How early should I open registrations? (It’s much earlier than you think)

Olivier Rousseau
29 October 2022 2 min read

Last fall, I wanted to register my oldest for a dance lesson. Visited the dance studio’s website ready to purchase.

But registrations had not started yet.

A few days go by and I completely forget to register my son. When I remembered, I had missed the first few weeks and didn’t bother to sign him up.

I ended up choosing a competitor’s studio in the winter session.

My son loved it.

They lost my whole family (3 kids) to their competitor.

How this story could (or should) have ended very differently.

All the dance studio needed to was open registrations much earlier to turn us into clients. As an operator, I know it’s not that simple.

I can already hear the excuses popping in your head:

“But I haven’t confirmed the location yet.”
“Not sure if I’ll have the staff”
“No one will register that early”
“My business is unique and this would never work in our industry.”

Ok… so say I accept your (somewhat lame) excuses. 

I can still help you avoid losing clients for simply not having registrations up early enough. With one simple tweak.

A reminder form

How to create a reminder form for registrations

  1. Put your classes/camps up online before anything is finalized. (sorry to all you perfectionists)
  2. Set everything up with approximate dates & times (stay with me)
  3. Change the registration link to a reminder form (click here for an example)
  4. Send an SMS/Email reminder 24 hours before registrations start. 

Reminder form workflow to increase revenue


As a busy dad with 3 young kids, I love this.

One less thing to think about. 

Why earlier registrations will change your business

But as a kids sports business owner, I love it even more.

Here is why:

We recently had over 112 people fill out a reminder form before registrations for a program that only had 42 spots. 

This allowed us to review our class offering. We tweaked the age groups and added more classes. When registrations opened, classes filled out in a few hours (some even in minutes).

  • No one was lost to a competitor
  • Parents were delighted to get a reminder
  • Added a few hundred bucks to our bottom line (from that class alone)

Pro tip: Give people the option between an email or SMS reminder.

Why this works so well

Every participant that registers early, acts as an ambassador for your program or camp. People will start talking to friends and family letting them know they registered to this or that program.

They’ll sell your classes or camps for you at a time where people might not yet be able to sign up with a competitor (unless they’re also reading this article).

This leads to an early kick start to organic word-of-mouth which has a snowball effect when most people start registering. 

It also trains your clients to register early if they want a spot. As people get used to this, they’ll start registering a bit earlier every session. You’ll get early data in regards to popular classes/time/day and how them to staff accordingly.

Earlier registrations allow you to pivot and make strategic changes to your offering so you can optimize for efficiency and profits.

If you google why you should register early for summer camp you get dozens of articles from parenting blogs telling parents to register early. You need to make sure you’re prepared.

So make sure your activities (or at least a reminder form) are ready for parents and participants when they visit your site. And do it much earlier than you think.

Written by Olivier Rousseau Olivier is a kids sports programs owner who has been operating for over a decade with locations in Montreal, Quebec city & Ottawa. He also helps Gymnastics Club, Swim Schools and Dance Studios streamline their operations. He is the co-founder of Activity Messenger an online registration platform for the sports & leisure industry.

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