Now that we have celebrated the anniversary of our second full year in operation, I am happy to report that our growth trends continue to move in the right direction and the future looks very bright. Membership enrollment and attrition are two of the most important factors of our success. As you know, Debbie Pepper joined our team as our Membership Director in April of last year and she has proven to be an excellent addition. We enrolled 54 new Members in 2011 compared to 42 the previous year and had net Membership growth for the seventh consecutive year. Unlike many other clubs who have struggled to maintain growth in their Membership roster, we have already added 5 new Members in 2012.
I’m also happy to report that our attrition of around 5% for the last couple of years remains very low compared to industry standards. I believe that is a tribute to the value and quality of the Club and our Members. Tristyn Taylor also joined our team last year and has assumed the role of Member Relations Director. She has been working diligently to improve our Member Communications along with increasing Member participation. Tristyn is a very valuable and popular addition to our team.
In general, our revenues have increased by 11% compared to prior year and we experienced revenue growth in almost every area of the Club. Obviously the drought took its toll on our River Club activity, but the weather trends seem to have taken a turn for the better and we are optimistic that activity will increase again when the river flow improves.
Our friendly Membership and community spirit, in combination with the quality of our facilities, the natural beauty of the Hill Country, and being located within minutes of one of the largest cities in the United States, is the recipe for a world-class lifestyle. The 7 Clubs are all designed to improve your lifestyle, therefore our Club management team is focused on seeking ideas and programs that will keep you active, entertained, and ultimately enhance your life here at the Ranch.
Despite the weather challenges, Shane Reynolds and his group of outfitters creatively overcame this challenge by focusing on several of our other amenities and activities including signature vacations to both Kauai and Pinehurst. They have also increased the number of concealed handgun courses being taught at the Gun Club, so that more and more people have the ability to protect themselves in a safe and legal manner.
Our food and beverage operation also realized a growth in revenue and we continue to get positive feedback from our Members regarding our menus and events. Last year we introduced the Cordillera Ranch Cellar Club and already have over 70 Members enrolled who are taking advantage of the many benefits associated with this offering. Included benefits are reduced pricing on wines ordered via the wine pre-sale shop, reduced pricing on wines purchased by the bottle while dining, and preferred pricing for those attending our Wine Dinners. Chef Dwight Webb joined our team last year along with Zach Garza, our Sous Chef. The two of them have a great deal of passion for meeting and exceeding our
Members expectations and have also been great additions to our team. Manny, Jeff, Dwight, and Zach are all committed to providing a food and beverage experience that encourages your participation. I believe this is critical because many clubs have struggled in this area, and as a result have implemented food & beverage minimums in order to enforce Member support of their operations. In contrast, we want to earn your business and support.
In January Lindsey Minarcik, our Fitness Director rolled out a new Spa & Athletic Club menu designed to better accommodate our members’ needs. Along with the new menu, we have added a private Pilates studio and exciting new exercise classes and instructors, which broadens our offerings and wellness choices.
If you’re looking for activity, make sure you stop by the tennis shop; Glenn and Aubri always have something in the works to keep you active. From cardio tennis, to the various Kids’ Camps they offer throughout the summer. This year they are going to partner with our food and beverage team to offer a kids cooking camp. My mouth is watering already!
Kassandra Leachman, our Equestrian Manager, added Ashleigh Turgon to her team along with a new gelding named Mikey. Both Ashleigh and Mikey have a great deal of passion for English style riding, which is a popular riding lesson choice with our young ranchers. The Equestrian Club not only offers Western and English riding lessons, but also holds fun-filled camps during school breaks and the summer.
As you know the drought was also a challenge for the Golf department, but I hope you’ll all agree that Mark Semm and his team in Golf Course Maintenance did a phenomenal job maintaining the golf course during the worst draught on record. Your support and overwhelming positive comments fueled Mark and his team to deliver a product that achieved rave reviews.
Marc DeWall and the golf operations staff worked diligently to keep our Members active on the golf course during this difficult time as well. Even with the extreme drought, the revenues in this department were up significantly compared to prior year. The Men’s Member-Guest golf tournament in October was one of the best tournaments I’ve had the pleasure to be a part of. Be ready to register because when Marc announces the dates for this year’s event, it is sure to be a sellout. We are also preparing to begin construction on our “Champions Gallery”; this is sure to be a source of pride for our Members and will provide recognition to those teams and individuals who have won golf tournaments in the past and in the future.
In January, we hosted a fun-filled employee appreciation event with more than 80 employees and guests. We took the opportunity to review the “C a Star in Action” nominations that were graciously submitted by our Members during 2011. Our success as a Club would not be possible without the more than 100 employee-partners who make it a priority to take care of you. I would like to personally thank them for their efforts and encourage all of our Members to complete a “C a Star in Action” nomination form either online or at the Club when someone goes out of their way to make your day. I try to stay active around the Clubs, but I am not always aware of an employee’s efforts, so if you can help me recognize them I would appreciate it. I promise to recognize and share your comments with these star performers.
Our competitive research continues to reflect us in a positive light both in regards to the value and quality of facilities we provide in comparison to our dues and fees. Most of our competitors have not only struggled financially, but have also allowed their dues to escalate to $900 – $1,000 per month. As we look to the future we will continue to create programming and activities designed to keep you engaged in the Club and the Community in general while ensuring that we provide you and your families with an unparalleled value. March represents my two-year anniversary as the General Manager, and I cannot thank you enough for your support and encouragement.
See you at the Club!