The H. Chambers Company

Archive for the ‘Down to Business’ Category

Is Hiring a Membership Director Worth It?


It is impossible to ignore the vast utilization shifts occurring in private clubs around the world. Once acknowledged, however, club leaders can find themselves feeling overwhelmed or struggling to know how best to welcome these changes with an appropriate strategy.

Holding tight to processes and techniques of years past aren’t going to help see your club through the coming years. A proper communication plan and brand image within your club is critical in relation to member engagement, retention, culture and overall satisfaction. Which leads many to an important question—who is the best person to help set these efforts in motion? Is hiring a Membership Director the answer?


Down to Business:
Making the Most of Your Club’s F&B Department


It is often said that the kitchen is the heart of any private club. A club’s food and beverage department is one of the most important aspects of the private club experience—the one amenity that every member in the club utilizes. And while increasing F&B revenue isn’t a magical solution to improve a club’s financial position, it can certainly help.

When it comes to the bottom line, there are two clear ingredients: revenue and cost. The obvious goal is to increase revenue while reducing costs wherever possible. But this doesn’t necessarily mean increasing prices and cutting back on labor costs or hours of operation. Instead, clubs must implement dining practices that cater to member needs and encourage increased utilization (thereby increasing revenue), and carefully study F&B operational costs to determine opportunities for greater efficiency. Oftentimes, this inefficiency can be found in energy costs associated with the equipment itself.

In the end, augmenting increased utilization with energy savings can make the difference, helping clubs maximize the potential of the F&B department as a whole.


Holistic Perspectives:
What Sets Private Club Interior Designers & Residential Designers Apart

When it comes time to renovate your club’s interiors, it can be tempting to hire the residential designer that is a ‘friend of a friend’. After all, relationships and personal recommendations are a powerful thing. However, this line of thinking is a common pitfall for clubs, and often ends up costing hundreds—or even thousands—of dollars. “Furnishings must look like an extension of one’s home, but perform as if in a college dormitory” says Rick Snellinger, Chambers’ President and CEO.

What exactly makes an experienced private club designer more qualified than a residential designer for these projects? Here are some of the unique considerations that private club designers take into account during the design process…


The Art of Planning on a Budget:
Four Value-Driven Qualities to Search for in a Master Planning Firm


It is no surprise that selecting the right planning partner can make or break a club’s master planning process. You want facilities that wow current members, improvements that strengthen operations, and amenities that attract prospective members… all at a price point that suits your club’s budget.

While a plan’s features are certainly important, the numbers that support the plan usually garner the most attention from members. Remaining within – and preferably well below – budget is essential, but it can also be one of the most difficult aspects of the planning process. “One of the greatest challenges any master planning company faces is providing a high level of value while remaining within budget,“ says Chambers’ Vice President and Director of Planning John Snellinger, “We want to give members exactly what they want without eclipsing the club’s financial restrictions.”

It may be challenging, but it’s definitely not impossible. There are qualities you can search for in your planning firm that will help you gain the most value from your plan – financially and otherwise. To maximize the benefits of the master planning process, a club’s ideal planning firm will… (more…)

Repair or Replace
Taking a Proactive Approach to Club Maintenance

Repairing Private Club FacilitiesDespite the economy’s growing strength, clubs are still feeling the burn from the Great Recession.  During the economic downturn, many private clubs retired their full-time maintenance staff in favor of yearly consultants and “band aid” maintenance solutions. This left many general managers with ill-maintained clubs that were held together by shoestring budgets and duct tape. Now that prospects are brighter, it’s become more important than ever to repair neglected areas – and proactively approach to facility maintenance in the future.

The state of the economy aside, there’s an endless number of reasons to stay on top of club maintenance: diminished member experience, potential long-term costs, safety issues, liability concerns… you get the idea. But taking a smart approach to club maintenance is easier said than done.

What are common problem areas for clubs?

One of the most common areas requiring regular maintenance is the club’s HVAC system. Though most units will run strong for 15-20 years, they need regular maintenance to operate at optimum levels and live to their full potential. A failing HVAC system will not jeopardize any buildings, but it’ll most certainly inconvenience members. Keep an eye on your HVAC systems and service them regularly – before they go down.


Let’s Give Them a Warm (and Helpful) Welcome!

Building a knockout Board Orientation program

Helpful Private Club Board Orientation Tips

Considering that the Board determines the future of your club in a multitude of ways, it is important to get each and every Board Member started on the right foot. Creating a thoughtful orientation program can make the difference between a productive Board Member and a frustrated (or apathetic) Board Member. An excellent Orientation should leave a new Board Member feeling secure in their position and excited to begin forging a bright future for the club! Of course, this is easier said than done.

Let’s take a peek at the essential components of a successful Board Orientation…