Six Ways to Make Your Pilates Program More Profitable
Pilates continues to top industry growth charts, and program directors, like myself, have experienced first hand the success of complimentary Pilates mat programs. However, fee-based Pilates programs continue to be an area of growth in many health and fitness clubs. Greenwood Athletic and Tennis Club experienced a banner year in 2012, producing $600,000 in gross revenue from Pilates. Our Pilates program was designed around six ideas that explain why our studios are riding a powerful wave of popularity.
Private and Semi-Private Sessions
Our Pilates department offers private sessions to both members and guests. The Pilates department charges the same rate for sessions as personal training, and we never discount packages — with a slightly higher fee for guests. While we offer an intro package for those new to Pilates — three sessions at 20 percent off — believing in the value of what we have to offer is essential.
Our private rate ranges from $65-$90, depending on the level of the instructor. Our budget for marketing is slim. Rather, our instructors grow business via word of mouth and member/guest referrals. To help lessen the Pilates intimidation barrier, each new member receives a complimentary private session.
We have created niche workshops tailored to meet our members’ needs. We address specific issues our members are dealing with. For example, we offer a Back Fitness Pilates workshop that runs four weeks in a row, which focuses on remedying back pain with Pilates. We don’t deviate from basic Pilates teaching and principles in these workshops. Rather, we tweak the delivery of the method to capture the interest of our members.
We currently run 17 equipment-based classes per week using multiple tools, such as Reformers, chairs and towers. We cap our participation at six students, which controls the instructor-to-student ratio. Our members return for the personalization and because they have found classes a great way to stretch their dollar (one class is one-third the cost of a private session).
They also enjoy that we have a studio dedicated to just Reformer teaching. This way, we can have a class in session in one room and multiple private sessions going on in the other, without interfering with client concentration. While we don’t offer package pricing, we do offer a small break in price for those that register early, with online booking as an option. Early bird pricing is $25 per class.
As the director of the program, I am also a teacher trainer for Peak Pilates. Thus, Greenwood is a host for Pilates certification courses as well as other continuing education courses (CECs). On-campus training makes it easy for instructors to continue to improve as teachers. Teacher training is also a great way to make use of our space during the weekend hours, and exposes us to great talent when there is a need to hire.
Greenwood’s dynamic instructors are all comprehensively certified, well trained in service and have years of teaching experience. Although our studio is rooted in the classical tradition, our instructors have developed their own personal style. In a safe environment, they know how to challenge and progress our members who are expecting measurable results.
Our Pilates “family” consists of professionals that focus on members first and excel as teachers because they are lifelong students of Pilates. Team development and collaboration is emphasized, because if the team succeeds, we all succeed. In addition, we have a dedicated team manager (myself) to oversee the entire business. Many clubs use other positions to oversee their Pilates department. This usually results in a lack-luster program missing passion, drive and interest.
Our Pilates space is far from an afterthought. With our incredible location, we don’t keep Pilates a secret. Our studio first opened in 1998 and we are on our third remodel! In 2011, Greenwood expanded its campus, adding 2,961-square-feet of dedicated, well lit, and clean Pilates space (two studios) at an estimated cost of $875,627. Our owners believe in creating space to generate revenue with enough equipment to accommodate the demand. Due to the investments, the best and most qualified instructors want to teach at Greenwood. The Greenwood atmosphere is fun, uplifting and welcoming for all participants. We aim to create a sense of community.
By Sara Talbert, the director of Pilates for Greenwood Athletic and Tennis Club.