Creature Comforts: Locker rooms that are attractive yet functional are key to retaining your members.
By John Torsiello
High-definition televisions, complimentary Wi-Fi, smartphone charging stations, massage chairs, food and beverages, service-to-go capability via a club app, heated towels, eucalyptus steam, shoe shines: those are just a few of the creature comforts planned for the new men’s and women’s locker rooms at the Houston (Texas) Tennis Club, which is being renovated.
“We want our locker rooms to be timeless, not too contemporary and trendy — or too old school — but also warm, inviting, relaxing, convenient,” says Thomas Preuml, the club’s COO and general manager.
At Atlanta’s Windy Hill Athletic Club, players can access an “executive locker room” for a small fee, says General Manager Karen Parker, where they have a permanent locker and TV lounge area. There is a separate bathroom and shower, as well as laundry service.
Keep Members Happy
“Attractive, functional locker rooms are key to member retention,” says Christa Plaza, principal and architect at Colorado-based Essenza Architecture. “Although there are a lot of tennis club members who like the comfort of their own homes to shower and get ready, there are still numerous tennis players who will use the club’s facilities.”
Another key to keeping members happy is by keeping the locker rooms clean. Make sure you and your staff check them and clean them frequently.
Plaza says that every tennis facility, regardless of its physical size and membership numbers, should create attractive and functional locker rooms. “Tennis clubs should always have an option for their members to shower and go to their next event of the day,” she says. “Know the demographics of your members and what they are looking for in a tennis facility.”
Member surveys can provide a wealth of information in determining what they expect in a locker room. “There are numerous materials and options to create a beautiful locker room that is within a club’s budget.”
Working Within a Budget
There are inexpensive accessories clubs can add to their locker rooms that make a big difference, items often seen in spas, such as lotion, shaving cream, hair care and other grooming products. How about a tennis-themed chair or couch, artwork and reading material? It can all enhance the feel of a locker room.
Depending upon materials, locker rooms can be cost effective or quite expensive. Costs generally can range from $80 to $200 per square foot, says Plaza. “There are so many great options, even with a tight budget. If the infrastructure of the locker room is already there and the changes are just cosmetic, the costs could be less. Cost-effective materials and creative lighting design provide a unique opportunity for amazing locker rooms, where small enhancements go a long way.”
Plaza says it is important to create locker rooms that are warm and inviting. It is also vital to incorporate materials that are sophisticated and clean, such as wood and tile. “The right lighting is key in the feel of the locker-room space,” she notes. Lighting should be soft and indirect in the changing areas, and more direct where grooming occurs.
“The idea of having a full amenity locker room is so that members can have all they need to be here — before work, lunch break or after work,” Plaza says. “They can have a great place for recovery and to relax.
“We try to eliminate excuses of why they cannot be here.”
Really, shouldn’t that be the primary goal of every tennis facility owner and general manager?
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