Getting our clubs open again
As more and more of the country ease restrictions on activities, it’s a safe bet that soon, your club or facilities will open back up—in some form—to members and the public. While we’re all still feeling our way around this “new normal,” it’s pretty clear that there will be many changes in operating procedures moving forward and that facilities will probably realize less revenue than normal, while having to cover some new expenses.
In the first phase of these tennis facility reopenings, I believe we’ll see about a third of all members/players excited to jump immediately back onto the court with both feet. Another one-third of members will probably have some hesitation about safety as long as there remain many questions about the COVID-19 virus, and may need to be reassured that they’ll be safe at your facility. The final one-third of members/players will most likely stay at home a bit longer because they are over 65 or have underlying health conditions.
This new reality means facility owners and managers will have a number of decisions to make:
- Should you open right away, at the first opportunity, or should you wait a little longer as more becomes known about the spread of COVID-19?
- Do you bill dues to those members who might not use the club?
- How many and which employees do you hire back, since facility usage will be way down?
- Do you change any employee compensation packages because of reduced revenue?
- Do employees even want to come back to work, when in many cases, they may be making more on unemployment with the federal aid?
- What new sanitizing procedures do you need to put in place, and how much will this cost you? How are you communicating these new procedures to your members and players?
- How many members can you allow in the facility or building?
- When will you be able to open food and beverage?
- Do you allow doubles play?
There are certainly many more questions, and the right thing to do will vary by facility and location.
My suggestion, based on years of consulting with tennis facilities, clubs, teaching pros and other tennis providers, is to have your whole team involved in the discussions about opening back up again. This way, you’ll ensure that you’ll be making the best decisions for your club, employees and players.
Doug Cash, a PTR and USPTA pro, is CEO of CashFlowTennis, a consulting company for club owners and tennis professionals. He is the former COO of Tennis Corporation of America (Midtown Clubs).