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Roundtable Recap: The Road to Rebuilding


On May 27, REX Roundtables and Club Solutions Magazine presented the eighth installment of a weekly virtual roundtable series aimed at helping clubs navigate through the COVID-19 crisis, sponsored by Sports Solutions.

Panelists included Larry Conner, the president of Stone Creek Club & Spa; Stephanie Coulon, the member services and marketing manager of Stone Creek Club & Spa; Bill McBride, the co-founder, president and CEO of Active Wellness; and Blair McHaney, the CEO of MXM and owner of WORX health clubs. The discussion was led and moderated by Brent Darden, the founder of Brent Darden Consulting and chair of REX Roundtables.

Following is a summary of top takeaways from the discussion, including why it’s important to get involved at the local and state levels, communication strategies and more. 

Highlights from the Discussion

  • The panel highlighted the importance of the industry working together during this time. As an example, Conner explained he worked with a number of competitors in his area to have clubs included in Phase 1 of reopening plans. “It really made an impact, all of us working together,” he said. 
  • In terms of marketing, Coulon stressed the importance of using all the channels at your disposal to communicate with members, including text, email, social, etc. In addition, if you don’t have an answer to a question, just say so. 
  • Stone Creek is charging full dues upon reopening, though some services are still closed. 
  • If considering reopening without approval from your state and local governments, McBride advised doing a full risk assessment prior, thinking through potential bad PR and liability. “Look at risk from a strategic lense,” he said. 
  • When developing new policies and procedures, consider using language your states are using and incorporate the exact lingo. This will help in case you’re audited.
  • The panel agreed clubs need to take cleaning, sanitizing and social distancing practices seriously. It just takes one person with a cell phone posting to social media to create a PR nightmare. 
  • Consider working flexibility into your cancelation and freezing policies. 
  • Many clubs are reporting that upon reopening, within a couple weeks they’re back to 70-85% of billings compared to pre-shutdown. However, there is a huge loss in non-dues revenue. As a result, look to virtual opportunities. How can you build virtual into your club setting to increase the value of a membership? This could even include non-activity based virtual offerings, such as wellness or mental health virtual classes. Think beyond fitness to lifestyle. 
  • “Welcome Back” videos have been a huge hit with members. 
  • The panel advised becoming a part of a network of some sort so you can lean on others. This will be vital to your success moving forward and for future crises. 
  • Become involved with your local government. This will ensure you have a seat at the table and aren’t left in the dark. It will also ensure your local government truly understands how clubs operate.  
  • Interested in learning more about this episode’s sponsor, Sports Solutions? Click here for information on the company and its “virus killer” sanitizing spray to ensure safe environments upon reopening. 

To access the on-demand version of this webinar, click here.

UPCOMING: Don’t miss the ninth installment of our virtual roundtable series, “Successful Strategies for Shaping Your Future: Ensuring Staff Readiness” on June 3 at 2 p.m. EST, in partnership with REX Roundtables and Club Solutions Magazine and sponsored by Promotion Vault. Limited seats are available. Click here to reserve your spot.

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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