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We’re in an exciting time where access to health and fitness is expanding. Thanks to the Mindbody Virtual Wellness Platform, clients can choose how they want to participate in the group activities that your business offers, whether it be in the studio, at an inspirational location, or just a few feet from the couch.

Being able to offer a variety of options to participate in is an opportunity for your business to keep class capacity in the studio at a reasonable size while allowing others to join in with the group remotely. This frees up your business to grow class participation exponentially.

Hybrid classes, where students attend class both in the studio and online, are quickly becoming a must-have offering at class-based businesses.

Creating the framework

Setting up a hybrid class requires us to consider how we’re going to manage both the in-person and the virtual aspects of the class offerings. First, we’ll start with adding and formatting the class itself.

We need to create a new Service Category for our virtual classes. Even though all your classes may be in an existing Service Category and scheduled, having a parallel virtual schedule can help in several ways:

  • Doing this allows control over the capacity of the in-person portion of your class offerings to make sure there’s enough space for in-person students to participate. Then, you can open spots on the virtual side of the class to allow for more virtual class participants.
  • This is also a great opportunity to set the right price points for the class whether the client is participating in-person or virtually.
  • We recommend adding virtual, live stream, or online to any of your live stream class names. This will allow your clients to know they are booking a class that does not take place in your studio, and we also surface your class on the Mindbody app and under our virtual offerings.

Go to this learning activity to follow the walk-through on setting up a virtual class. You can keep this activity open concurrently for important advice to consider during setup.

Scheduling and Pay Rates

When scheduling your virtual class concurrently with an in-person class there are a few considerations to keep in mind such as class capacity, scheduling instructors, and paying your instructors.

When scheduling the class, the system will ask you if you want to double book the instructor. Go ahead and confirm the double booking as it’s not really a double booking of the instructor’s time. The class participants are the ones in different places, not the instructor.

This gives you an opportunity to set up a unique pay scale for virtual classes. Instructors could receive a different rate for assisting in-person students vs. virtual students. You can learn more about setting up new pay rates here.

Pricing and other business matters

We mentioned earlier that virtual classes pose an opportunity to set pricing options for attending a virtual class differently than participating in person. This might be appropriate for your business for some of these reasons:

  • In-person classes are capped in capacity, so the spaces are priced at a premium. Meanwhile, virtual classes give you to the ability to host more students at any location where they can log in from anywhere.
  • Virtual attendance costs less in overhead. Because of this and, generally, wanting to encourage clients to try out attending classes in a virtual space, we’ve seen a trend in businesses making virtual classes cost less than an in-person class.
  • Additionally, a lot of businesses are adding the ability to attend in-person or virtually for their clients who have in-person memberships. Access to both platforms and the flexibility of being able to attend in-studio or at home is a fringe benefit that makes sense why you would assign a higher price point.

Another important thing to consider for hybrid classes, is how you should set up your liability waiver. Since you’ll have students in the class who will be broadcasted on camera, we recommend that you make sure that your liability waiver includes items for photo and video releases.

Letting the in-studio participants know how their image will be used ahead of time will protect your business liability. It also gives students who don’t want to be on camera a chance to opt-out and attend a standard in-person class or a live stream only class, instead.

Run with it

Congratulations! You now have hybrid classes set up in Mindbody. All that’s left to do is:

  • Run the in-person classes as scheduled.
  • Make sure the instructor has all the equipment they need to broadcast the event via live stream.
  • Invite the virtual students to attend on the Mindbody Virtual Wellness Platform.