We had a lively debate recently over the benefits of taking customer reservations. Some of us find them essential to our business, some of us find that they provide little to no value.
Why would you take reservations?
- You have limited studio space and/or limited equipment
- You would have a different plan based on expected numbers (move to a different room, etc.)
- You may cancel class if not enough people sign up.
- You want to discourage drop ins.
- If folks put it on their calendar, they’re more likely to show up. Reservations encourage your customers to manage their time & show up for class.
- You value the ability to predict who will be in class.
- You want to penalize single or recurrent no-shows or late cancellations.
- Your customers feel better knowing that they are guaranteed a spot.
- You want to reassure your customers that you’ve placed a limit on attendance & it won’t be overcrowded.
- Only certain people can attend this class (advanced students, etc.).
- You sometimes cancel class unexpectedly & want to be able to let folks who were planning to attend know in advance.
- If you can encourage people to reserve in advance, you can encourage them to pay for their passes online in advance too. That reduces your day-of-class processing work.
Why would you decide not to take reservations?
- Class is open to the entire public without prerequisites.
- You always have class, regardless of how many show up.
- You never have a problem with too many people & you don’t anticipate having a problem.
- Drop ins are always welcome.
- You don’t see any value in knowing who will be there in advance.
- Reservations are one more thing for you and your customers to think about & no real value from it.
- You prefer to take cash or checks for payment, so you have no real incentive to encourage your customers to pay online in advance.
- Reservation no-shows would incur no penalty & take up a spot that could have been filled by someone else. In that situation, I miss out & so do the folks who were turned away.
- I never want to turn anyone away, and I never want someone not to come to class because they feel they were supposed to reserve in advance.
- I want to pack ‘em in - the more, the merrier.
To take reservations or not to take reservations? That is the question.
Does your business take reservations or not? Why or why not? Add your voice to the debate by letting us know your thoughts! Just click on the blue circle in the lower right to chime in.