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Why are club reservations taking longer than usual?

By Ann Peterson

Managing Editor

 

(Wednesday, February 7, 9:00 a.m.): A staffing shortage, software limitations and auditing of club use have combined to decelerate club room reservations in 2024.

Because the Recreation Department was short-staffed, it closed down reservations for two weeks in December to focus on historical club bookings, which involves renewing club reservations from the previous year. Six weeks later, the department is still sifting through those reservations, and Community Services Director Ann Mottola said the department should be ready to accept new bookings in late February or early March.

“Some clubs have asked us to add ‘just this one’ or ‘just that one,’ but if we say yes to one new booking, other clubs

will expect to receive the same consideration,” Mottola said. “We need to prioritize delivery, and that means finishing the club history first.”

Club history must be completed first, Mottola explained, because when a club wants a booking, staff cannot run a report to see what rooms are available for the requested date. The current reservations- management system requires staff to check each room for prior-year bookings and then check the current year.

“This process has to be repeated for every room and every date,” Mottola explained. “It’s very time consuming.”

Mottola said a better-functioning system will be identified and implemented after NetSuite replaces the Jenark property-management software used by GRF. The first phase of NetSuite is expected to roll out in June.

“The next time we release club bookings, we will have a much more streamlined and efficient process, so it won’t take this many months to complete,” Mottola said. “We are experiencing this short-term pain because we know it will benefit everyone long term.”

Along with booking club history, Recreation also has prioritized reservations for memorials and celebrations of life because those are time-sensitive, Mottola said.

As staff members began filling club history requests, they uncovered other issues. Some dates had so many bookings that there were not enough custodial staff to turn around the rooms. Some clubs also were occupying vacant rooms without a reservation, creating unscheduled work for the custodial staff. (Mottola said staff has remedied that situation by locking the doors of unoccupied rooms.)

In more closely inspecting some of the historical bookings, Mottola also discovered that some of the reservations were not actually for club use. Some clubs were booking events for organizations outside the gate, and attendees were not the club’s members.

“Many of these events had no Rossmoor residents in attendance at all,” Mottola said, “yet these organizations were paying the club rate.”

Facility fees are significantly less for club use than private rentals because they are a benefit covered as part of the monthly coupon paid by residents.

“I’ve met with a lot of club representatives to help them understand why these facility rentals should not be classified as club use,” Mottola said. “Club use falls under the shared-cost model, and if our residents are paying for it, they need to benefit from it.”

Further auditing revealed that some bookings classified as club use were clearly intended for private use. Mottola noted how some clubs with hundreds of members were trying to rent small rooms with a capacity of 20.

“We need to be sure facilities are being booked appropriately for club use,” Mottola said.

Some club representatives have been upset because of the delays with bookings, added Mottola, who has met with many of them.

“Once we explain what we are trying to do, most are understanding,” Mottola said. “We know we can deliver exceptional service when we get this corrected.”

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