Archive for the ‘mandatory memberships’ Category

The Hospitality Challenge

Saturday, May 25th, 2019

I’ve learned a lot about the hospitality business since my first position as General Manager of an historic hotel in the late 70s.  In a variety of positions in hotels, resorts, and private clubs – in startups, turnarounds, and repositionings, I’ve learned a number of key lessons from my efforts to deliver high levels of service.  Here they are:

The customer is King.  The only perception of quality, service, and value is the customer’s.  Hospitality managers must learn as much as possible about their customers in order to meet their needs and wants – where they come from, why they come to your establishment, what are their expectations, what do they like or dislike about your property, what are their complaints, what would they like improved?

The hospitality business is detail and people-intensive.  It takes a lot of people doing all the right things everyday to deliver consistent, quality service.  Therefore:

  • Written standards, policies, and procedures ensure every employee knows what to do and how to do it; help develop specific training materials; and ensure consistency and continuity in the operation.
  • Formal training is a necessity.  Operational processes cannot be left to oral history or chance.
  • Continuous process improvement is a must.  We can never rest on yesterday’s accomplishments.
  • Thorough benchmarking of all areas of the operation ensures that we know what is going on and what our customers are telling us by their spending habits.

“The soft stuff is always harder than the hard stuff.”

  • Consistent, property-wide leadership is a must.  Disparate and competing leadership styles confound the staff and sow divisions in the team.
  • Values and behaviors must be spelled out in detail and reinforced continually.
  • Excessive employee turnover is damaging to an organization in continuity, lost time, and cost.  Except in extreme cases our first impulse (especially in difficult labor markets) is not to fire, but to examine causes; improve processes, organization, disciplines, and training; and instruct, counsel, and coach employees.
  • Employees must be empowered to think and act in alignment with organization values, the property’s mission and vision, and carefully defined management guidelines.  “Without empowerment an organization will never be a service leader.”  Why?  Because there is far more to do and monitor on a daily basis than any management team can possible handle.  Authority for service and service delivery must be pushed down to the lowest levels of the organization – where it takes place.

Work planning and ongoing performance review are essential to holding managers accountable for their performance and the performance of their departments or work teams.  Without accountability only the General Manager is accountable and he or she will fail or burnout trying to succeed.

Leadership is key at all levels of the organization:

  • To set an unimpeachable example for employees.
  • To uncover, analyze, and solve problems.
  • To thoroughly communicate standards, policies, procedures, information, and training.
  • To engage customers and staff continuously.

All of the foregoing requirements must be institutionalized so that the operation continues undisturbed in the face of any turnover and 80% of the operation functions routinely – allowing management to focus on strategic issues, planning, execution, problem-solving, and customer interface.

These lessons learned have led me to formulate a plan to create and deliver high levels of service.  This plan can be found in a white paper I’ve written entitled The Quest for Remarkable Service.

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the hospitality industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers – those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking managers throughout the country and around the world.

Guest Blog: Mandatory Club Membership – Strategies

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Mandatory membership is one of the most significant trends in the club industry during the last 15 years.  Mandatory membership is a community structure whereby residential property owners all contribute to the payment of expenses for and have access to recreational facilities associated with the residential community.  Mandatory Membership has significant benefits for the community:

  • Feasibility. Mandatory membership provides a guaranteed source of dues funding, plus additional revenue from owner spending.
  • Affordability of Club Membership. Mandatory membership helps a club keep dues affordable.Fairness. Mandatory membership ensures that all property owners who benefit from the recreational facilities share in their costs.

Property owners in some communities have challenged mandatory membership.  Mandatory membership should be structured to minimize the risk of a challenge and strengthen the club’s position.

  • Relationship Between Club and Community. The relationship between the residential property and the club should be highlighted in the mandatory membership covenant or implementing document.
  • Easement.  Easement language can be incorporated into the mandatory membership covenant to give property owners a real property interest in the club.
  • Grandfathering-In Owners. Success of defending a challenge to mandatory membership is enhanced if current owners are not required to be club members, but their subsequent purchasers would be required to join the club.
  • Approval of Purchasers. There should either be no application approval requirement for property purchasers or there should be a mechanism to allow the selling owner to secure a property sale if a purchaser is rejected.
  • Amendment to Governing Documents. If an amendment to the community governance documents is planned in order to implement mandatory membership, such documents and applicable case law should be reviewed to assess the risk of a challenge to the association’s power to amend the documents.   In some cases, avoiding an amendment would be recommended, in which case,  the community membership may be structured by agreement between the club and the community association without amending the community governance documents.
  • Fairness and High Owner Approval Goal.  It is important for the success of defending a challenge to a mandatory membership program that it be perceived as a fair program, which is desired by a large segment of the community.  A high owner vote approval should be sought.  Property owners who do not use the facilities should pay no more than a fair amount commensurate with the club’s benefit to the owner.  The membership program should include benefits for owners who do not golf or play tennis.

Mandatory membership is one of the most important tools to enhance the viability of a club in a residential community, and is also one of the most controversial both politically and in the courts.  Clubs and communities can structure mandatory membership to reduce the risk of the successful challenge

Glenn A. Gerena

Glenn A. Gerena, a shareholder with the national law firm of Greenberg Traurig, P.A., concentrates his practice on structuring, documentation for, and restructuring club membership programs.  You can read more about the author at, and read more club related articles by the author at

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the club industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers — those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking club managers throughout the country and around the world.

Club Resources International – Management Resources for Clubs!

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