Bill Jankowski, General Manager of Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase, Md. says each new season is an opportunity to implement new employee training, make improvements to the employee onboarding process, and educate the team on the latest and greatest private club best practices and industry trends.
By Bill Jankowski, General Manager; Columbia Country Club, Chevy Chase, Md.
There is no question that many clubs are experiencing all-time highs with new membership and usage. Countless clubs have launched golf course and clubhouse renovations over the past few years, as well as many other long-awaited capital projects to address deferred maintenance and to keep up with member demand.
But with increased member demand and new capital projects comes heightened member expectations. As we begin each new season the main objective is clear, deliver the best possible experience to the members, their families, and their guests.
To achieve this objective, it all starts with the staff. The staff is the club’s No. 1 asset and without a talented and dedicated team of professionals, the club experience simply will not meet the membership expectation.
Promoting a positive, high-energy work environment while providing the team with the tools, mentorship and support is key. Each new season is an opportunity to implement new employee training, make improvements to the employee onboarding process, and educate the team on the latest and greatest private club best practices and industry trends:
• Set the expectation (the bar) and never go below it … no matter what.
• Train, train, and train again. Let your staff know why it’s so important for the member experience and their personal development.
• Set goals and timelines, reward progress, recognize staff, take before-and-after pictures of projects and boast accomplishments.
• Inspect what you expect.
• Encourage mistakes. They are going to happen and it’s necessary for growth and development.
Another essential focus when gearing up for the new season is the constant development of new and innovative member experiences. This can range from new golf or tennis tournaments, unique family programming, or exclusive culinary events.
Empower your team to think outside the box and try new things. You never know what they may come up with that could become your club’s next annual tradition. The wants and desires of members are constantly evolving so it’s important to consistently look for ways to build new excitement every time the member comes down your driveway.
Equally important to developing new and innovative member experiences is the way in which you communicate it. Have you ever heard this? “Wow! That event sounded like so much fun! We would have attended if we knew about it.”
In some cases, driving attendance and popularity to new events and programming takes more than a standalone e-mail or a blurb in the weekly update. It takes using every tool in your tool belt, such as educating the staff to sell it at the dinner table, getting board and committee members to spread the word, or interactive videos with the staff highlighting the event and showing their excitement. We want to generate a level of buzz and excitement where members can’t wait to see what the club will come up with next.