When I moved to London last year, I was worried about missing the classes at Equinox. I used to goto my gym 5-6 times a week. Not knowing which area I be based in, I had a phone interview for a part-time reception job in the London EQ club, but was told I was overqualified and they were worried I would leave within a week.
As a digital professional, I’m always interested in checking out digital solutions. One of my favorite spin teachers had a day job at a company ClassPass acquired, in the U.S., so I heard about them long before I joined.
The rules are simple: a monthly membership allows subscribers to attend 3 classes in a billing cycle at anyone of the gyms within the app. If you goto the gym 4 times a week, that means you will have to find at least 6 different gyms. Committing to one gym, without trying the classes can also be a bit of a gamble, as some gyms I have found to be great at HIIT (high intensity interval training), but terrible at spin classes, therefore I would only use my three monthly allotments for the HIIT classes and know, that if I got a club membership, that was the only class I would actually take, thus making ClassPass more valuable. Those gyms in return are given subscribers’ email addresses to contact them about promotions.
Being new to living in London, ClassPass helped me not only stay fit and stop me from face-planting on cement:
(*yes, that happened, I had too much on my mind while running and came within an inch of hitting my head on a brick wall. Did you know that moving is listed as one of the top stresses in life? I was very stressed when I got here due to a number of factors, not the least of which, were all the “rules” Londoners provided of how to behave and what to wear and how to conform to their standards. When I fell I was wondering if I had made a huge mistake moving to London, a place I dreamed of living since I was 12. There have been many dream moments for the record, and I was extremely happy, at the same time with a little healthy fear.)
ClassPass also helped me to get familiar with different areas of London. However, there was a lot of misinformation of addresses, available facilities (a handicap staff toilet does not mean there is a shower available-putting an end to meeting a friend following the class following a particular grueling spin class- and then having to get on the tube an hour home-sorry straphangers!), and odd gyms (in the basement of a nightclub, a meeting room in a banquet hall, etc.) You can write reviews of classes and gyms, but they are not displayed. I don’t know what ClassPass is doing with that information, most likely the back-end isn’t there to support reviews or they are worried a bad review could mean they lose a gym from the service.
In March, two of my favorite clubs sent out emails stating they were meeting with ClassPass executives because they were unable to stay in the service with discounted pricing. I was surprised how open the gym owners were, to the point where they sent out emails “we’re going to meet with them at 2pm, we’ll let you know what happens.” Both gyms did resolve their pricing with ClassPass. It made me wonder when ClassPass would pass that pricing difference along to members.
Two days ago I received the answer, along with the rest of London’s members. The monthly subscription was going from £79 to £110. That’s right, up £31 in one jump.
Start-ups can go from hot to not and lose support in a blink. And so, being a digital person, I understand that underestimating costs and trying not to lose your top-tier partners is essential to growing your business, but for passing all of that extra expense to the consumer, the dude sums it up the best:
Ah, ClassPass, you helped keep my body healthy and experiment with barre classes, pure air chambers, and even electronic stim vests (*totally amazing) but raising the price by 38% is a bad business move when there are other gym class memberships available like GymBox.
I’m going to use up my remaining month of membership with all the great gyms I love including Core Collective, 1 Rebel, PHIIT, Transition Zone, Bootcamp Pilates, Project Fit and Exceo Training. Then, add another change to my list and say: