Late cancelling

27 Mar

We’ve noticed that classes get booked up early these days, sometimes over a week in advance. Unfortunately, a lot of last minute cancellations also happen (often only an hour before the class begins). It can be very frustrating for other Crossfit London members, who really want to attend a class and are prevented from doing so.

With the move to the new, larger gym at Malcom Place, there can be a small increase in class spaces available. However, the problem of last minute cancellations will probably still continue.

At the moment, you can cancel up to an hour before without being charged a fee. There’s been a suggestion that this guillotine is moved to 6 hours before the start of class ie: if you had booked into a 7.30pm class, you’d have to cancel by 1.30pm the same day or be charged. Ditto with a 6.30am class – you’d have to cancel that one by half past midnight.

Should the cutoff point be 3, 6, 12 or even 24 hours before the class time? We would like your suggestions and feedback on how to deal with this issue, so that all the members get a better chance of getting into the classes they want.


19 thoughts on “Late cancelling

  1. I was talking to someone a while ago about this…it’s very frustrating sometimes especially when these fully booked classes end up having only a few turn up…

    It’s a bit of a double edge sword, the booking system is awesome for its flexibility in that if something comes up that means you won’t be able to attend you can cancel it and usually keep your class for another time…it’s just a problem if it’s abused.

    Is there any way for you/Steven/the other coaches to be able to view the frequent offenders? And perhaps send an email to them to discourage them from doing it?

  2. I’m sure we all sometimes have unforeseen circumstances which cause us to cancel an hour or 2 before class. Clearly, that doesn’t realistically allow sufficient time for someone else to attend in our place. If the class was not full in the first place, however, it seems that there is no harm done, it just allows the cancellor to re-book for another class and use up all the classes on his/her carnet. So, maybe we could implement a system whereby if a class is not full you can cancel perhaps an hour before class (with no prejudice to anyone), but if it is full then you will need at your earliest convenience to let people know that you can give up your spot should someone want it. If someone takes your spot, all well and good, your class is cancelled and you can re-book. If not, then you are charged regardless of whether you attend. We already have a waiting list function – this could be a more pro active system which enables people to make informed decisions as to which classes they can, if unforeseen circumstances dictate, cancel/slot into with sufficient notice to make it realistically possible.

    It occurs to me that not allowing people to cancel at late notice, and at the same time not allowing any kind of ‘swapping’ facility, may simply lead to poorly attended classes, people losing money on their carnets, yet with
    no benefit to those would have gladly attended at short notice.

    I love a full class and the great atmosphere that goes with it (again, apologies Phil – no one told me the clocks changed this morning!!), maybe we could enable a function on the site which truly facilitates this…

    My 2 cents.

  3. I should say, my last post assumed that there was at least one other person booked into the class – meaning that class was going ahead anyway. Obviously if you are the only person booked into a class and you cancel very soon beforehand then there is prejudice caused even if you were the only trainee – the poor coach would have wasted their time attending! We don’t want to uspet our coaches, as I’m sure it’ll come back to haunt us 😉
    In these circumstances, again, you can be charged if no one takes your place (just as if the class was full).

  4. I would be interested to know what other gyms do including the bigger commercial ones. I for have described the sudden loss of numbers on a Saturday as Friday night syndrome. Emails at 2am cancelling help confirm this. Someone would have to be unrealisticly aware to take advantage of this. Maybe 12 hours would be better?

  5. The only classes I ever late cancel are the ones on a friday night. I’ve missed a few saturday morning classes because London Underground seem to always have engineering works affecting Fulham, but I’ve been fortunate the nice coaches 🙂 have let me do the later class as it hasn’t been full. I think it would be fair to have a 6 hour cut off during the week. I work long hours but I can generally always make the latest class.

    I’m also a member of Gymbox. They have no penalty etc if you don’t turn up for a class (but they are perhaps a bad example as all classes are included in your membership there and you are not limited in how many you can do).

  6. Call me crazy, but I think 12 or 24 hours isn’t reasonable. When I’ve had a PT in the past, I had to pay for sessions I missed if I couldn’t cancel 24 hours in advance. This kept me from flaking out (oh, I can just go tomorrow instead) and was respectful of the coaches time.

    We probably don’t need to be quite so inflexible, but I for one could use the extra motivation when i’m feeling tired at work at 3pm, and know I’m booked in for a 630 class…I just feel my fingers itching to cancel… but if I was going to lose a session, I’d probably man up a bit.

  7. oops. first line should read isn’t UNreasonable. as in, go 12 hours woot woot.

