Smithfield RSL Grows Membership by 3500

Smithfield RSL’s careful choice of a firm to carry out a significant design and construct refurbishment to its gaming areas led to a 50% saving on building costs and time and a dramatic increase in membership and turnover.

As a result, poker machine turnover has increased from $50,000 to $130,000 per month in the outdoor gaming area alone while membership has increased nearly 3500 and the club is trading at an amazing 13% above last year’s revenue.

And according to the club’s Gaming Manager, Wesley Komorowski, the six months project was achieved with absolutely no loss of revenue during the building phase.

Wesley said that he has little doubt designer/builder Merlot Constructions could take much of the credit for the club’s subsequent turn-around.

Smithfield’s relationship with Merlot started five years ago when the firm was one of a number invited to tender on designing and building an outdoor gaming area to help arrest a revenue decline following the smoking ban legislation.

They showed Merlot the only available place to put it, which was far from the main indoor gaming area.

“We asked a couple of firms to quote on that project and Merlot was as much as 50% cheaper plus they could do it in half the time of the other tenderers. When we got the work done we discovered that their quality was also twice as good as we had seen in the past,” Wesley said.

The outdoor area helped arrest the decline but suffered from being separated from the main gaming area.

Two years ago, when the time was right to take the plunge on a new high rollers area, Merlot was called in to consult right from the planning stages. The firm’s designers suggested placing the high rollers room and the existing gaming area near the outdoor area and showed how it could be done, particularly how the low ceilinged snooker room could be transformed to accommodate the VIP High Rollers area.

Wesley said that the plan had proved an outstanding success, so much so that Merlot promotes it as the best it has done in its 18-year, 162-project history.

“Because all three rooms radiate from a stately central space with a granite water feature it’’ a nice place to be an convenient for patrons. As a result the outdoor area is now doing astronomical figures. Poker machine turnover there previously was $50,000 a month and it’s now $130,000 – a massive difference.”

While many have been impressed at the way the old snooker room’s low ceiling was effectively hidden by a Bird’s Nest design that creates an optical illusion to disguise the actual height, Wesley said that Merlot’s insistence on bringing in a Feng Shui expert to assist with the overall design had proved a clever stroke.

“Between the Feng Shui and the Asian inspired look of the area we have dramatically grown our Asian customer base,” he said.

“We quickly went from our original five roulette stations to 40 and we have just bought another 20 because the room is going so well.

“The growth in participation by Asian customers was gradual in the first six months but in the last six months it has grown dramatically.”

But growth has not been restricted to one market. Since the new look gaming area was opened 18 months ago the club’s membership had grown from 20,000 to 23,500 and the club is trading 13% above last year’s figures.

“We’re really excited as this is the highest growth we have seen as long as I can remember,” Wesley said, pointing out that he has been at Smithfield RSL for 16 years and that in the current market most clubs are happy with a growth of just a few percentage points.

Wesley said that there was absolutely no doubt the club would continue its relationship with Merlot. Quite apart from the firm’s price and speed advantages, he said that Merlot’s capacity to look after everything from the design to the touches such as the Feng Shui made the whole process seamless.

“It’s hard to tell exactly, but looking at the way we are trading now I believe we are looking at a four-year payback on the refurbishment investment because of the growth it has generated.

“Why wouldn’t we continue to use a company that is cheaper, faster, better and has given us a product that is paying for itself?”

After successfully operating for twenty one years in club construction the team at Merlot Constructions are proud to share our free ebook which contains ideas that will increase your Club's revenue while showing you how to save money on your club's fitout.

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