When it comes to club management, two goals are at the top of every manager’s list – increased membership satisfaction and growth in profit. There is a myriad of ways to achieve these objectives including an often-overlooked opportunity – the strategic use of shade.
The popularity of al fresco dining is on the upswing and at private clubs, there’s no exception. Nothing quite compares to enjoying a drink & a meal, outdoors, with your friends and family. To cater to this trend, most clubs have responded with outdoor dining facilities on decks and patios.
These new areas are popping up everywhere but there’s often a missing element in their design and implementation, the strategic use of shade.
What is strategic use of shade?
There are questions that you, the club manager should ask when designing and managing your outdoor areas with shade in mind. It’s a bit more than just installing as many umbrellas as possible and calling it a day. Why not ask yourself:
Are our umbrellas providing the best sun protection year-round?
Do the colors and designs of our umbrellas complement and enhance our existing environment?
Is our shade solution easy for staff to operate and maintain?
And most importantly: Is our shade being used to increase member retention, attract new members and support growing profits. Members will be happy to kick back and relax in an enjoyable, well-designed space which can result in members spending more money.
As a club manager, you can enhance your outdoor dining area by implementing these actions to create a unique and inviting outdoor dining experience. Create the signature experience that current & prospective members are looking for with tables, chairs and premium shade solutions to improve your outdoor area for dining, relaxing and special events.
Start by analysing how the area is used. Have a look at the environmental factors, prevailing wind, sun direction around the year and, of course, a layout that’s going to increase dwell time. Think about the aesthetics of your space and how you want members to feel about themselves and the space whilst they’re there. It’s also important to consider mounting options. By having permanent mountings and large covered areas you’ll have the flexibility of arranging the layout of tables & chairs for events and the sun’s ever-changing position throughout the year. Protection from the elements is also important to ensure your members feel comfortable remaining on site during a brief rain shower or a bit of wind chill.
Choosing the color of your canopies is an important decision – look at your existing branding, colors associated with your location and the natural hues of your environment. Classic golf green for a golf club, blues for a yacht club on the bay or a clean white for your exclusive country club. Simple, intuitive deployment and low maintenance is also key in choosing your shade. Your staff can’t be wasting time & energy fighting with unwieldy shade systems. Staff time is better spend looking after members and improving their experience.
The days of clubs selecting off-the-shelf umbrellas for dining areas has passed. Private clubs that want to create outdoor areas that support membership recruitment and retention while increasing revenues must adopt a more strategic approach. If there’s one element of your outdoor space where you’ll want to invest in premium products, it’s your shading solution. Shade is one of the most important elements in making the outside area comfortable, and improves the revenue you bring in.
Your strategic approach to shade should be centered around your operational objectives, the natural environment and member satisfaction. Clubs that follow this approach will invest in shade structures that are in line with your club’s aesthetics while ensuring ease of use and minimal maintenance so that staff can focus their attention on guests, rather than struggling with unintuitive and complex umbrellas.
Every club can achieve great results by following a more thoughtful and strategic approach to meeting the most basic of human needs, protection from the elements, while they’re enjoying time outdoors with friends and family.