attention to market trends and what your class attendance (and clients) tell you.
Gladney offered this advice: “Allow your intention to have wiggle room. I intend to lead mindful, safe and challenging fitness classes in a fun and supportive environment. My intention allows my business to grow and change with the industry. It’s important to listen to your clientele and watch market trends. What you think is the perfect schedule and class format might not go over well with your target demographic.”
Where: San Francisco, CA
Opened with: Yoga & Spin
Added: TRX & Core Strength
Founders of Wheel House, Carl Morley and Suhail Maqsood, learned six months after opening that their clients wanted more strength training options and that their yoga studio needed improvements. It turned out that the pulsing music from the spin studio was penetrating the yoga studio and interfering with the ability of the yogis to focus and relax.
They made the decision to add strength training classes, TRX and core strength, and then decided to build a new yoga studio and to convert the current studio into a strength training space to install their Bluetooth-operated Flexline suspension equipment. They made the new studio for yoga with input from instructors that included padded floors, temperature control, mood lighting, and ample wall space.
But that was not the only consideration they had to make. Maqsood explained, “As the first studio in the country to roll out a dedicated Flexline class schedule, we had to develop our own training program and are responsible for training all of the instructors in our Core program to use the equipment and format classes incorporating all of the unique aspects of the machines.”
As such, they stressed the importance of treading carefully before offering a new workout genre to evaluate what the impacts of implementing it would be: do you have the resources, the equipment, the training, and the staff necessary?
For some Wheel House clients, it took some gentle encouragement via e-mail, offers, and other clients, to get them to take the new TRX and core strength classes.
“It was interesting to see how some existing members that were used to TRX workouts were unwilling to try the new Strength and Circuit classes given they were unfamiliar with using the new equipment or class formats. These hesitations were overcome when other members started to rave about the new classes and machines, which suddenly opened up a whole new workout routine to them.”
Build out your strategy and communicate frequently with staff and clients.
Maqsood advised, “Make sure you have a clear strategy laid out that clearly addresses what you are introducing, why it is needed, its benefit to members, impact to the studio for staffing, training and front desk, cost, potential revenue etc. Ensure there is proper communication with a clearly defined roadmap of key dates that the front desk team, managers and instructors understand. Communicate often with members via email campaigns and get them excited or talking about the changes and the benefit they get. Once your program is launched, don’t be shy of making further modifications. The key is to be open to feedback – good or bad – and to listen to what is being said.”
Where: Toronto, ON, Canada
Opened with: Yoga
Added: Pilates, Meditation & Barre
889 Yoga opened in 2007 as a yoga studio, but in an effort to continually evolve and grow their community, they took feedback from clients directly and sensed client needs by observing and listening in classes. That led them to add Pilates classes, meditation, and, most recently, barre.
Community Director Kerry Heming explained, “There are times when we know what our clients want before they do! For about a year now we have really been feeling a fitness focus from the community and have been hearing guests say that they want more, but they weren’t exactly sure of what. We thought barre would be the perfect complement to our guests’ weekly Pilates/yoga/meditation routine, and we were right! Our Barre program has contributed significantly to the overall growth of the business. In just a few months, the program has grown from 5 classes a week to 10 classes a week, and we have just recently launched the addition of pre- and post-natal barre classes, based on feedback from our mama community.”
But it is not just client feedback that has guided 889 Studio to expand its offerings to include other workout genres—they encourage their instructors to share their ideas for classes and to incorporate their own talents and passions into their teaching, which led the studio to add new workout genres over the years.
“It is really important to us that our teachers feel valued and love what they are teaching, versus us telling them what they should be teaching. When we give our teachers the space to showcase their true talents and passions, we see them thrive and it is such a beautiful thing!”
Keep lines of communication with clients and staff open and don’t be afraid to take a risk.
Heming’s advice: “Check in with your guests and teachers often and always! This will make relationships stronger and ensure others that you are making an effort to give them the service and opportunities they desire. If you have a solid action plan in place and all of your ducks in a row, commit to your new offering and make it happen! Put some feelers out to your community and make sure interest is there. If there is even a smidgen – go for it! You can always go back to the drawing board and re-assess if need be. Being open to change and stepping out of your comfort zone often leads to growth and bigger and better opportunities.”