Scott has been an Executive Director of Tennis with 30 years’ experience at private clubs, public facilities, and resorts.
Scott is considered an industry leader in first-class facility management, junior and adult coaching, and program design and implementation.
As CEO, Premier Tennis Consulting providing innovative and profitable solutions for clubs/facilities and professional tournaments. He has been involved in some of the largest and most prestigious facilities in the U.S. and many of the worlds’ leading professional tennis tournaments.
He is married to Ashley a former Florida State University player and ACC doubles champion and they have 3 children, Brady-11 and girl/boy twins, Brooklyn and Cason, 8 years.
Solutions for Quick Growth for your Facility
By Scott Mitchell
The tennis industry has some unique challenges and has for many years. One is that the Director of Tennis or the top position on the tennis side at any club or facility wears way too many hats. With the new environment, we now live in this won’t get any easier as facilities look to cut costs and downsize. Directors are tasked with operations of a facility, management of the staff, program design and implementation, teach, in many cases maintenance, analytics, oh, and if you have time, the most important element… grow and retain membership.
Some clubs and facilities in our industry are fortunate to have someone responsible for growing and retaining membership. This person is usually the membership coordinator, director of membership, or director of member engagement. They also typically wear too many hats trying to grow membership and staying connected with future members, the community as a whole, and getting as much foot traffic to the facility as possible. Once the future member is on-site, it is now time to set up a tour, who leads the tour, what information needs to be presented and then all of the follow up that happens and how soon to reach out once they have left. We haven’t even discussed the retention aspect, which is even more important. Nor have we discussed the continuous communication that needs to happen from this position and from all the other positions within the facility. We also know that program growth and past dues collections is another hat that this position just might wear.
As you can see there is so much for one person to do and even if the Director of Tennis has an additional position, where do you find the time to get any of this done and be effective? We know that not only are these items extremely important, but the 1-1 communication between the staff, future, and current members is vital to your growth and success. All of this is great and might work fairly well for some, if the employee in this position does all of these tasks, shows up routinely with a great work ethic, and never calls in sick. These roles and responsibilities are so vital that they must be done well and with an employee that can multi-task.
There is also the cost of acquiring a new member and the employee cost and time to do these responsibilities. Employees cost facilities thousands of dollars to do each of their roles. They typically cost a facility 1.25 times what their salary is. This is a huge investment for any facility, even the largest of ones. It puts quite a bit of stress on the facility as well as the employee to grow the facility in several areas. Now it doesn’t mean that other positions on staff aren’t also responsible for growth but at the end of the day, the responsibilities fall on the Director of Tennis or Membership Director. It is a daunting task and will eventually lead to burnout of those that have to oversee so much of these important areas.
There are too many stories of new members coming into a facility, not knowing anyone, not really sure what program to be in, what group to play with, and what pro to get lessons from. Facilities that have a process in place that connects people in many different ways are finding great success. The issues come back to simply, there are a lot of elements that need focus and not enough time. I have spent much of the last several years helping facilities that are struggling with this process. Once we have a new process, it inevitably then leads to growing revenue, participation, and membership. It’s a much bigger process than most facilities believe but getting the right people in place and a solid process allows growth to happen quickly.
My focus, specifically over the last several months has been to really look at how we can help facilities grow and be very successful and cost less. A fraction of the cost from what we have been used to in our industry for decades. One of my goals with my company is to provide support to the facility with a team that can focus on getting 20-30% growth, 50% attrition, and fills 95% of their programs. If a facility has someone dedicated to overseeing membership, how can we support them so that they can spend much of their time with member appreciation events, socials, and adding the customer experience elements that I have provided in previous articles?
The solution for many facilities and clubs is a difficult one as everything we discussed is vital to the success. Budgets and time management will dictate much if not most of these. You might not have enough in the budget to hire a part-time or full-time employee that can focus on growing and retaining membership. You might have teaching staff that simply don’t have the time or interest in doing these off-court responsibilities. If you are able to focus on these areas, coming up with a process, roles, and responsibilities for staff and holding staff accountable for each of these will be the first step. As you can see growth, retention, full programs, past dues, and 1-1 communication all need to be at the top of the list when focused on success. Many of the larger facilities or private clubs are set up to provide much of this for their amenities. The smaller clubs or facilities just don’t have the resources. That is where I would recommend reaching out to me and let’s walk through a plan that will quickly get you growing.
Tennis has a huge opportunity like never before so I am offering a support team to help facilities of all sizes grow and be successful. If you or someone you know is interested in additional information please contact me to discuss putting a plan in place for GROWTH.