May 2021 Survey Results: How are Clubs Recovering from COVID-19?

How “open” is your club?

In May 2021, the ICOYC surveyed our Member Clubs about how they are recovering from the COVID-19 global pandemic. An earlier survey in 2020 had shown that the pandemic affected operations in nearly every corner of every Member Club, from regattas to recreational sailing, club events to private functions, employment to membership. At that time, most Member Clubs were essentially “closed,” and most operations were moved to virtual and take-out options.

Months later, with vaccination rates on the rise and infections on the decline, we see that most clubs that responded to the survey in May have reopened (91%), with 72% reporting their hours and operations are “somewhat restricted” and 18% saying they are “tightly restricted”.

Just one club responded that they were fully open with normal operating hours.

Nearly all respondent clubs (80%) are now welcoming guests and reciprocal club members.

What events are available, and which are most popular?

In terms of specific event offerings, nearly all Clubs (91%) are now hosting some kind of on-the-water activity, with Cruises and Regattas proving “popular” and/or “very popular” according to respondents. Just one club reported that it is not yet offering this type of activity for members.

Most Clubs have returned to hosting small events (82%), and 27% of Clubs are not yet hosting larger events.

When it comes to virtual events, most clubs indicated they will continue to offer them on some level (55%), even though they aren’t very desirable — 36% of clubs said they were “not very popular” and no clubs gave them the highest ranking of “very popular.”

What health and safety requirements do you still have in place for members (waivers, masks, etc.)?

Most Member Clubs indicated they are still ensuring health and safety in their clubs by using some combination of requirements, though many Clubs indicated these requirements are lessening each month.

35% are still requiring signed waivers, 18% require some masking and 26% require proof of vaccinations. One club is no longer implementing any safety requirements; one is still conducting temperature checks upon entry and 18% indicated they are using an honour system when requesting members and staff abide by rules for waivers, self-health checks and vaccinations.

Are you having a hard time re-hiring staff, and why?

One clear theme that arose is that post-pandemic operations are being affected by staff shortages, with clubs indicating a variety of factors causing difficulty in hiring.

Challenges include:

  • Competing with restaurants re-opening (9%)
  • Competing with enhanced unemployment benefits from the government (18%)
  • Finding qualified talent (27%)
  • Overall shortages of personnel in the hospitality industry (27%)
  • The pandemic’s effects on the availability of tourist visas for workers (9%)

What new trends will stick around?

Finally, this survey’s open question asked, “What changes that you implemented during COVID-19 do you expect will remain for the long term?”

Answers were interesting, and included:

  • Some type of virtual activity will continue (events, meetings or regattas) (36%)
  • Outdoor and takeout dining will continue
  • We will have tighter controls on club entry
  • We will continue our improved sanitation and general hygiene
  • We have reorganized our staff and rethought about the best way to use our resources
  • We’ve rethought several space in the clubhouse, to offer improved service.

This pandemic is by no means over, and we will continue to report on the operational shifts seen at Member Clubs. Stay tuned.