Monday, July 26, 2010

New Pricing Structure for Fitness Classes -- Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad

We've been offering exercise classes as part of our wellness program since the beginning of 2008. We typically have three classes per day -- 7:30 a.m., 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. Staff members have been signing up for 8 week sessions and paying $5.00 per class. The $5.00 covers a significant portion of the cost of offering the classes and it helps to make people feel committed to attending. Twenty-five percent of our staff have been taking at least one exercise class per week. Ten staff members take three or more classes per week.

We recently sat down and brain stormed various pricing models with goals to (1) encouarge people to make a long term commitment to exercising, (2) make our classes more affordable, and (3) increase enrollment. We also thought it would be nice to ease the administrative burden if we could do so without compromising any of our other stated goals.

We decided to try a 12 week session instead of the 8 week session we had been offering. This flier describes what we came up with.
This new 12 week session starts today, July 26, and runs through October 10th. Our enrollment actually decreased by three people (5%) which is disappointing. We lost our step instructor for the month of August and a couple of these folks are waiting for the next session of our step class to start in September. In the meantime, we plan to offer a kettlebell class for the month of August. Hopefully that will attract a few more people. Sign-ups for that start tomorrow.

The average number of classes taken increased from 1.8 to 2.02 -- 12%, so we met this goal. The feedback from people on the new pricing structure has been positive with only one exception, so I think we also succeeded in making the classes more affordable. So, we met two of our three goals. Enrolling people for 12 weeks and eliminating credits for the first canceled class definitely eases the administrative, so we accomplished that too. 

We are always listening to the feedback we get from the staff and making adjustments, so we'll see how this goes and decide how to proceed for our next session in October. If you have any suggestions, please share them.


Paul Hebert said...

Couple of other thoughts to help...

Ask about registration well into the future... ie: Enroll today - start in 3 months - people make much different decisions when time is involved (called temporal discounting)

Charge people for not attending - this has actually worked well for some fitness operations (fear of loss versus gain is more motivational)

Pay a "dividend" for attending - ie: return some money as they attend - do it each time to reinforce their attendance (operant conditioning)

Publish attendance rates (if they are good) this communicates to those that don't attend that they are in the minority - no one likes to be in the minority (consensus and social proof)

Have them sign a "commitment" form - the mere act of committing will influence future attendance. Remind them regularly ( in a nice way ) about their commitment. (commitment and consistency principle of persuasion.)

jmcnichol said...

Our new kettlebell class is getting a lot of interest. Our overall enrollment is now up to 64 (three more staff members than last session) and the average number of classes is up to 2.0 from 1.8.

@Incentive Intelligence Thank you for your comments. We're contemplating taking attendance during our classes so that we could try some of your suggestions. We successfully used commitment forms with our Biggest Loser Campaign. I think you're right that they postively influence behavior.