With the current Coronovarius crisis shutting gyms and fitness studios, many trainers are moving their clients to Zoom. Side-note: if you are not, you are doing a disservice to your clients, who are slowly shriveling away at home from sitting 16 hours a day. While scheduling individual clients is easy either directly through Zoom or any basic calendar service, trying to schedule a class is a much harder situation due to several requirements. You will have to take payment, offer free classes, have people schedule themselves in, and send automated reminders. When I decided to sign up for scheduling software, I had no idea about the difficulty I’m going to encounter in picking the right one. A partial list of schedulers includes Schedulista, Schedulicity (who names these?), Appointment Plus, Wellness Living, Simply Book, Bookeo, and countless others, in addition to gym management software like GymMaster, MindBody, and VirtuaGym.
The two heavy hitters, though, are Calendly and Acuity Software, which promise easy scheduling for sole proprietor-type businesses and the ability to grow your team as necessary. They both offer payment integration, the ability to email and text reminders and easy access to Zoom. I tried both, and went with Acuity for several reasons. Here’s why Acuity is my go-to Zoom fitness class scheduling software of choice:
1) Calendly does not have an option for vouchers, coupons, “pay-what-you-can” or free class options. Acuity has all of these. Judging from the help page posts, these have been heavily requested options by Calendly customers for years.
2) Acuity allows you to take payment both with PayPal and Stripe. Calendly forces you to choose between one or the other. Acuity actually also has Square, which I don’t use, but more variety is better.
3) Acuity has much better Facebook integration: a couple of clicks and your “Book Now” button takes you to the Acuity scheduling page. With Calendly, third party integration is necessary. Since many of us run our businesses almost entirely on Facebook, this is a very useful advantage for Acuity.
4) The interface for Acuity is cleaner and more intuitive. Not a huge deal but helps. At no point did I not know what to do on Acuity’s site, which wasn’t the case with Calendly.
This was just my experience. I don’t doubt that Calendly has many happy users, but for me not being able to offer a “First class is Free!” option was a total dealbreaker. The biggest disappointment is that people have been asking for this feature for a very long time, and Calendly has not only not implemented it, but refuses to acknowledge that this is even an issue. Flexibility when offering fitness classes is very important, and I can’t wrap my head around why they’re delaying implementation. Until they do, they will keep losing potential customers like me to Acuity.