If you’re looking to change things up at your studio this year, consider the benefits of incorporating workshops or themed classes into your regular programming. A workshop with a well-known teacher in the industry or a class that builds on a unique skill set or fitness trend can not only draw in new clients but can also solidify the community of regulars at your studio who will appreciate the opportunity to grow in their practice.

We explored some of the key reasons that make workshops and themed classes a valuable investment for studios by talking with Stephanie Richen, owner at Pure Barre Portland – Lloyd District, and Rhia Robinson, owner at the Yoga Collective in Houston, to get their insights.

1. They Attract New Clients

Workshops and classes based around a theme can be a great way to attract new clients while allowing you and your team to explore and share your own interests and areas of expertise.

Robinson explained that at the Yoga Collective just about any teacher can do workshops focused on a part of the body like the hips or a particular type of asana like backbends, so she sees more value in finding a unique topic that her teachers are passionate about like Ayurveda, Yoga Sutra philosophy, or the subtle body. If all of the typical classes are focused around asana or postures, this may leave out a large group of potential clients who may be drawn in by a workshop on the chakra system or techniques for meditation.

When coming up with ideas for workshop themes, Robinson will ask her teachers what they have been studying or subjects in which they have in-depth knowledge because that makes for a more engaging workshop. In addition to attracting new clients, these workshops can set them apart as a center of learning and knowledge in the yoga community of Houston.

2. You Stay On Top of Fitness Trends 

Having themed classes and workshops on the schedule can also allow your studio to stay on top of fitness trends without scaring away your core client-base that may be attached to the mainstay class offerings—that is why they keep coming back after all!

If you know that clients like the usual class programming, you should absolutely keep it, but sometimes as a teacher, that can feel a bit restrictive. Themed classes or workshops allow you and your staff to show that you are paying attention to the latest fitness trends, while still catering to the needs of your core client-base and introducing them to new concepts.

Richen at Pure Barre shared that their specialty classes are, “a part of continuing to innovate and being ahead of the fitness game…An ever constant changing is what a strong brand does to stay ahead of it’s competitors while keeping it fresh for clients.”

“An ever constant changing is what a strong brand does to stay ahead of it’s competitors while keeping it fresh for clients.”

To find inspiration for themed classes at your studio, interact with your clients and find out what kind of music they’re listening to, what pop culture trends they are interested in, or even what current events are important to them. By staying relevant to what your clients know and like, you’re that much more likely to develop long-term relationships with your clients and keep them coming back to your studio.

3. They Add Another Stream of Revenue

At many studios and gyms, memberships and private sessions are your bread and butter, but workshops and themed classes can provide another steady source of revenue. Consider the fact that many clients are willing to pay the same amount (or more) for a four-hour workshop as they will for their monthly membership and do the math!
Robinson finds that their workshops account for 15% of revenue at the Yoga Collective. She considers these workshops to offer a valuable return on investment, especially when her staff or local teachers run the workshops as this limits expenses related to hosting a teacher from out of town.

4. They Foster a Sense of Community

Workshops and themed classes can also offer value by acting as tools for community building among clients and teachers who can grow together and bond over their interest in a particular aspect of their fitness.

At Pure Barre, Richen explained that, “Specialty classes and workshops are a lot of fun. It’s a great way to foster community and get people talking about what you offer and why people should try it. We always spice it up by adding snacks, champagne/wine or even a friendly competition in the studio.”

Investing a little extra upfront for a workshop or themed class can go a long way towards really solidifying bonds among clients and teachers. Those are the bonds that keep clients coming back and will also make it more likely for them to encourage their friends to join. Never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth marketing, which is a natural byproduct of a successful and fun workshop or class!

5. They Help Clients Grow and Deepen Their Practice

One of the most important ways that workshops and themed classes add value is that they help clients to grow and deepen their practice by learning more about a certain subject or by focusing on a particular aspect of the exercise that may be challenging or intriguing to them.

While workshops at the Yoga Collective do offer a stream of revenue, Robinson emphasized that, “The main purpose of these workshops is to offer opportunities for our students to deepen their practice and understanding of a topic or area of study that often is not possible in an average class.”

The amount of progress that can be made in a workshop that revolves around one topic over the course of a weekend or even several weeks versus the hour or so of one class cannot be overstated. The setting of a workshop or a themed class opens the lines of communication between students and the teacher in a special way that allows both to evolve and connect more intimately with their practices and each other, and that is truly invaluable.