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When ClassPass launched in Denver in 2015, it seemed like the answer for every disillusioned gym-goer. The membership-based app gave its members access to classes at boutique studios across town at less than $100 a month—far cheaper than most fitness memberships.
If that sounds too good to be true, that’s because it was. Participating studios soon realized that their memberships weren’t growing as a result of the partnership and started limiting the number of ClassPassers allowed per session. These restrictions spurred complaints from customers, and then ClassPass was forced to raise its prices. Soon, all signs pointed toward the service becoming just another fad in a workout world full of them.
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Then ClassPass rebounded. It changed its business model to a credit system; members now pay $35 to $100 per month for 20 to 60 monthly credits, respectively. (Each class or chunk of gym time is assigned a credit value that varies based on the time of day and amount of specialized equipment needed.) It added online video options and created a free app featuring audio-only workouts. And finally, ClassPass made what might be its smartest move yet: expanding into the beauty and wellness space.
This summer, Denver became the second city to gain access to everything from cryotherapy and meditation to acupuncture and facials through ClassPass. “When we launched fitness in different cities, it was based on studio density,” says Lauren Craft, manager of public relations for ClassPass. “In this case, it was the wellness density, and Denver was the best after New York.” I’m not at all surprised; anecdotally, it seems like the Mile High City has embraced the multi-trillion-dollar wellness industry with open, well-toned arms. But being able to book a massage through the same app where you sign up for your barre classes? I imagine that ease of use will only increase the number of Denverites engaging in self-care—and ClassPass is in a unique position to make money off that partnership.
Right now, ClassPass lists 44 wellness options in Denver—including the Point, True Bliss Massage & Reiki, and Denver Sports Recovery—and Craft expects that number to grow as word gets out. When booking through the site or app, you can sort to exclusively see wellness offerings. Each listing includes the time, length of session, neighborhood, rating, and number of credits to book the service. Wellness sessions generally cost more than fitness classes; for example, the massage I got at Moyer Total Wellness was 30 credits on ClassPass—half of the total allotment for the most expensive tier. (The average fitness class in the Denver area is five credits.) Considering it eats up a lot of your monthly ClassPass membership, the company might do well to offer an even more comprehensive option in the future. You also can’t tip through the app, so if you’re planning on leaving the expected 15 to 20 percent gratuity for a massage, that’ll be a separate charge at the end of your visit. But you’re paying a lot less for these services by booking through ClassPass. It’s just a question of what you’d rather save money on: your kickboxing classes or your facials.
Overall, the whole process is fairly seamless. It’ll be interesting to see whether more wellness organizations partner with ClassPass long-term; maybe they’ll end up losing money and have to address the same challenges boutique studios were having when ClassPass first launched. From a consumer perspective, though, these wellness offerings make for a lovely occasional indulgence that’s more (gasp!) relaxing than it is expensive.