  8. I think 12 hours is reasonable, and definitely comparable to the other gyms I attend. If I’m on the waitlist and I haven’t heard by the morning, I don’t know whether to take my gym stuff with me and arrange to leave work in time, so realistically its not useful for me to even sign up for it. It’s great to have the flexibility of cancelling, but with classes getting fuller all the time I think it’d be better to move to 12. My $2

  9. The big positive for the system is that if I’m working I can book in for a session at say 2pm and then if work committments stop me going cancel again by 4pm and not get penalised and someone else can take the spot. I think 3 hours is reasonable for evening sessions and for morning sessions maybe longer. I think this is not a case where one rule fits all, if we put a 12 or 24 hour rule in place and you miss the cut off there is no incentive to cancel at all and the problem stands as it is, it also removes a key positive of the gym which is flexibility in booking sessions. How about a friday/staurday night rule or something that targets the problem times or even put at managements discretion for repeat late cancelling at these times.
    Dont throw the baby out with the bath water, the system as it is is very good, works most of the time but just needs some tweaks to incentivise good behaviour. My last gym there was no penalty as classes were included in the price.

  10. I’d agree 12 hours plus is a bit crazy during the week. I don’t work a straight 9 to 5 and can’t predict when I’ll have a last minute deadline, or need to work late. You exclude pretty much any City lawyer by making the cancelling window that large.

    If I do miss a class it’s not because I don’t want to go, it’s because of work. I like going and don’t need the extra motivation or otherwise by introducing a draconian cancelling rule.

  11. I think 6 hrs is fine. I turn up to fully booked classes sometimes for e.g. sat mornings hoping to get in knowing the drop-out rate is high. Nothing to stop people doing this….. In fact – you could implement a buffer for drop-ins i.e always have a slot free per class which cannot be booked but are for people turning up.

  12. It’s a tricky one. The gym I used to go to had no penalty but the classes were booked on a “first come, first served” basis and there were always people ready to jump in last minute, and fill any spaces.

    At the risk of over-complicating, what about a mixed set-up where you can cancel at any time, but if it’s less than [6/9/12] hrs before then you only get refunded if your space gets taken by someone else?

    That would motivate people to cancel as soon as posible once they know they cannot attend, and seems pretty fair.

  13. I think a working hours deadline would work better. Say 3 working hours. So if working hours are 9-5, then for a 18.30 or 19.30 class you need to cancel by 2pm, and that same deadline would apply for a class at 0630 the next morning.

    If the cancellation is of an early morning class, even 6 hours seems short notice for other people to book or for the coach to cancel, as it assumes that people will be checking at 00.30… Whereas if you base the deadline on a reasonable working day, I think that makes it fairer and more reasonable for both users and coaches.

  14. To me the system works really well so it would be a shame to change it, but if it does have to change my recommendation would be:

    – Make the wait list longer, two people isn’t enough

    Like Patrick, I (and I’m sure quite a few others) work in jobs where we can’t wait to leave and come to Crossfit, but sh*t comes up and the job comes first. This happens a lot. The flexibility of the cancellation policy was a God send to be honest and I’d be very sad to see it go, especially, during the week. I would have lost a lot of money if it wasn’t for the policy….

    Sad times.

  15. The wait list works for me, if I’m number one on the list for one of Colin’s classes, I can be 90% sure that when I wake up on a Saturday morning I will get a space. All I have to do is check my phone and I’ll have a nice Crossfit London UK email telling me I’ve been added.


  16. This feedback is terrific, folks! Thanks so much for chipping in an letting us know what you think. And keep it coming, if there is anyone else there who has a view on this.

    Andrew and I have been back and forth on this issue countless times over the last 6 months, and still don’t really know what the best approach is.

    Be assured of this, however: No matter what else, we genuinely want you to train. We have never been interested in signing people up to contracts and taking their money regardless. We truly want you to train, and if you feel that is worth paying for, all the better!

    This issue – for me at least – is less about those who cancel late (sh*t happens to us all), and more about those who are potentially denied a spot because of this. The waitlist is certainly one way to alleviate this (and still needs a little tweaking, I think).

    Unfortunately, the system is a little inflexible when it comes to cancellation windows; it is one setting for all classes of the same type (e.g. all WODs vs all PT appointments).

    That said, if someone has a good idea about how manage this in a way that is fair to everyone, let’s hear it!

    @Cian – very happy to make the waitlist longer

  17. ditto to what steven said.

    for now, i suspect we will just do 2 things

    1) Extend the waiting list (if we can)
    2) Ask everyone to “think” about the bookings they are making.

    Hopefully the extra time/more space at the new gym will ease the situation.

    Thanks for the feed back

  18. My 2c – I’m probably one of the high offenders as I book the classes in advance but have a job that involves a lot of travelling and visiting with clients. I’ve often had to cancel while sitting in traffic on the Westway or M4! I understand the frustration but the flexibility is something I really appreciate! I like Rosies idea of a 3 working hour window – it seems fair and does put more onus on us to think about filling the class.

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