Club Insider

How A Club Keeps Changing To Stay The Best in Their Market

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Bruce CarterBruce Carter

The need to renovate a club is like the need to renovate your body. No matter what, if you do not keep up with the latest exercise and nutrition, your body ages and becomes a shadow of what it once was, and you are not able to effectively be the most productive you can be. So it is with a club. Not renovating lessens your competitive ability, and slowly, your club can "whither" away. Oh sure, maybe you can hang on... but the profits are never the same.

Then, there are clubs that are continually proactive in a changing marketplace. They do not wait and let competition come and then react. They know that they need to keep making changes with their club, sometimes small changes, and other times, more significant changes.

The Weymouth Club in Weymouth, Massachusetts has been in business since the 1970s and was the subject of a Club Insider Cover Story in April 2012. They have grown, space by space, to over 150,000 square feet. Their service and member programming is clearly exceptional. Yet, with many new clubs opening, including lower-priced models, once again, they decided to follow a plan for renovations in different phases to stay at the top of the marketplace and maintain their healthy prices.

  • Weymouth Club Locker Room (Before)
  • Weymouth Club Locker Room (After)

As always, in any renovation, decisions have to be made as to where to prioritize the expenditures. Usually, this is divided into three categories. One is looking how to add more revenue as a result of the renovation, including creating new spaces that can add dues revenue but also non-dues revenue. The second area is the all important interior environment and d├ęcor of the club. The goal here should be to create new levels of the "wow" factor. This obviously affects new membership sales but also motivates people to retain their memberships. The third decision is to decide what to do first and how to best divide up what needs to be done into phases so renovation expenses do not overwhelm the club.

"Impact dollars" is a term that is used to help create a plan and set priorities. High impact dollars will get the highest return on investment, create the most excitement and increase member satisfaction. Low impact dollars means spending renovation dollars unwisely, misjudging what will do the most good. It should be noted that, at times, a renovation calls for "unglamorous" expenses, such as fixing an HVAC system or getting rid of mold, but these are absolutely necessary.

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