Are Your Club’s Amenities Too Popular? Reservation Lotteries May Be the Answer

Due to a perfect storm of factors at play, many private clubs have seen increased demand for their most popular services and amenities.

Country clubs have seen an increase in memberships as city dwellers have moved to more suburban areas and joined clubs seeking a sense of community.

Meanwhile, golf play has increased post-pandemic as it provided a safe outlet for outdoor socialization.

Some clubs took advantage of pandemic-related closures to perform capital improvements for coveted amenities such as dining and fitness. Construction always takes a substantial amount of time, but with recent supply chain delays, these renovations have extended past their anticipated deadlines.

Add the ‘great resignation’ into the mix, which has significantly impacted the hospitality industry, along with difficulties getting seasonal worker visas in the United States, and many clubs (particularly here in south Florida) have had to close dining outlets and other amenities.

Increased demand, combined with renovation delays as well as staffing shortages have made it harder for members to gain access to their clubs.

For clubs in season, pool and beach chairs fill up in minutes, dining reservations during peak times are scarce, and tee times between 7 – 9am, forget it.

The predominant perception of the membership is that some members gain access, while some feel continually locked out, creating frustration among members who feel left out of using a club they pay good money to belong to.

So, what are clubs to do to keep their members satisfied? The answer is to even the playing field. This can be accomplished with reservation lotteries.

You may be familiar with the concept of a golf tee time lottery, but many clubs have not yet considered adding lotteries for additional amenities such as dining reservations, beach and pool chairs, and racquet courts.

Reservation lotteries work on a system of points. A robust lottery system should provide flexible rules for calculating points and distributing reservations. Points can be assigned based on a member’s usage frequency and consider how often a member wins their first-choice reservation time. Rules can also consider membership type, member demographics such as age or gender, guest usage, peak/non-peak times, board membership, or committee/association membership, and more.

Points can also be removed to penalize members for things such as last-minute cancellations or no-shows.

A lottery system does not have to be a full-time switch. A robust reservations lottery software system should allow you to specify which timeframes to use the lottery versus first come first served reservations. That way, whether you have limited facilities open, or during holidays and busy season, you can dictate when a lottery system might be needed to make reservations fairer for your members.

If your current software system does not provide reservations lotteries for amenities beyond tee times, reach out to info@mycobaltsoftware.com to learn more about the most flexible club management platform available today.

Lia Little
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