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With the advent of multi-studio booking platforms like ClassPass* and Zenrez*, there has definitely been a rise in the popularity of boutique fitness.

I personally have “graduated” from my local gym and now mainly take classes at boutique studios, mainly through the help of ClassPass*.

However, I spent a few months teaching at my favorite Lagree Fitness studio, Core Society Fitness in Emeryville, CA. From this experience, I’ve learned I’ve learned how these multi-studio booking platforms affect the studio, their owners, and perhaps even fitness instructors.


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I understand everyone has schedule constraints, and budget constraints as well. But the point I want to make is…

There is a sense of community within the group fitness world, especially on social media. I bump into the same people who studio hop, and perhaps even fellow ClassPassers who are on a somewhat flexible schedule. (They must work in tech like me. LOL)

I love the community and friends I’ve made by means of social media. But let’s not forget that without the studios, perhaps this network would not exist.

How studios might view multi-studio booking platforms

The beauty about boutique and group fitness is the sense of community it forms. So obviously, studios want to attract good people who with positive vibes who want to stick around for a while.

Even if you can only visit your favorite spots only three times a month, the studio and instructors still want to get to know you, your body, your strengths and weaknesses, and your goals. It’s not going to happen overnight, but you will find your favorite teachers and you will continuously stalk their schedules. (Who else doesn’t leave their phone or computer at 11:59 am to ensure that you book that one spot available via ClassPass for one of your favorite classes next week?)

Also, one thing I’ve noticed is that sometimes, ClassPassers give harsh reviews. Studios work hard at building and maintaining a reputation, so if you leave a not-so-nice review, they wonder if it’s them or if it’s the type of students they attract on the multi-studio platform. Keep in mind that although you are a client at the studio, you are technically still a guest. So if your vibe doesn’t click with theirs (aka if you are NOT good vibes), I do think studios, just like any other business, have the right to refuse you.


Ways to be part of the community

Most boutique studios work hard to build a strong community. So I challenge you, fellow ClassPassers, to always make the effort to be part of the communities at your favorite studios. How?

Get to know the staff

Whether it be the person working the front desk, the instructor, or even someone in maintenance, don’t be a stranger. If you see them often enough, perhaps introduce yourself so you can get their name. Also this benefits you. Sometimes, studios might just allow you to change your class or let you roll into an earlier time slot simply because they know you are a loyal customer and they love your good vibe. (Note that most of the time, this is not the case, but studios might be willing to make exceptions for you on occasion, especially if they know you well.

Balance favorite instructors with new instructors

I certainly have my favorite teachers at every studio. If they are super popular, I stalk their schedule a week ahead of time in hopes of landing a spot in their class. (The anxiety at 11:59am is real, folks!)

The beauty of booking classes via a multi-studio booking platform is that although you might be able to book a class with your faves, there’s always the opportunity to try an instructor you have yet to try, all at a relatively lower price point than perhaps purchasing a one-off class at the drop in rate.

I do try to mix things up when my schedule allows. It’s always nice to change things up to trick your body. And when I try out a new instructor, I’ve been fortunate to find a few who have quickly become my favorite, which makes me want to buy a package at the studio!

Get on their mailing list for deals

No one likes junk mail, but everyone loves a good deal. If you really love a studio, or what to compare prices during promotional periods such as the holidays, I encourage you to opt into your favorite studio’s email subscriptions. If you want to filter those out like I do, Gmail can do that for you (directions here), or you can use Unroll.me as a way to group and organize your inbox. It’s great! I just need to use it more religiously.

Check out their MindBodyOnline site or the MBO app for deals

On occasion, studios will have special promotions. Some of these last for only a few days so it’s good to stay in the loop. I notice that the best promotions come around the holidays, just in time for the new year.

You can find these promotions either on MindBodyOnline (MBO), or whatever reservation system they use. Studios that allow you to reserve a specific spot probably use ZingFit. Smaller studios might just take drop-ins.

One cool thing about the MBO app is that there offer “Deals Near Me”, which looks like a lot of new student packages.

App Tip: The best thing about this app is that you can toggle between studios without logging in and out. If you want to view multiple studio schedules on MBO, you have to log in and out. You can’t be logged into more than one studio MBO site at a time.

Get social with them on social media

Sharing your positive experience at the studio is probably one of the fastest ways you can let them know you want to be part of their community. Keep in mind that most studios aren’t in the industry to get instafamous. Studios have to run a business and social media might not be a priority, which is by no means a factor in determining how good or bad the studio is. Positive social media just helps with customer acquisition, member retention, and studio reputation.

Social media of any type might be daunting to learn. (I still have yet to master all lines of social media.)

Just know that coming up with good content is hard for some. So in the event that the studio loves your post, they might very well just regram you (with hopefully the appropriate photo credit back to you)!

And you want to know a secret? They look forward to every time you visit in hopes that you might take a quick snapshot or two and share your experience with the world. Oh, and don’t worry about asking them to take a photo for you. So long as a staff member isn’t busy, they will gladly take a photo for you.


Conclusion

From a studio’s point of view, mutli-studio booking platforms are a great way to attract new clients. However, converting them to members or into purchasing a package isn’t always guarantee, which is why some studio owners view something like ClassPass as a necessary evil since it’s a feeder system for potential clientele.

From a client or member point of view, multi-studio booking platforms allow me to hop around different studios at much more affordable prices. Granted, these classes that are available on the multi-studio booking platform might not necessarily be the best time slots. I myself max out my three visits per cycle for my favorite studios. However, I also purchase packages on an as-needed basis, provided that my schedule and commute allow me to frequent the studio (within the expiration date of the package, if any).

In fact, it’s probably what triggered me to start my blog. (I wanted to be a ClassPass Ambassador, and I actually had it for a hot second, but due to a conflicting affiliation, I was asked to reapply the next round. So I worked on my social media and started this blog, only to find out that as of recently, the ambassador program no longer exists. Oh well. Does that mean I should stop my endeavors here? Nope. If anything, it might expand my platform to other things I love like interior design and moments of pretty.)

In good health,

Bern

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