Your business is booming, clients keep coming back, and your trainers are happy—but still, you wonder, “What more can we offer?” A growing number of gyms and studios are introducing crossover classes like meditation at a yoga studio or HIIT at dance studios. Diversifying your class offerings is a creative way to add variety and bring in new clients.
STEP 1: IDENTIFY A NEED
Know your audience. If you’re a gym that specializes in warrior kickboxing, then adding barre classes might not make sense. But if you’re a karate studio thinking about adding self-defense, you’re likely onto something. First, talk with your clients. Assess if there is a need or desire for the elements you’re considering bringing into the mix. Make sure you have a robust group of regulars who want to try out the new offering before you dive in. Researching current fitness trends in science, medical and fitness publications can help you gauge public interest for the classes you want to offer.
STEP 2: PILOT THE PROGRAM
Test your new offerings with a small group first. YogaSix—which has nine locations in California and the Midwest, and four more opening in the coming months—recently added a meditation course to their yoga offerings. Laurenn Cutshaw, Vice President of Marketing and Branding, said, “The first thing we did was pick a market to launch in. We chose our San Diego headquarters so that we could easily oversee the teacher training, monitor the class participation and get student feedback. San Diego is also our most mature market. The students are very open; we thought the classes would be well received. The first month we offered the class for free twice a week. We tried to schedule them during accesible times, so people could come before or after work, but also after a yoga class, so students could piggy back it onto their workout if they wanted to. We did not cancel or change the existing class schedule to accommodate the new classes.” The classes did well, and after piloting the program for two months, YogaSix began charging for the class.
Another option is to introduce the element via a hybrid class, mixing 50-percent of your traditional class with 50-percent of the new, thus ensuring your regular students get exposure.
STEP 3: GATHER FEEDBACK
Once you’ve run a number of sessions, it’s time to take a step back and analyze your results. How was attendance? What did or didn’t your students and teachers like about the experience? YogaSix polled its members and, according to Cutshaw, “absolutely tweaked the program based on the feedback we received.” She added, “Our meditation class in the beginning was less guided, as meditation courses typically are. We shifted the class’ description and adjusted the structure to enhance the experience.”
STEP 4: LAUNCH THE CLASS
After you complete your due diligence, it’s time to unleash your new, finalized class to the masses. For gyms with multiple locations, we recommend a broader rollout and to run a pilot program in each location to expose regulars. For disparate locales, you might have to alter what worked previously in another market or neighborhood to appease different tastes from members in the next.