Term-based vs. Perpetual: The Lesson-based Dilemma

Planning ahead for 2024
October 12, 2023

Will you opt for the structured, term-based approach or embrace the flexible, perpetual model?

Ah, the age-old debate of "term-based" vs. "perpetual" booking methodologies in the world of sports and education businesses. It's a question often asked by businesses owners as they consider optimal ways to operate their organisations. Here’s an overview of both methodologies and the pros and cons of both. 

Term Booking

Term booking refers to a class or course booking system where participants enrol for a predetermined period, often with a fixed start and end date (usually following the school term). These bookings typically have a structured curriculum and set session dates. Fees are raised for the period of the term; most businesses will then roll over the term and include the sessions and bookings so that customers will remain booked in for the following term.

When using Udio for term booking in sports or education, businesses can create and manage classes that run for specific durations, such as a 10-week yoga course or a semester-long programming class. Udio helps instructors and organisations set up these term-based classes with defined schedules and curriculum plans, facilitating enrolment, payment processing, and attendance tracking for each term.

Perpetual Booking

Perpetual booking, on the other hand, involves a flexible class booking system where participants can join classes on an ongoing basis without a fixed start or end date. It offers continuous access to classes, often with a pay-as-you-go or subscription-based model. For these programs, fees are usually raised weekly, fortnightly or monthly.

Udio allows businesses to implement perpetual booking for sports and education classes,  catering to participants who prefer flexibility. This means customers can drop in for a yoga session or a language lesson whenever it suits them, without committing to a specific term. Udio manages the scheduling, payment collection, and attendance tracking for these ongoing classes, providing ease of use for both businesses and participants.

Differences Between Term Booking and Perpetual Booking 

  1. Duration: Term: booking has a fixed duration, while perpetual booking is ongoing and doesn't adhere to specific terms.
  1. Structure: Term booking follows a structured curriculum and session schedule, while perpetual booking offers flexibility for participants to choose sessions as they wish.
  1. Payment: Term booking often involves paying for the entire term upfront, whereas perpetual booking typically involves pay-as-you-go or subscription-based payment models.
  1. Community: Term booking can foster a sense of community among participants who go through the entire term together, while perpetual booking may have a more fluid and variable group of participants.
  1. Revenue Model: Term booking provides predictable revenue per term, while perpetual booking offers a continuous but potentially less predictable revenue stream.
  1. Marketing Approach: Term booking allows businesses to promote specific term start dates, while perpetual booking requires ongoing marketing efforts to attract participants.

Let's explore the pros and cons of both "term-based" and "perpetual" booking methodologies.

Term-Based Booking


Structured Learning:

Term-based classes provide a structured and predictable learning environment, making it easier for instructors to plan their curriculum and for students to track their progress.

Community Building:

Over a fixed term, participants often form a strong sense of community, bonding with fellow students and fostering a supportive learning atmosphere.

Revenue Predictability:

For businesses, term-based bookings offer revenue predictability, as students commit to a set number of sessions in advance.

Targeted Marketing:

Businesses can market term-based classes effectively by promoting upcoming sessions, creating buzz, and attracting a dedicated student base.


Term-based makes it easy for parents to follow as classes run alongside school terms. Additional school holiday programs can be set up to increase revenue and fast-track student progression.


Limited Flexibility:

Term-based classes may be less accommodating for participants with unpredictable schedules or those who wish to drop in occasionally.

Higher Entry Barrier:

Some students might hesitate to commit to a full term upfront, especially if they're uncertain about their availability or interest in the class.

Administrative Overhead:

Managing term-based classes requires handling enrolments, payments, and logistics for each term, which can be time-consuming. Plus, finding staff can be more difficult if they won't be working during holidays.

Disrupted Cashflow:

As fees are only paid per term, your cashflow during holidays is disrupted (given you are not running a school holiday program).

Perpetual Booking



Perpetual booking offers maximum flexibility, allowing participants to join classes whenever it suits them, making it ideal for drop-in activities like fitness centers or one-off workshops.

Continuous Revenue Stream:

Businesses benefit from a steady flow of income as participants pay for classes as they go, reducing the impact of no-shows.

Easy Scaling:

It's easier to scale and adjust class offerings based on demand since there are no predefined terms or commitments.

Appeals to a Broader Audience:

Perpetual booking appeals to individuals with varying schedules, attracting a more diverse customer base.

Maintained Progression:

Since there are no breaks between programs, student progression can be maintained.


Lack of Community:

Continuous drop-in classes may not foster the same sense of community as term-based ones, as participants may vary from session to session.

Unpredictable Revenue:

While revenue may be consistent, it can be less predictable compared to term-based models, which can make financial planning more challenging.

Marketing Challenges:

Marketing perpetual classes can be trickier, as there are no distinct "start dates" to promote. Businesses need to employ ongoing marketing strategies to maintain interest.

The Verdict

At the end of the day, we unfortunately cannot make the decision for you. You have to choose the approach that best suits your unique business needs and depends on your target audience and the type of lessons you offer.

Here are some questions to consider when making your choice? 

  1. Who is your Audience? 
    Are your students more likely to commit to a set term or prefer the flexibility of continuous enrolment? 
  2. What Type of Lessons do you offer? 
    Is your instruction group-based or individualised? 
  3. Do you prioritise Predictable Revenue or Flexibility? 
    What's more critical to your business's financial stability? 
  4. Are you equipped to handle Student Turnover? 
    Perpetual models often involve more frequent enrolment changes

Ultimately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Udio accommodates both "term-based" and "perpetual" booking methodologies offering businesses the flexibility to choose the approach that best suits their unique needs. Term-based booking provides structure and community, while perpetual booking offers flexibility and continuous revenue. The choice ultimately depends on the specific goals, target audience, and nature of the sports or education business.

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