Last week news came out that Classpass acquired Guavapass!
Two months ago I had one of my first blogposts published about ClassPass entering the market here in Dubai, comparing it with GuavaPass.
ClassPass, almost six years old founded in New York, have expansion plans across the globe and has acquired 3 year old baby GuavaPass. Other platforms (Classport, Classdive) have tried, had a good run, but failed in the past two years. GuavaPass has taken Mid-East/Asia by storm with numerous studio/gym partnerships and relentless marketing on Google/YouTube. There was a period of 6 months where the only YouTube ad for me was from GuavaPass.
It always boggled me how they made money with their model of unlimited classes. A recent article suggests they were in some financial difficulty. It made sense they would only profit if users signed up but did not go for many classes. Classpass makes sense with their monthly credit system, but this turns out much more expensive for those who go for a lot of classes. Thanks for the good times Guava! This was the loophole in the unlimited class model. Now that it’s over we should see gym and studios selling memberships again after their struggle over the last few years up against these platforms.
For ClassPass to survive in this market they will have to adjust their prices. AED 749 for 130 credits each month is too high compared to the AED 400-500 that people have gotten used to. Also the credit costs for many of the classes need to and will reduce. Either that or more credits each month so members can take 16-20 classes a month (or 4-5 a week) if this is the primary source of fitness for most members.
The competition over the past few months has been intense, in Dubai at least, with many studios jumping ship to sign exclusively with ClassPass. Some have stayed loyal to GuavaPass and some have ignored the whole tech movement altogether, relying on their customers packages and memberships. I don’t necessarily like this acquisition because this makes it one big monopoly as there are no other active players in this space. This would give them the benefit to charge very high prices and they have started already. Only time will tell how this fitness space changes. For now I may just join a good quality gym that offers a bunch of classes, The Warehouse Gym comes to mind. Then for yoga and indoor cycling once or twice a week, I will probably sign up with a specialist studio.
Right now these are the membership options available from ClassPass:
I still say give this a shot if group classes are new to you. You will never know what you might fall in love with and what just works for you until you try. 💪 OH AND THEY HAVE A FREE TRIAL.
10th February update For over a week I have been calling it a loophole and sharing it with friends. But it’s really not a loophole, it’s fair game. The packages mentioned above prices credits around AED 6 each. This would make the average 10 credit class cost AED 60. Even though this is cheaper than what the studio might charge by 20-40%, its still not very attractive. The whole point of a fitness platform is to make classes affordable. By taking the cheapest package AED 159 for 25 credits or even better AED 69 for 10 credits (after trying to cancel) any additional classes can be booked for AED 3.50 per credit. Classes can be booked and paid for on the go and $10 or AED 35 for a class is reasonable. I have seen some studios offer really good classes for 8 credits, one favorite is @anandayogadubai. Others charge 15+ credits which is okay for now but will reduce to get their classes filled up. Three visits to a studio and the prices are hiked up anyways.