I own a small (400 member) 24 hour health club and we have charged for classes since the day we opened 5 years ago. In celebration of 5 years we are considering switching to free classes. Our reasoning is to increase the number of paying members, increase the size of our classes (currrently we have about 4-6 averaging in every class) and broaden our market base. Our current class goers love the classes and feel they are a great value, but we are competing with the free classes at our local Y and the fee based boutique classes at the smaller gyms in town. Doing so will result in a 15k per year drop in revenue for us which is super scary! (That 15k could be recovered by signing up 26 new full price members.) Has anyone ever had experience with this? Are we crazy? Any advice on how to implement this successfully?
Thanks so much for your feedback everyone. Many of the questions raised here were actually great reasons for why we should change our business model to create free classes. After many replies to a survey and speaking with staff we are unveiling the new price platform next week. I am super stoked about it and feel like this is the right direction. Every business is unique and we had to listen to our guts and our members to make this decision. Thanks a ton for all of your feedback, it has been great to see the questions raised by my peers I will update in a few months to see how things go!