No longer merely a place to stash a jacket or purse, today’s locker-room facilities offer members and guests a robust venue for transitioning from home to recreation, and back again.
Your greens are meticulous. Your lobby is inviting. Your fitness equipment sparkles. But what about your locker rooms?
If it’s been a while since you’ve paid attention to this part of your facility (beyond routine cleaning and stocking supplies), it’s time to change course. Members expect locker rooms to not only serve as a secure place to keep their personal belongings, but also function as a transitional space between home and the club.
“In our ladies’ locker room, we have a lounge area with a spectacular view. It’s where relaxation and socializing occurs,” notes Joëlle Sarette Creamer, Director of Sales and Marketing at Manchester Country Club, Bedford, N.H. “In our gentlemen’s locker room, our club is in the process of completing a lounge area for the men, which will feature soft seating, flatscreen TVs and card tables. It will be serviced by our food-and-beverage staff.”
|SUMMING IT UP
Jeff Heilbrun, General Manager/COO of Snake River Sporting Club, Jackson Hole, Wyo., is with a company that rescued the property from bankruptcy while it was still under construction. “[The club] was 90 percent complete in early 2013, but we just recently opened to members,” he explains. While Heilbrun’s team decided to go with the previous owners’ layout for locker facilities, they were able to choose its finishing touches. That meant building on a Western theme, including ruggedly elegant wooden lockers with brass nameplates and leather benches sprinkled throughout.
“There are no TVs, sitting spaces or food, but that’s because we’re at a trailhead in a national forest,” says Heilbrun. “It’s a space where you come in from riding a horse, golfing or hiking, and take a shower before dinner.”
But that’s not to say Snake River’s facilities aren’t surrounded by comfort and beauty, he adds: “You don’t feel like you want to get out of there as quickly as you can.”
Space for All Ages
At Treehouse Athletic Club in Draper, Utah, locker facilities are such an important part of the club, they’re treated to a revitalization project every couple of years, reports General Manager Annemarie Christopulos. Most recently, she says, the 15-year-old facility added sitting rooms to a common area between the men’s and ladies’ locker rooms.
“We have Wi-Fi throughout the facilities, and I’d say that’s one of our biggest challenges—to ask members to keep their cell phones off in the locker rooms, to keep it a relaxing space,” Christopulos says.
Treehouse also maintains a serene environment for members in the changing areas by giving kids and teens their own facilities. “We have a family locker area, with changing tables and oversized bathroom stalls, and a junior locker area for 10- to 15-year-olds [with separate wings for males and females],” Christopulos explains. “Those areas are a little more ‘industrialized,’ to keep up with the wear and tear.”
Just like their men’s and ladies’ locker room counterparts, Treehouse’s family and junior areas are well-stocked with such amenities as complimentary towels, deodorants, lotions, cotton balls and cotton tips. However, extras like fluffy robes for going to and from the pool area, and even ironing boards and irons, are offered only to adults.
Kids being kids, Christopulos admits the junior area can require extra maintenance rounds during the summer. But for the most part, she says, the teens are respectful of the space and seem appreciative of having soaps, shampoos and other amenities that are aimed more at their demographic.
|Extra Services, Extra Revenue
Going the extra mile for members can pay dividends—not only in good will, but to the bottom line.Joëlle Sarette Creamer, Director of Sales and Marketing for Manchester Country Club, Bedford, N.H., notes that her club recently hired a contracted massage therapist to offer massage services directly to the membership. The club charges member house accounts and takes a percentage.
“We’ve had to market it, and will likely need to continue to do so to maintain exposure for the service,” she reports. “But feedback is very positive thus far.”
Treehouse Athletic Club, Draper, Utah, offers an executive locker room upgrade for members. For both male and female facilities at the executive level (which includes brass nameplates on the men’s lockers), fruit and water are complimentary. The ultimate perk of the upgrade, however, is the laundering service: The club launders athletic wear on-site, so a fresh change of clothes is ready as soon as members walk in the door.
“It’s simply a monthly fee added to membership to go to the executive level,” explains General Manager Annemarie Christopulos. “It’s been fairly popular.”
At Manchester CC, Creamer notes, the men’s locker room renovation, completed in the summer of 2013, was a big upgrade to what the club had previously. The old standard, metal-faced lockers were replaced with full-length, large wood-faced lockers, for example.
“A steam room and sauna were added, and shower facilities were completely renovated, keeping a large number of them to service the high volume in our locker rooms,” she says. Members appreciate not having to wait in line for a shower, hair dryer or other changing-room activity, she adds.
While water areas such as steam rooms, saunas and whirlpools are a relatively new trend inside locker room facilities—and a popular one—Christopulos notes there can be a downside: “It doesn’t take much for water to get where it’s not supposed to!” Frequently regrouting tile in water areas, she says, is critical to keeping any water damage to a minimum. It also brings a like-new look and sense of cleanliness to the area.
One of his favorite things about the locker-room facilities at Snake River, Heilbrun says, is that both the men’s and ladies’ rooms “each have two entrances and exits, one from inside and one from outside the clubhouse. There’s a large deck around the clubhouse, and both go to it.”
This makes access easy when hosting a wedding or other event, he adds, where multiple visitors who may not be familiar with the property can easily find their way around, and it avoids the congestion that a single doorway for the facilities would cause.
Most of Manchester CC’s locker-room area renovations are complete, with the exception of a new sitting area/business center—an area that members expressed a desire for, Creamer says. “Other small improvements will be implemented as members’ needs are evaluated,” she adds.
One detail that is important to members but often overlooked, says Creamer, is the selection of toiletries for the locker-room facilities. “Be sure to choose a brand that reflects your own high-end brand,” she advises.
Christopulos agrees. “When our vendors bring us new products, we often give samples to members to take home and report what they think,” she says. “Member feedback is how we chose our current body wash, shampoo and conditioner offerings in the wet areas.”
While keeping up with the latest trends and technology is always important, Christopulos points to one tried-and-true, low-tech factor as also being key to a desirable locker room area: hospitality.
“We work hard to create an atmosphere there that is more relaxing than the rest of the club,” she says. “We try to provide a sense of place, whether they need serenity after a busy day of work or after their workout—or, if they come to us [in the morning], we want to be a place that energizes them as they start their day.”