You sit on your mat in front of your studio waiting for the students to start trickling in. It is nearly 6 PM and you have everything from the props to the music set up for what should be an intense but hugely satisfying lesson for your students. But then the minutes start ticking by, 6 pm comes around and no one walks in, maybe they are caught up in traffic, 6:10…. 6:20…. 6:30. No students come in.
Yoga no shows can be quite a humbling and upsetting experience that can lead to moments of self-reflection and even tears, especially for new yogis. It has happened to the best of Yogis and is likely to happen to many more teachers. However, you could sit on your mat trying to find reasons why your students are a no-show or be proactive to ensure it does not happen again. This guide offers you six tips to reduce or make insignificant the number of students, who are a no-show for your yoga classes. Let’s get to it.
Offer a Deal
Every teacher has those days or hours when attendance typically falls. If you have a no-show class you could offer a lower price for that class next time you offer it by offering some kind of happy hour on studio drinks and food, and even provide discounts for students who attend. If you find out that the no-shows happen on a particular day say weekends, you could shoot your students details of the deal on text or email on A Friday, offering something like 20% off for any student who books a class within 24 hours.
Leverage Social Media
Many yogis think social media is only for posting about special events, cancellations of classes and class times. However, social media can be a very useful tool in boosting class attendance and reducing no-shows. If you a little bit innovative you can use social media and video to portray the class in a different light so that students who did not show up get excited about it. Some strategies that I have found very effective are taking videos of the new asanas and how they help the student and then posting photos of happy students immediately after a session. Try to keep the updates as short as possible just to give the no-show students a preview so that they want to learn more and so they attend the next class.
It is a hard thing to swallow for any yoga teacher but sometimes you are the reason for the no-shows. Students always love a personable and accessible teacher who understands them and their needs. The best way I have found to do this is by getting to class early and introducing yourself to students and getting to know them. You could also stay behind after the class to answer the questions that your students especially the new ones have about the session and Yoga in general. Making the new students feel comfortable is particularly important as it will keep your pipeline full and potentially earn new clients through word of mouth.
Offer Prepaid Memberships
People value their money and are more likely to attend the class if they are locked into a contract. I have found this to be one of the most effective ways of reducing or completely eliminating no-shows, particularly when combined with flexible class packs. Always have your students sign a prepaid membership that locks them into a contract for a given time. Have a no-show and cancellation policy that charges the members for not showing up or canceling their sessions, alongside a no makeup class policy. The flexible pack could involve locking students into weekly, monthly, or yearly contracts with the no-show and cancellation charges on a reducing scale depending on the duration of the contract. For instance, you could charge $10 for each late cancellation and no shows on the monthly pack, and $5 on the yearly pack. This strategy not only reduces no-shows but is also beneficial to the students who get to enjoy the yoga lessons without worrying about payments for the duration of the contract.
Use Automated Reminders
Some students do not mean to be no-shows on purpose. Some will simply forget that they need to be in class on this or that day of the week or they may have double booked themselves. Using automated reminders is a courteous and quick way to remind students of their Yoga class. When you sign up students ask them which method of contact they are comfortable with whether it be an email reminder, text message, or phone call. You can also use your electronic communication to send a Missed Session with something like “Sorry We Missed You” text.
You do not know why the students failed to show up and hence you have to follow up instead of coming up with your own conclusions. Call them up immediately after the missed class and ask why they did not show up. If they do not pick up leave a voice message.
Some of the reasons clients may be no show include:
1. The lessons are too hard for them to do or they are not challenging enough.
2. Some may have personal emergencies or the time of the class is just not working for them
3. They may find the teacher not personable or accessible enough
Nonetheless, some students are just not a good fit for the class and if you determine that, it is always better to inform them that the arrangement will not work and let them go.