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 capture growing demand for play.
Among the most noteworthy changes are raising seasonal and non-resident rates essentially across the board, while removing age-specific senior (over 65) and junior (17 and under) packages in favor of a comprehensive one-size-fits-all individual membership.
The Zephyrhills City Council approved the requests from the facility’s private operator, Tennis Pro Florida LLC, during an Aug. 23 regular meeting at Zephyrhills City Hall. Zephyrhills entered into a management agreement with Tennis Pro Florida in October 2019, when it was established that any membership changes required council approval.
Sarah Vande Berg Tennis & Wellness Center’s Chief Financial Officer Nick Walton made a presentation at the meeting on the proposed changes, expected to take effect this month, following the council’s action.
During a presentation to council members, Walton began by detailing the tennis facility’s popularity since its 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,” said Walton, emphasizing the consistent turnout.
The $4.9 million tennis complex at 6585 Simons Road in Zephyrhills is marketed as “Tampa’s first boutique-style racquet sports and wellness club.”
The city-owned, but privately operated facility offers:
- 11 regulation-sized outdoor tennis courts (nine clay surface, two hard surface)
- Eight outdoor pickleball courts
- Four outdoor padel courts
- Outdoor multipurpose turf field
- A nearly 8,000-square-foot indoor clubhouse, featuring a full-service restaurant/cafe, fitness center, salt room, yoga room, cryotherapy chamber and pro shop
Tennis center leadership is striving to attract more annual members, and to encourage patrons to use more of the facility’s supplementary offerings, beyond tennis, Walton said.
“We have people coming once a month, they pay the non-member rate, but what we want is people to become members, so they’re kind of incentivized to come every single week, and enjoy all of the services that we have to offer,” he said.
Simplifying its existing membership model will help, Walton said, which he labeled “a little confusing currently, because there’s so many levels.”
Changes include tapering membership combinations from 72 different options down to 24 choices.
Membership increases for seasonal, non-residents
The most significant price hikes will be coming to six-month, seasonal membership offerings —to both Zephyrhills and non-Zephyrhills residents.
A 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 non-residents.
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 slated to go up, to varying degrees, too.
Encouraging more activities, beyond tennis
Walton went on to discuss the facility’s current supply and demand issue for tennis, in comparison to myriad other sports and activities.
Because tennis is “overwhelmingly” the facility’s largest attraction, that’s causing issues with accommodating adequate court space needs for all users during the evenings, he said.
While “a great problem to have” in one sense, Walton said, the facility is working on inventive ways to encourage other offerings, too. This may include offering one-week trials and other specials highlighting pickleball, padel, fitness classes and so on.
“We don’t want to box anyone out with pricing, but we want to allow ourselves to make money, and we’re almost maxed out with the tennis community,” Walton said. “We almost want to say, ‘Look, we’re not going to sell anymore tennis-only memberships, because we’re running out of courts.”
The council unanimously approved the facility’s membership model request, following some back-and-forth discussion.
Councilman Charles Proctor summarized the membership changes: “We all know, prices go 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 grander plans in play in the next year or so.
The city received a $4.7 million state appropriation this year to construct six additional outdoor hard tennis courts, as well as a 30,000-square-foot indoor tennis facility with the capability for other sports and activities, such as soccer, ping pong, banquets and ceremonies.
Another membership step is expected in September 2022, in advance of the targeted completion of the additional outdoor courts and indoor multipurpose facility.
Visit SVBTennisCenter.com for more information.
Published September 08, 2021