Should Class No-Shows be Punished?

16 April 2018 openplay Leave a comment Analytics, Operations

No-shows (people skiving fitness classes) are a real problem for gyms and sports clubs. A full class plus waitlist is often an optimistic mirage that results in a class half empty. Members who tried and failed to make the cut walk past a deserted studio and are outraged that they were turned away. Complaints flood reception- something must be done! Punishments are in place in many clubs. They may be monetary or ban no-shows from future classes. Are they effective? And more importantly is it right to punish grown adults for truancy?

The Pros…

  • A fuller class.
  • Member engagement.
  • Classes appear popular and more enticing.
  • Some members enjoy the motivational aspect of avoiding punishment.

The Cons…

  • The cons (there are a lot) are the process itself. It is long-winded and requires a team effort for even semi-efficient execution.

The Sign-up Race

Whether booking opens 24 hours or seven days in advance, some classes will fill up instantly, so members need to have their finger on the button. This method makes signing up to a beginner’s pilates class feel like you’re booking tickets to Glastonbury. Anyone who doesn’t set their alarm and sit by their computer may miss out on a slot.

The Cancellation Window

Most clubs allow students to cancel in advance of their class. This can be up to four hours before or, in more extreme cases, a full day ahead. Four hours, although easier on the deserter, may not be enough time for waitlisters to accept a spot and for newbies to sign up.

The Punishment itself

Some chains charge £4 for a late cancellation, which is enough to make someone hesitate before backing out. Some studios take this a notch further, with penalties hovering between the 10 to 15 pound mark, plus (if applicable) the price of the class itself. These are extortionate prices and seem too extreme for member clubs. Another option many gyms take, is the “No Show, No Go”. If students miss a series of classes they will be banned from booking for a period of time. These can be effective in some cases but has little to no effect on those who skip classes sporadically.

The Register Malarkey

Now that you have vowed to punish all who sin, you must actually take note of no-shows. The majority of gym chains print out a register, which is a hassle for both reception staff and instructors. In order to use the most up-to-date list, receptionists must print off registers no more than 30 minutes before class starts. Yet, this still doesn’t account for last minute drop-outs and it is a nightmare for instructors teaching back-to-back lessons who will be running up and down to reception like a yo-yo.

The Solution

Going digital eliminates all printing, and keeps everything current and instant. An ipad in the studio would allow even late members to quickly sign in without disturbing the class. An alternative would be to keep control within the instructor’s hands. Registers are available within their app, from which they call out names and sign people in.

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