Will Tech Driven Dynamic Pricing Change The Fitness Industry?

Dynamic pricing has changed the airline, hotel and car-rental industries. But those are all travel related businesses -- can it change the fitness and wellness industry too?

A company called Lymber is betting that it can. A story in San Diego Union-Tribune profiles the SD startup, which has developed an application that “lets commitment-phobes dabble with all varieties of workout experiences offered across hundreds of area studios, no membership fees required.”

The app, which launches in beta form in a couple weeks and to the public a couple more weeks after that, operates in a similiar fashion to hotels.com or Expedia -- put in your location, see what kind of workout or wellness classes are offered locally, along with a scrolling description of the group you can expect to be hanging with (advanced? beginner? senior? ) and the price.

Like flights that airlines need to fill, the price for a class will fall as the date approaches to maximize class size. Conversely, class prices might be higher for popular yogis or teachers and you want to book to ensure a spot weeks in advance.

Lymber, as well as another dynamic pricing workout class application called Dibs,  hits the market just as the 800 pound gorilla of the workout market, ClassPass, is seeing serious backlash from members after doubling its membership fee.

Unlike ClassPass, Lymber has no membership fees. If you try it and don’t like it, you’re not locked in. Moreover, ClassPass has an inherent problem with its business model: The more you use it, the more the company loses money, because it’s ClassPass that’s paying for the workout, not the ClassPass member.

For Lymber -- whose CTO, Chuck Phillips, admits that if you work out more than 15 times a month you should stick with ClassPass -- the ideal customer is not a gym-rat but someone who works out maybe 2-3 times a week or wants the variety of different types of healthy experiences.

Are there enough of them? Time will tell. But whether Lymber works or not, this latest twist on the dynamic pricing front was impossible before technology enabled real-time comparative inventory and pricing.