Even as fitness businesses continue to open their studio doors, it feels like the pandemic has permanently pivoted the way we work out (or at least it feels like that at the moment). Between in-person classes sizes getting smaller again and livestream here to stay, hybrid has become the hottest, top-of-mind topic for both studio owners and consumers alike as we navigate an ever-evolving wellness landscape.
Successfully leveraging, managing, and maintaining a hybrid approach not only gives your clients confidence they have options—and gives you an A+ in the buzzword category—it’s an opportunity to boost your business fundamentally. By rethinking and redefining your class types, you can tap into new revenue streams, re-engage new leads and old clients, and market to a demographic that demands flexibility.
Since a lot of studios are taking a better look at their hybrid capabilities (and we built it straight into our software), here are a few tips on how you can ace the in-studio meets livestream class game and what can work best.
Get a pulse on what your clients want.
Just as the fitness industry has changed over the last two years, so have “traditional” schedules. With more people working remotely, that once always full 5 pm Vinyasa Flow might not be as popular. Who knows? 7 am Aerial 101 might be your sweet spot. Before adding a new class to your schedule with virtual options, try asking your clients what time of day they prefer for a new workout option. It’s the perfect opportunity to engage and re-engage clients and empower them to have a say at your studio. Plus, it doesn’t have to be complicated—try an Instagram poll, SurveyMonkey email, or ask them when they are checking in for their next class.
Price classes accurately and build plans with options.
Not all memberships and class types are created and executed equally, and the unlimited class pricing model studios have used over the past decade doesn’t always work anymore. Clients understand the perceived value of livestream versus in-studio—and they trust you to price classes accordingly. By utilizing features like credits in Walla, you can price classes based on worth, so clients have the flexibility (and transparency) to purchase within their budget. Also, building and customizing plans and classes to include livestream on our platform with the click of a button makes it simple for you to sell hybrid—and for clients to buy and book exactly what they want.
Elevate your online class experience and eliminate distractions.
Just like when you ask your instructors to have a clean, clear, and calming backdrop when they teach virtually from home, your livestream clients should expect the same quality when logging into class online. Being able to see and hear the in-studio instructor (and clients) without straining (or missing body parts cut off by the screen) can have a tangible impact on retention and a client wanting to feel comfortable and continue with hybrid. Test your cameras, the view, sound, and especially the lighting. (Pro tip: You never want your instructor to be backlit!) Do a few trial runs to ensure you are offering the best online viewing experience.
Engage with in-studio and onscreen clients.
With hybrid, you have two sets of clients: In-studio and onscreen. Connecting with both groups during class can be difficult, but remembering to say hello and check in during your workout or flow can have a huge positive impact on all class attendees, wherever they are. Plus, the camera/computer with all the Zoom squares can quickly become a focal point, so be sure to make an effort to make eye contact with in-person clients, too. Because let’s be real, who doesn’t love a little bit of attention, love, and virtual high-fives! They made it to class, even if it’s in their living room.
Have a killer playlist that motivates movement.
If you’re like most of us, you love a good workout playlist, especially when Jay-Z drops a beat when you have five pushups left. Music can make or break a class—and with hybrid classes, you want to make sure all participants are in sync whether they choose to mute themselves and jam out or tune into your set playlist. To ensure you have the best virtual music experience in-class and on Zoom, get your playlist going on your preferred music provider (hello, Spotify) and log in to class a few minutes before start time to share your computer or device's sound (also known as your music) via Zoom. Students having trouble hearing your voice? Yea, we know it happens. Try adjusting the volume directly on your music playing service so your voice can be heard online and in class!
Offer options for privacy.
There are various reasons why a client chooses to work out virtually (safety being one of them right now). But just because they choose to log in from home doesn’t necessarily mean they want to be seen on camera all of class (even though working out in a group can boost client motivation—like holding a plank for 24% longer!). Walla’s direct integration with Zoom makes it easy to customize your settings for livestream classes so that you can establish parameters around virtual classes, including the camera. Also, we give you the power to determine numerous livestream preferences within Zoom, including max participants, if clients can join after client start time, automatic mute, and class recording, so you are set up for virtual success.
Keep your studio community connected.
As you balance the in-studio and livestream hybrid class approach, it’s important to prioritize human connection. Now more than ever, your clients crave connection, even if it’s through a screen. A few options to further foster community (and increase client engagement and retention) are to do quick intros before class begins, ask students to set intentions, and say hello to their socially distanced neighbors. At the end of class, take the online participants off mute and let them chat amongst themselves—and share their highlights from the class. Your clients come to your studio for movement and a community—and we all know having a strong community connection and culture only benefits your business!