An image of a person looking at educational content on their mobile phone is used to illustrate the concept of working with ClassPass, an online educational platform.

If you think you’ve tried all the free marketing ideas out there, here’s one you may have missed: ClassPass. ClassPass is a health-and wellness-aggregator that provides members with access to 30,000 health clubs in 28 countries. That means a ClassPass member could take a Spin class at an Austin health club and a yoga class at Zanesville health club without having a membership at either place.

In addition to health clubs, ClassPass also works with 13,300+ wellness and beauty businesses. By partnering with ClassPass, you can potentially draw massage clients from its members.

ClassPass attracts people who are seeking health, fitness and wellness experiences, which is a good prospecting pool for massage therapists. In addition, it is probably safe to assume that ClassPass members have money to spend on massage if they are spending money on fitness classes.

Let’s see if ClassPass is a good fit for a massage business.

How Does ClassPass Work?

Here’s how ClassPass would work with your massage practice: To make a massage appointment, a ClassPass member reserves a timeslot using the ClassPass app. The ClassPass app synchs with your online scheduler, so appointment reservations are happening in real-time. ClassPass works with 40 booking systems globally.

You control your availability to ClassPass members via the partner dashboard. Once a reservation is made, you’ll receive a confirmation email. Then the day of the massage, ClassPass will send you an email with a check-in link. When the member comes in for their massage, you click on the link and check the member in.

Credits Not Dollars

To become a ClassPass member, a customer can purchase one of three packages: 18 credits per month for $39, 33 credits per month for $69 or 58 credits per month for $119. Note the word “credits.” A credit is the currency of ClassPass. A member pays for services with credits. A business (massage therapist) who partners with ClassPass agrees to accept credits as payment.

For example, Alina is a ClassPass member and she reserves a massage through ClassPass at Jasmine’s Massage Therapy. After the massage, Alina doesn’t pay Jasmine anything. Instead, she pays ClassPass in credits, and ClassPass pays Jasmine in dollars.

At this point, you may be wondering how much ClassPass pays Jasmine (you). The answer is you are paid at a pay rate. Your pay rate is a percentage of your massage price that you negotiate with ClassPass.

If ClassPass is starting to sound like Groupon, it is because ClassPass is like Groupon in this sense: ClassPass and Groupon send you clients, collect the money and then pay you at a negotiated rate.

That said, a notable difference between the two is a ClassPass member doesn’t see the price of your massage since they are paying in credits. In theory, the ClassPass member won’t know how much you are getting paid for your massage.

Your Massage in Credits

How many credits is your massage worth? ClassPass decides that. According to their website: “Different reservations have different credit rates that vary depending on appointment time, business, location, booking time, the popularity of the reservation, and how many times you’ve visited that business in your current cycle.”

Specifically, for services like massage, ClassPass states: “The number of credits needed to book wellness experiences, just like fitness classes, may vary depending on a few factors but is typically determined based on the true cost of the service.”

In other words, the credit price for a massage is primarily based on the dollar price of your massage, but other factors influence the credit determination.

The Good and Bad with Credits

If you’re starting to feel like ClassPass is getting more like Groupon again, your Spidey senses are accurate. In the ClassPass world of credits, the massage therapist who is more likely to get booked is the massage therapist whose massage costs the least amount of credits.

For example, ClassPass member Alina, wants a massage today and is using ClassPass to make a reservation. She sees appointments available at Naomi’s Massage and Jasmine’s Massage. However, Naomi’s massage costs four credits and Jasmine’s costs two credits. The business profiles at each place look good to Alina. Is there any doubt Alina is going to choose Jasmine’s two-credit massage?

Lowering Your Credit Price

You can lower the credit price of your massage in two ways. One, take less of a payout from ClassPass for your massage from the get-go. For example, if you negotiated a pay rate of 75% of the regular cost of your massage, you could agree to take 50% instead. You’ll make less money, but your massage offer is now more attractive (less credits) to members.

Two, run a campaign where you discount your massage by 25% or 50%. By taking 50% off your massage, you will be cutting the credit cost to members in half.

To figure out your pay when running a discount campaign, multiply your pay rate percentage by the discounted price.

For example, let’s say your pay rate percentage with ClassPass is 60%. Your normal price is $80 for an hour massage. So your pay rate is: $80 x 60% = $48 .

If you run a 25%-off campaign, your massage price changes. It is now: $80 x 75% = $60. And your pay rate is $60 (discounted massage price) x 60% (pay rate percentage) = $36.

You can control how long a discount campaign runs for ClassPass members in the partner dashboard

To Discount or Not to Discount

Discounting massage is a business decision that can trigger strong emotions. If you feel that your value as a massage therapist is intrinsically connected to your price, then discounting is off the table.

Also, if your current marketing strategies are working, then there is no need to discount.

However, if you see discounting as a marketing tactic to use in certain contexts or if you need clients right now, then a discount campaign with ClassPass may just be the right thing to turn the client spigot on for you.

More to Think About

Discounting aside, ClassPass suggests other ways you can make your massage offer more attractive to its members. One way is to have great pictures of your practice in your profile. Personally, I would add: Pictures should not only convey a wellness vibe, but they should also make the viewer feel welcome and show that your office is safe and clean.

Having more than one service to choose from is another way to bring in members, according to ClassPass. By having more services to offer, you increase the chances of being seen when a member is searching for massage or a type of massage. Even if the member doesn’t pick your massage initially, being seen builds name recognition.

Last, to optimize your offer, ClassPass explains your service descriptions should be “clear, easy to read and give an accurate yet appealing description of your offerings.” This makes sense, as almost 50% of their users look at class descriptions before trying a new class.

The assumption is the same stat applies to massage also.

Some Benefits with ClassPass

We have yet to talk about the second-most-important factor, after booking a ClassPass member: Rebooking. There’s good news here. A massage therapist who is a ClassPass partner does not have to go through ClassPass to rebook a client. For example, Serena, a ClassPass member, has her first massage with you. Before she leaves you can hand Serena your business card, put her on your email list or simply rebook her right on the spot—at your normal rate.

Another positive aspect of ClassPass is their cancellation policy. If a member doesn’t show up for an appointment or cancels within 12 hours of the reserved appointment, ClassPass will deduct the full credits for the appointment and you will be paid your pay rate for the missed appointment.

ClassPass also does a good job messaging about tipping. This is from their website: “Gratuity based on the full value of the service is customary for many wellness services.”

Last, if you need help, ClassPass doesn’t provide phone support, but it does provide robust, online chat support during the week if you can’t find the answers to your questions on their website.

Is ClassPass for You?

So, what do you think—is ClassPass for you? If you’re leaning “yes,” understand that you won’t get your normal price for your massage, and if you want to be competitive in the ClassPass credit world, you may need to run a discount campaign and reduce your pay rate even more.

Also, if you run a discount campaign, members don’t see the cost of the discounted massage but they do see a reduced credit price. This may or may not spare you from having to make the Groupon-like leap from the discount price to the normal price.

The bottom line is if you have marketing traction and do not need or want to discount, then pass on ClassPass. But if you’re hungry for clients and your sales philosophy is “my hands on a customer sell my massage,” then ClassPass can provide you with an opportunity to get new clients.

Mark Liskey

About the Author

Mark Liskey, LMT, CNMT, is a massage therapist, business owner, teacher and blogger. You can access his free, massage-business crash course on his business page.