As a busy yoga enthusiast, I sometimes wonder what would happen if yoga studios within a given metro area agreed to an “Open Table” model for class bookings. (Open Table is a centralized reservation service for restaurants that operates in major cities, including iPhone and other smartphone apps.)
In an ideal world I’d take 6–8 weekly classes in succession from the same teacher at the same studio, to benefit from her careful class planning and sequencing. But in 2 years of taking classes I’ve never been able to attend all 8 classes due to family or work-related schedule conflicts. As a result I’ve joined a second local studio to have an alternate place where I can take classes when I face a conflict with my primary studio. Each one uses MindBody for booking purposes, so I have two separate accounts now.
From a busy student’s perspective, it would be really great if I could book classes using a centralized reservation system that showed me all the classes available today (or at later dates) within, say, a 20-mile radius. For each class on offer I’d want to see information about the yoga style or tradition, the teacher, the relative difficulty of the class, prerequisites (if any), time, location, pricing, etc. Like the Open Table restaurant model it would be nice to see something comparable to menus and photographs of the venue, if it’s a studio I’m unfamiliar with. I’d also want to be able to filter the class listings by teacher name, yoga tradition (such as Anusara), difficulty level, etc.
This raises a larger question of the business model. Would I pay the central booking service, and have it disburse funds to the studio? (My personal preference as a student.) Would there be a finder’s fee paid by the booking service to the studio, with students paying for the class directly to the studio? I don’t know. Certainly from the student’s perspective, being able to book and pay online in a single transaction is the most convenient approach.
What I do know is, I’d take more classes if such a booking system were available, one that allowed me to book and take classes on the spur of the moment, as time permits. Such an approach could be financially beneficial to the studio owners, if they could fill up more classes… They might even offer specials on classes that are generally sparsely attended.
Perhaps this is something that Mindbody could explore.