Setting up Session Based Classes

In this series of articles we are focusing on setting up & maintaining a session based class schedule.



In this article we will go through the best practices for setting up your session based class calendar.  If you have questions or need additional assistance, please reach out to a customer success agent for specific help with your setup:

Phone:  866-541-3570, Mon-Fri (9a-9p US eastern time)


Creating your classes


This first step will follow the usual class creation workflow found here:

Setting up Classes: Overview & Scheduling


PLEASE NOTE: You will create any session based classes as recurring classes. This means do not define an end date under the Recurring Options box.  At the end of this article we will go over how to define each freestanding session by editing the calendar.


When weighing whether to use the single schedule or multiple schedule approach, just remember that you need to use single schedules if you want your students to register for specific days & times. You can use the multiple schedule tool if students can choose to attend any scheduled days & times during the session.

Here are examples of both:

Scenario #1: When registering for a boot camp that occurs multiple days & times throughout the week, students need to pick a specific day & time.  Once they register, they won't be able to attend any different days or times without a staff member manually dropping them into the alternative class day & time.

Scenario #2: When registering for a boot camp, the student can attend any days & times during that session that the boot camp class is offered.  The only limitation they would have would be if there were attendance limits for the membership they had purchased (3 Times per/wk, 15 Class Punch Card, etc).


Online Settings

Just like when setting up a regular class, you can decide whether you want people to see this class on your member connect calendar, and if so, how do you want them to be able to interact with it.

With session based classes, there are a few extra considerations when working with these settings:

  • Reservations: When a student registers for the session is their spot in each class they are eligible to attend guaranteed?

Typically with session based classes, the student's registration guarantees them a spot in each class during the session and reservations aren't used.  Reservations will sometimes be used if registered students have the ability to attend any of the session's classes, but there is cap on how many students can come to any one class.


  • Free Trial & Drop In: Are you going to allow free trials or drop in's?

Due to the nature of session based classes, these options are rarely used since they can cause the number of students attending a class to exceed the cap you may have placed on class size.  It also allows the general public to sign up to attend a single class during the session which in most cases can be disruptive. If you want to activate either of these options, please reach out to a customer success agent for specific advice about your setup.


Editing the Calendar to Create Downtime Between Sessions (Optional)

Most session based classes have some amount of downtime between sessions, or you may find that you need to update some classes around the holidays or for an entire session (special summer hours, etc.).

You will find a report on your Zen Planner Saved Reports that will assist you with performing periodic maintenance on your session schedules.  It can be found by navigating to Dashboard>Saved Reports>Operations>Session Calendar Maintenance. 

First Time Use
After the initial set up of your session based class schedule you will want to go in right away and define the independent sessions by removing the scheduled classes from the days between sessions. 

For example, we have a four week boot camp with about two weeks off between sessions.  The current session runs from 2/1-2/26, and the next session runs from 3/14-4/8.  Since we set the Boot Camp class up as a recurring class, we will need to delete the Boot Camp classes from 2/27 through 3/13.  This is how we do that:

  1. Click into the Session Calendar Maintenance report, then click 'Edit Report' 
  2. Update the 'Date:On or After' filed to 2/27/16
  3. Update the 'Date:On or Before' fields to 3/13/16
  4. Update the 'Class:is' field to Boot Camp, the session class we need to edit
  5. Click the gray refresh button beneath the criteria fields
  6. Give the updated report a look to see if it meets what you would expect to see
  7. Select all the records, or you can just click the box next to the classes you need to remove from the calendar.
  8. Click the 'Batch Update' button, then 'Delete Checked Sessions' in the popup

You can repeat this workflow to remove any unwanted sessions up to a year in advance, or however far in advance you have finalized the schedule.

Ongoing Maintenance
Going forward, you will want to set up a routine of going in and removing unwanted classes.  The studio calendar only goes out a year in the future with recurring classes populating on a rolling, daily basis.  A typical maintenance schedule would be once a month if you plan out 6 months to a year in advance.  If you only plan sessions out a little in advance, or as you go, you will want to perform maintenance more often or as upcoming schedules are finalized. 


Next Steps

Once your session class schedule is set up, and you have worked with the settings on the 'Schedule' and 'Online' tabs, you can move on to creating the memberships you will use to control access and sales.


Click here to learn about setting up your memberships.






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