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TALKBACK everyone’s talking about . . .

studio scheduling A

friend of mine bemoans the fact that, at her gym, the yoga class comes after Spinning. So, the yogis

have to stand around waiting while the bikes are put away and then lay their mats down on a sweaty fl oor, in a studio made cool by air con for a high intensity CV class. Not the most zen start to a yoga session. But is there any way to avoid this?

Should yoga come first, or would the room then be too warm for a vigorous group cycling class? Would this in any case be a bad move commercially – with yoga generally accommodating fewer members than other classes, should

it always be consigned to a later slot? Or might the high loyalty levels among yoga attendees make it worthwhile scheduling this class at peak times? With operators having to balance

the few hours of peak time against the needs of lots of members and lots of classes, this is indeed a dilemma. So is there a ‘one size fi ts all’ solution,

or do the criteria vary from club to club depending on what they are trying to achieve with their scheduling? One might assume that getting maximum visits is the most important thing, but this might not be the case for all operators. With pressure on peak times, should classes be made shorter to achieve


phillip mills les mills international • ceo

increase attendance numbers – the key to success in our industry. The trick is to analyse class popularity via attendance metrics and give your members more of what they want. It’s that basic, but many clubs don’t get it right, often timetabling around instructor availability instead.

“S Our research shows that there are five basic genres people

want when it comes to group exercise: strength and weights, cycling, mind-body, dance and martial arts. A highly effective timetable should offer programming to reflect these needs, in the timeslots consumers most want them. Keep it simple: identify your most popular programmes and

your most popular instructors, and place them both across your peak hours. Less is more – I know from my own clubs that a huge variety of programmes doesn’t grow attendance. Yet I often see timetables around the world with as many as 40 different class types – a nightmare for management and for members wanting a regular schedule of their favourite workouts. Overall, focus on keeping programming simple, results-driven and motivating.

” 30

mart timetabling is one of the fastest and simplest ways to

michelle bletso everyone active • group fitness development manager

statistical information, not on a gut feeling. The criteria we consider when scheduling the timetable are the demographics, target market, club objectives, age and gender of current market, mix of facilities (for example, if there is a crèche) and whether our


sessions complement other classes being run locally. We make sure there is a balance between hard and fast

sessions, strength and toning, and sessions for unwinding. When starting a timetable off, it’s best to ensure a balance and the attendance numbers will dictate what happens from there. At peak times, we run sessions that fit the most people into

one space, so non-equipment classes like Zumba and Body Combat are good. We find it’s best to avoid yoga and pilates at peak time, as numbers are more limited. Short classes – 45 minutes, or even 30 minutes – also mean you can accommodate more people at the peak period. Having your best instructors just before peak time, or just

after, allows you to create more room, as their clients are more likely to be motivated to come later, or finish work earlier.

” Read Health Club Management online at april 2012 © cybertrek 2012

e make timetable decisions based on black-and-white

kath hudson • journalist • health club management

When you have lots of members with different interests and a wide variety of classes on offer, what should be scheduled when, and how do you cram it all in?

greater throughput, or is this self- defeating? Little and often might suit some, but those who fi nd it diffi cult to get to the gym might feel short- changed with less than an hour. Should operators take heed of

instructor preferences about when they want to work, in order to maintain a happy and motivated workforce, or do staff need to fi t in with what works for the club? Should the popular instructors be put in the best slots, or scheduled to boost attendance in the off-peak hours? We ask our panel of experts for

their thoughts on how to approach studio scheduling...

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