With an increasing number of options for fitness enthusiasts who want to get their sweat on, studio owners are doing everything they can to get their facilities in front of new eyes and bring new bodies in the door. One common tool? ClassPass. So should you list your service on ClassPass?
What is ClassPass?
ClassPass is an online platform where people can locate a variety of fitness studios in their cities. They can then sign up directly through the platform. Participants select one of ClassPass’s monthly membership options. Memberships begin at $49 per month, and then use credits to try classes at ClassPass partner facilities.
Unlike marketing services such as Google Adwords, where payment for advertising is required upfront, there is no fee to join ClassPass. According to classpass.com, the app boasts 2 million users per month. That’s a lot of exposure! ClassPass essentially acts as a marketing platform, which can be a big help for smaller studios that don’t have a large marketing budget.
There are no initial fees and no binding contracts. Because of this, many facility owners believe ClassPass is a great way to let potential clients try before they buy. A participant comes in through ClassPass, and once they’re wowed by the experience they decide to trade their ClassPass membership for a full studio membership. Or do they?
Running a semi-private personal training sessions for six women at a time, I had one time slot I could never get beyond four participants. I decided to list one spot on ClassPass in the hopes of gaining more exposure. Also, to convert ClassPass members into regular attendees. Most of the options within my neighbourhood are larger group fitness classes, I was hoping my session would stand out. I was also offered a payout on the higher end of the spectrum, coming in at just below 50% of my regular session rate.
So is It Worth It?
Read on for the pros and cons of listing your services on ClassPass.
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Pros of Listing Your Services on ClassPass
Exposure for Your Fitness Business
As mentioned above, ClassPass can expose your studio or service to people who may not have otherwise found you. In big cities such as Vancouver, where I live and work, getting on the first results page of Google for “small group personal training” takes some extensive SEO know-how and a solid strategy behind your Google My Business account, something many busy fitness entrepreneurs don’t have the time or knowledge to do. The prospect of greater exposure may be all you need to entice you to list one or two spots from your classes on the platform.
Flexibility in Class Availability
One bonus of ClassPass is that facility owners get to choose how many spots within a particular class are opened to ClassPass users. If you’re running a group fitness class that consistently has five open spots, try opening a couple to ClassPass. Your operating costs won’t change. Some fitness professionals believe getting half of the drop-in rate is better than leaving the spot completely empty.
Affordable, Low Effort Marketing
Some trainers also view the smaller drop-in rate with ClassPass as a marketing expense. They believe that the experience they deliver is so strong that there’s a greater chance for a return on the investment. This could be by converting the ClassPass member into a studio member. Or this could be by them recommending the studio to their non-ClassPass friends. To ensure students are not taking advantage of a studio by using all of their credits at one location, ClassPass increases the number of credits required for a particular class after a student has attended multiple classes within the same facility.
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Cons of Listing Your Services on ClassPass
Pressure on Pricing
ClassPass charges their members a monthly fee, and then pays studios per class, after deducting their operations fee. Facility owners can typically expect to receive 30-50% of their regular rate. I’ve spoken with many studio owners who share my concerns about charging their regular community members more than the one-and-done participants. Some owners also feel financial pressure to raise their in-studio rates. This is to make up for the loss of revenue from ClassPass participants.
Threatens Your Fitness Community
It can hard to build a solid community in your fitness studio when you are consistently having participants come in once or twice, never to be seen again. This becomes even more challenging when a few ClassPass friends come in together, stay in their group, and then move onto the next studio. The transient nature of ClassPass participants was dampening my community vibe.
Unbalanced Skill Levels
In addition to impacting the studio vibe, the transience of the students meant there were always new students who were unfamiliar with the class. In my class sessions, we tend to work on complex movements over time. This meant I was spending more time teaching our one-time ClassPass members the basics. I was taking time away from my regular participants who were committed and paying more to be there.
After a couple of months, I decided to pull my semi-private training sessions off of ClassPass. I was correct in my belief that my service would stand out from others in the area. I started filling the one spot I made available right away. However, while I always received great feedback from new participants, both after class and in my follow-up email, the general consensus was that clients enjoyed the flexibility and variety offered through ClassPass, and didn’t want to give that up.
Ultimately, it’s your decision whether ClassPass is the right fit for your fitness service. If you run larger classes and consistently have a few spots empty, it might be worth a shot! On the other hand, if your classes are consistently full, or nearly-full, it’s not in your best interest to list on ClassPass.
While trends in the fitness industry come and go, ClassPass is definitely shifting the way boutique studios market themselves and entice potential prospects to join. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to build a profitable business with a strong community without ClassPass. If you’re considering ClassPass because you’re feeling the pressure to fill classes, you may want to consider other avenues first. There are lots of different ways to get creative with your marketing and conversion processes.