If you’ve ever walked into a fitness class to find only one client waiting, you know that you’re supposed to play it cool, put on a friendly face, and give them the same commitment you would to a packed studio.
Still, it isn’t exactly ideal. In your dream world, you’re more likely running a fitness empire where classes fill up a full week in advance, no-shows are nonexistent, and you’re spending your days wondering whether you should open a second — or even 25th — location.
While studio #25 can’t happen tomorrow, you can get savvy about keeping your fitness classes full consistently, which is exactly what you need on your quest to become one of those “Have you been to [your name here]?” workouts. Here are some strategic ways to keep your fitness classes full every day.
How to Fill Up Every Session on Your Fitness Class Calendar
1. Offer Bundles and Discounts They Can’t Refuse
The fastest route to consistently full classes — and a full class calendar — is to build a loyal following of return clients. One of the best ways to do this is to offer discounted package bundles on a regular basis, as well as special packages that you offer around seasonal fitness spikes. (Think New Year/New You packages and Summer Ready class bundles where you offer the biggest discounts of the year. )
Another great opportunity: Offer deals on solo training sessions for new students. This is a great way to get to know them, help them feel more confident about how your classes work, and get them excited about booking more group fitness classes down the line.
When setting up bundle offers or class packages, keep expiration dates in mind. If you offer a deal that expires after 30 days, you’ll see more people in your classes sooner. While that doesn’t directly affect your bottom line (you’ve made the sale no matter what), it does do something highly beneficial: Other class attendees will notice that you’re always busy, busy, busy, which implies your classes work… which will make them want to come back again, too.
2. Make Sure You Have Text or Email Reminders Enabled
It sounds so simple, but the devil is in the details. You should set up custom reminders for anyone who registers for your classes, so they don’t forget they’re due to see you.
But more than that: You should think strategically about when you remind them. At Schedulicity, we allow you to customize when your auto-reminders go out (48 hours before, 24, 12…), which means fewer no-shows and last-minute cancellations.
3. Set Up Custom No-Show Policies and Charges
Make it (politely) unappealing for clients to skip class. If you’re noticing a lot of no-shows in your classes, it’s likely because the penalty fee isn’t enough to dissuade people from not showing up.
Are you only charging a $5 no-show fee? Consider bumping it up to $10. If you use Schedulicity, you can use our customizable policies to set no-show requirements and resulting charges.
Always keep an eye on your class schedule and how people ebb and flow, as well. Could you combine a couple of mid-morning classes? Is your Sweat yoga class always sold out but your Kundalini only brings in a couple of people? How could you tweak and improve your offerings to make them even more appealing to your clients?
4. Clients Love a Challenge, So Plan Competitions
Fitness diehards love a special discount or class giveaway. They’re already hooked and looking for any excuse to come more often. So, what if you offered a special competition? Whoever attends the most classes in a month or hits 20 classes first wins $100 off an unlimited membership next month. You can even double-down on it by offering everyone who hits more than 20 classes in a month a 20% discount.
All it takes is a laminator and a hole punch to give clients their own special punch card or a chalkboard to mark Xes next to people’s names.
Another great option: Offer a buy-one-get-one style discount on unlimited monthly passes or class packages when someone refers a friend. We all know we’re more incentivized to go to class when a friend is going with us, so why not use that to your advantage?
5. Stay on Top of Your Reviews
Reviews are everything. Remember to set custom follow-ups after clients attend your classes to ask them for feedback. Even if you get a bad review, it’s better to face the situation and fix it than to have people just not come back.
And if you have regulars who gush at the end of class, ask them outright to write you a review. It may not have occurred to them how important it is, but hearing that you rely on reviews to fill your classes will motivate them. They love you and want you to succeed.
6. Consider Your Unique Offer and Brand
One of the best ways to make sure your studio classes are full every time is to think about what you offer that no one else does. Yes, there may be plenty of Pilates studios or Kundalini yoga classes in your city. But what is it about your approach to fitness and your studio vibe that sets you apart? Branding is everything.
Some great examples of this:
- SLT (Strengthen Lengthen and Tone), a fitness class that’s gained a cult following in New York City and elsewhere. Classes fill up weeks in advance, influencers post live Instagram stories from their machines, and Classpass obsessees willingly drop upwards of 20 points per session. (For perspective, the standard Classpass membership gives you 45 points per month.)
- Core Power Yoga: It’s practically a household name (and definitely a fitness community name!) because of how unique the brand feels
- Orange Theory: Again, instantly recognizable for both how unique its class format is and how inclusive the vibe is
- One Down Dog: An LA-based, non-traditional yoga chain that’s about cool music and chill vibes.
- Pony Sweat: This class has write-ups in the likes of Nylon and Fast Company because of founder Emilia Richeson’s dedication to body positivity and gender inclusivity. (You can book a class on Schedulicity— if it’s not full —right here)
7. Make Your Studio Feel Like the Textbook Definition of Self-Care
Studios can often start to feel identical and sometimes in some truly unfortunate cases, even sterile. How much time and effort have you put into the aesthetics of your actual space? What can you offer clients (within your budget, of course!) that makes each class they take with you feel bespoke?
Studios instantly feel higher-end when they offer complimentary towels, cute hair ties, and filtered water. Same goes if they sell coconut water or local kombucha at the check-in desk.
You can even get more creative and subtle to create a luxe vibe. From personal experience, my favorite Pilates studio in Los Angeles offers a table full of bougie organic dry shampoos and spray deodorants in the locker room — plus there’s a Byredo candle always burning in the bathroom.
Am I falling for appearances and, well, good smells? Yes, absolutely. But then again, isn’t a fitness class part of the art of self-care and escaping into a better place for an hour or two?