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Is there such a thing as too much availability?

James Brooker
Strategic Business Manager,

Ensuring that there is availability on your timetable is crucial for your business, as it allows you to offer choices to potential participants and showcase the breadth of your offerings.

However, it’s important to note that too much availability may harm your conversion rates. Consider popular online retailers like Amazon, ASOS, or Argos. Have you ever been swayed by a message that says there’s only one item left or that it’s available for a limited time only? Have you ever felt the fear of missing out if you don’t make the purchase immediately? This is not a coincidence. You can apply the same principles to your own timetables and schedules to improve your participation and occupancy levels using the economic principle of scarcity of supply.

Finding the right balance in your timetable

Finding the right balance is like a Goldilocks scenario. If there’s too little availability, members won’t be able to find a suitable slot and may look elsewhere. On the other hand, too much availability can trigger various responses from your members. They may worry about being in a class with very few participants or question the quality of the session due to the overwhelming quantity of options. It may also give them a false sense of security, thinking there’s plenty of space so why book now? There’s no urgency or compulsion to complete the transaction.

By limiting your supply and streamlining your timetable, you can reap many rewards. It will force you to become more efficient by combining poorly performing sessions to increase occupancy. This efficiency will help you trim costs and improve your bottom-line financial performance. Your timetable will become cleaner and clearer, making it easier to manage and for prospects to find the class they want to join, thereby increasing your conversion rates. The fear of missing out will entice more prospects to commit to joining a session right away, rather than postponing it. Studies have shown that once a prospect decides to come back later to join, their chances of actually doing so decrease by as much as 50%.

Of course, you shouldn’t simply make drastic changes to your timetable in an attempt to improve prospect conversion. It’s about finding the right balance between supply and demand, as well as keeping existing members and attracting new ones.

How to review your existing timetable availability

Take a full view approach to reviewing your timetable

How many classes have consistently less than 30% occupancy?

These classes shouldn’t just exist with poor capacity; they should either be cancelled or altered to give a match between supply and demand.

Next, look at classes with 50-70% occupancy

What adjustments can you make to increase their occupancy to above 80%? Can you combine a class from the 30% group to create a more efficient and busier class? Do you need to subtly change the timing to attract more prospects based on local school or traffic patterns?

Finally, consider your popular classes with 85-100% occupancy

You may need to add extra capacity from your less crowded classes to meet this unmet demand. This process is iterative, and it may take time to find the right balance.

While the core of your timetable should remain consistent, it’s important to understand that it doesn’t have to be set in stone and can evolve over time. The best timetables are flexible, growing and shrinking as needed to keep a balance between supply and demand.

Consider your goals

If your goal is to increase participation rather than profitability from your timetable, the same rules can still apply. Condensing your timetable with an average occupancy of 70-75% will encourage more prospects to commit to attending sessions, even with reduced availability. If you’re concerned about coaches not having their full availability listed on the timetable, this can actually be positive. Keeping coaches below their maximum sessions has two benefits: they will be motivated to fill up their sessions to gain more classes and increase their own income, and you’ll have spare resources available to respond quickly to increased demand.

In summary, don’t be afraid to reduce your timetable. Sometimes, bigger is not always better. By artificially restricting your supply and making your timetable an adaptive live document, you can achieve your organizational goals more efficiently. You’ll quickly find the sweet spot that creates a sense of urgency for prospective participants and leads to well-attended sessions with happy members. With LoveAdmin’s timetabling software, what may seem like a daunting task can be turned into child’s play.

Would you like more personalised commercial advice and business partnering to unlock the potential in your organisation? Reach out to James Brooker, Strategic Business Manager at LoveAdmin, who can support you and your business. Book a call now at www.calendly.com/loveadminjb.

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