Group X: Using Online Software to Manage Group Fitness Schedules
Are your classes getting too full? Having trouble keeping track of how many people are attending classes? Need a better way than having members inundate your front desk staff by calling to reserve a spot? Well, this is the situation I was in just a month ago. As a group fitness director, you look for anything to help you keep track, monitor and streamline your operation. Recently, I was introduced to two types of online software solutions that will do just that.
The first is Mind Body (www.mindbodyonline.com) and the second is ABC Financial (www.abcfinancial.com). There are others out there, but these two are arguably the most popular. These services can do everything from A to Z for your business, but for our purposes, we will just focus on their group fitness aspect. Both of these options have excellent customer service that can train anyone authorized to use the system. The software is also extremely flexible and offers a plethora of options. You can customize the program to meet the needs of your club.
We wanted to modernize our entire approach to the program offering. For years, we had members call the front to register for class. This meant that the front desk staff had to maintain class sign-up lists. In addition, the instructors were required to pick up the lists and do a roll call prior to class beginning. As a result, we tied up the front desk staff and we were using class time for roll call. The process seemed simple but as you might imagine, there were problems. One of the problems that arose from this manual system was that the class lists were mismanaged — everything from members not being added to the list, to missing class lists and misspelled and incomplete names. As a result, there were many instances where members and the front desk staff were at odds.
By moving to online software, our entire schedule is online for all (enrolled) members to see. Select classes are enroll-abled, providing a means for managing class lists with accurate names. We have removed the middleman from the process (freeing up the front desk staff) and given the members more flexibility. We are launching the new system the week of June 24th. Stay tuned for the results!
Joseph Duffy has been in the fitness industry since 1990. He has taught group fitness classes at multiple clubs, and currently is the director of group fitness at Boom Fitness. Duffy has his own consulting business that assists owners with building group fitness programs from the ground up, as well as providing scheduling and staffing input. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.