The Sarah Vande Berg Tennis & Wellness Center in Zephyrhills is overhauling its membership pricing model in an effort to streamline options, encourage more annual memberships, and better address growing demand for play.
Among the most notable changes is the increase in seasonal and non-resident rates, essentially across the board, and the elimination of age-specific packages for seniors (over 65) and junior (17 and under) in favor of a comprehensive, individual membership for everyone. .
The Zephyrhills City Council approved the requests from the private operator of the facilities, Tennis Pro Florida LLC, at a regular meeting on Aug. 23 at Zephyrhills City Hall. Zephyrhills entered into a management agreement with Tennis Pro Florida in October 2019, when it was determined that any change of membership required board approval.
Sarah Vande Berg Tennis & Wellness Centers Chief Financial Officer Nick Walton gave a presentation at the meeting about the proposed changes, which are expected to take effect this month following the council’s action.
Speaking to councilors, Walton began describing the tennis facilities’ popularity since the soft opening last September, even in the wind of the coronavirus pandemic.
The state-of-the-art complex has seen some 2,000 visitors who have been there at least once. It also has about 175 members who pay monthly dues.
It’s been a crazy year this past year, Walton said, emphasizing the constant attendance.
The $4.9 million tennis complex at 6585 Simons Road in Zephyrhills is being marketed as the first boutique-style racket sports and wellness club in Tampas.
The city-owned but privately operated facility offers:
- 11 full size outdoor tennis courts (nine clay, two hard surfaces)
- Eight outdoor pickleball courts
- Four outdoor padel courts
- Multifunctional outdoor artificial grass pitch
- A nearly 8,000-square-foot indoor clubhouse, featuring a full-service restaurant/café, fitness center, salt room, yoga room, cryotherapy room and pro shop
The tennis center’s leadership aims to attract more annual members and encourage customers to use more of the facilities’ additional amenities, in addition to tennis, Walton said.
We have people who come once a month, they pay the non-member rate, but what we want people to join, so they’re kind of incentivized to come every week and enjoy all the services we have to offer, he said.
Simplifying the existing membership model will help, said Walton, who he called a little confusing at the moment because there are so many tiers.
Changes include phasing out membership combinations from 72 different options to 24 choices.
Seasonal, Non-Resident Membership Increases
The main price increases come in at six months of seasonal membership offers for both Zephyrhills and non-Zephyrhills residents.
Seasonal tennis-only membership was set at $160 total for Zephyrhills residents and $200 total for non-residents.
Now those rates will more than double to $344 total for Zephyrhills residents and $430 total for nonresidents.
Other activities show similar seasonal hikes.
A seasonal, pickleball-only membership jumps from $120 total to $264 total for Zephyrhills residents, then from $150 total to $330 total for non-residents.
Annual rates for non-residents are also expected to increase to varying degrees.
Encourage more activities, besides tennis
Walton went on to discuss the current supply and demand of facilities for tennis, compared to countless other sports and activities.
As tennis is generally the biggest attraction of the facilities, it causes difficulties in accommodating enough space on the court for all users during the evenings, he said.
While it’s a big deal in a way, Walton said, the facility is working on inventive ways to encourage other offerings as well. This could include offering week-long trial lessons and other specials that emphasize pickleball, padel, fitness classes and so on.
We don’t want to exclude anyone with prizes, but we want to allow ourselves to make money and were almost the maximum out of the tennis community, Walton said. We’d almost say, look, we wouldn’t sell tennis-only memberships anymore, because the courts were running out.
The council unanimously approved the request for membership to the facilities, after some back and forth discussion.
Councilor Charles Proctor summed up the membership changes: We all know prices are going up, so you’re going to have to raise the price, that’s inevitable, so I mean I don’t have any problem with what I’m seeing here.
Meanwhile, the Sarah Vande Berg Tennis & Wellness Center has bigger plans in play in the next year or so.
The city received a $4.7 million state loan this year to build six additional outdoor hard tennis courts, as well as a 30,000-square-foot indoor tennis facility with the potential for other sports and activities, such as football, table tennis, banquets and ceremonies.
A new membership move is expected in September 2022 ahead of the targeted completion of the additional outdoor courts and indoor multi-purpose facility.
Visit SVBTennisCenter.com For more information.
Published 08 September 2021
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