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But, how do clients purchase classes? In the most recent (and first ever) Pilates in America study, they discovered that the majority of class participants purchase their classes by the package. With a small percentage purchasing one class at a time. Even fewer buying into unlimited packages. When I first became a Pilates instructor I started out teaching Mat Pilates classes. I rented space in a studio, picked my times and set my own class rates. And then I set a package rate. Why? Because packages keep a client committed! And if a client is committed to coming to class then they reap the benefits of Pilates and then they continue to come package after package. Packages may seem like the way to save money for a client but they are key for client retention in your Pilates studio!
Now, at first glance, you might be like yep! But, what this information doesn’t tell us is how many people have the opportunity to buy unlimited but forgo it to purchase the packages. Or, if people are buying individual because they cannot buy a package.
So, what does all this mean for you Pilates studio owners? What should you be taking away from this bit of info?
- Do you offer packages for your classes? If yes, which packages are the best sellers? Which are the least sellers? I know the norm is to offer a few levels of class packages but if most people are loving your ten pack and almost no one is buying the five or 20 then why even offer them. Save yourself the time of explaining all the package types and just keep the most popular and best for your business. The few options the less confusing it is for a new client determining what to do next. If no, why? Is it a tracking issue, a platform issue or a personal choice? Clients who have packages want to use their sessions. They are less likely to check out the classes down the street if they are already in a committed package with you!
- Are you offering an unlimited option? What I have discovered is that an unlimited class membership while tempting for both the client and the studio there is a good chance if you don’t have the numbers to support it that you may end up paying for people to come to your classes. So, if you are offering this do a double check and make sure it’s worth it. If you are not offering it but have been contemplating keep in mind that this works great IF you have a ton of people that buy into it and many who don’t take the full advantage of coming every day and all day! This membership works great for yoga studios and gyms where they are not limited by the number of reformers in a studio or the number of towers. You may discover that a limited monthly membership is more beneficial to both you and your client.
- How many of your clients use their packages in a timely fashion? You may be thinking, “LL, I’ve so got this. All my peep’s buy packages!” And, I will high five you! That is great news. But, if they are buying a ten pack and only coming once a week but it takes them fifteen to twenty weeks to use that package then that is not good. The key to client retention is that they feel the benefits of coming to your studio regularly. So, are you offering enough options that allow people with big packages to use them in a timely fashion? If you are not because you cannot then maybe slightly smaller packages to keep your income consistent. Or, if you are but they seem to not be able to make it to Pilates consistently how can you incentivize them to come extra when they are going to go out of town or to use their package up by a certain time?
Pricing, packaging and class times are works of art! There is no perfect time, number or amount that I can give you. Everybody’s business is unique to them and their community. But, it’s nice to have some evidence to back up what you can do to support your business and retain your Pilates class clients. For more on filling and marketing your group classes check out my course. Dive into your numbers and make sure they are working for you!
PS for more on client retention check out this course here.
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