My clients sometimes ask why eSoft Planner, the scheduling software my company produces for sports facilities, doesn’t allow users to set aside time for multiple group lessons as easily as they can set up multiple one-on-one private lessons.
As experienced sports facility owners and managers already know, these group lessons, or “semi-private” lessons with 2-4 paying clients, can be extremely problematic. The most common and predictable problem with this type of service occurs when clients reserve times and dates for these lessons, but only some (or one) of the scheduled clients actually shows up. In this scenario, the clients who show up for the lesson technically owe more money. As the sports facility owner or manager, this puts you in a difficult position: You can insist that the clients pay more than they were expecting, which will likely irritate them, or you can take a financial loss.
Obviously, if all clients pay up front for their group lesson when they reserve it, there won’t be any problems; clients should understand that they won’t be refunded for a lesson if they don’t cancel according to your cancellation policy. This is why eSoft Planner allows bulk scheduling for semi-private group lessons as long as they are paid in full ahead of time.
However, many sports facilities don’t require any payment to reserve a lesson; rather, they expect clients to pay when they arrive, which leaves their business vulnerable to cancellations and no-shows. eSoft Planner was built specifically to eliminate this type of lost revenue, so the reservation of time for group lessons is limited in several ways.
Clients can’t book group/semi-private lessons themselves online through eSoft Planner, as they can for other services; only employees with proper permissions can do it for them. Group/semi-private lessons also can’t be added to packages sold online to clients, because clients expect to use schedule package credits themselves. Finally, employees can only reserve one group/semi-private lesson at a time in eSoft Planner. Reserving too much time for this type of lesson limits your facility revenue, because the time and space could be used for services that are more likely to bring in full revenue.
Even if you don’t use eSoft Planner software, controlling how you schedule these group/semi-private lessons is a good business practice and can save your facility valuable revenue.