As you know we have some rules surrounding the booking and cancelling of classes linked to our strikes system, which are designed to ensure fairness for all of our members, and to maximise the use of spaces within our classes. These were covered in a previous blog, which can be viewed here.  

The recent intense pressure on our classes in early January, has led to many different suggestions from our members on how to improve our system. These included reducing the booking window to less than 7 days, increasing the allowed cancellation window from 12 hours to 24 or 48 hours, etc. Many thanks for all of your comments and suggestions. We have looked at them all seriously and always keep our policies under review, but we have decided against these steps – at least for the time being.   

 However, the class congestion in the first two weeks of January, despite the addition of new classes, did make us take another close look at what has been happening in our booking system. What we found is that a significant number of members have been booking and then cancelling large numbers of classes, with many of the cancellations occurring very late, but outside the allowed 12 hour window – hence no strike was obtained. As an example, one member had cancelled 18 classes in a 2-week period. These are classes that were hence unavailable for others to book until very late in the day. Whilst this action is not outside the existing Club Rules, it does feel as though it is not within the spirit of the Club.  This was not an isolated case, and there were many examples of members cancelling more than 10 classes in the same 2 week period. In total we had over 1700 class cancellations in 2 weeks, which is a high proportion of our overall availability.

 As a result of this, we plan to introduce a second layer to our penalty system on class bookings. This will limit the number of cancellations that any member can make to a maximum of 8 class cancellations in any rolling 4-week period (an average of 2 per week). This will continue to allow flexibility for members to cancel classes when they genuinely have a change of plans or when emergencies crop up, but will prevent members from booking multiple classes for a given day when they know in advance that they only plan to attend one or two (or none!) of them.

 Our booking system is not capable of automatically policing this, and so we will be doing it manually at the end of each week. Members who fall foul of this rule will be warned initially, and will have their booking rights removed if they continue to cancel too many classes.

 This very simple addition to our class booking and cancellation policy should provide greater availability and fairness for all of our members. It should also help to prevent what we call the “snowball effect” where members fear classes will not be available at short notice, and hence book multiple classes “on the off-chance”, when they really have no idea whether they can attend or not.

 We would welcome feedback on this rule change, so please do let us know what you think.