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Build a Better Business: How do you prepare your studio for the holiday slowdown?

Corinne Harle - Core Connection Pilates Studio Regina

The holidays can be a difficult time of year for some studios with clients on vacation or preoccupied by busy social calendars. Sometimes that lag in business can even continue well into January and February.

For Corinne Harle, a STOTT PILATES® Certified Instructor and owner of Merrithew® Host Training Center, The Core Connection Pilates Studio in Regina, Canada, business is typically steady up until Christmas, but begins to dip in the early New Year.

“As it gets colder in Regina, a number of clients head south for warmer temperatures, so we work hard to make clients feel warm and welcome at our studio in spite of the weather,” Corinne says.

Corinne instructing students at Core Connection Pilates Studio

To accommodate that dip in attendance and keep clients motivated over the holidays, Corinne has a few smart strategies:

Everyone loves a challenge

Leading up to Christmas, Corinne puts on an attendance challenge. “We put up an old-school sticker chart and every time a client comes in, they get to mark their attendance. People get really excited about it.” They can also win special prizes, like a ‘Get out of late cancel – free pass,’ a discount on packages, guest passes or account credit. “Last year, for everyone who attended the final week before Christmas, I had some gift bags made up with Lindt chocolate, branded lip balm and the late pass,” she says.

This year, she’s reached out to favorite businesses to do an exchange of gifts and services. “It is lots of fun and our clients really get into our challenges,” she says.

Friends and family sale

This special shopping day for clients, friends and family usually takes place near the end of November or the beginning of December. “We are a small boutique studio without a dedicated receptionist. Holding a dedicated pre-Christmas shopping day allows people to stop in, ask questions and purchase a gift card, merchandise or class package,” Corinne says.

Corinne assisting a student on Reformer

Thank your regulars

“On this special shopping day, I also usually put together a special package that is only on sale that day as a thank you to our regulars. I have also offered an online special for gift cards that is only open for a set period of time.”

To close or not to close?

“I like to take a break for a week or two between Christmas and the New Year to spend time with my family while my kids are home from school. However, in the past few years, I have offered a reduced schedule for clients still looking to attend classes over the holidays, instead of closing completely.”

Spice up the schedule

“I like to refresh the schedule, add in some special workshops or single classes in addition to our regular Mat and Reformer classes. This is a good time for clients to pop in and try out something new and different, like a Cardio-Tramp Rebounder class or a Jumpboard orientation class.”

How do you keep business steady over the holidays? Let us know in the comments!

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