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Family as members vs guests

Forum Home Forums Horizon Project – Have your say! Family as members vs guests

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  • #56621

    In concluding that full members bear an disproportionate burden of membership fees, the slides about membership suggest that the analysis may not have considered how different families approach membership. Assume a ‘standard’ family of four. In some families all 4 individuals will be members (perhaps one full, one spouse and 2 under 21s) and they will together pay a large amount in subscriptions. In other families, only one individual will be a member and the other 3 will attend as guests, because the rules allow an individual to attend the club as many as 21 times a year as a guest. This family’s financial contribution to the club will be much less, though their use may be similar to the first family’s. Guest fees, which have hardly increased since I first started attending the club 25 years ago, won’t fundamentally change the position as much of the club can be enjoyed without incurring them.

    Before the membership discounts are adjusted, the number of times an individual can be admitted as a guest should be heavily reduced. 21 times a year is far too high and is more than many members attend. 3 times a year would be more appropriate and would avoid the unfairness described above. Otherwise the proposals, by reducing the discounts (so increasing the amount the first family pays) will exacerbate the unfairness.

    #56622

    This seems to me a good point. It’s not one which I’d considered before, because I hadn’t known of the practice which Christopher describes – of (frankly) gaming the current rules to reduce subscriptions paid. If this is happening then I would support the proposed reduction in the number of free guest attendances permitted per year.

    #56625

    There is one big change proposed that in a way addresses this issue. At the moment, you can introduce your children as guests and then, come age 20, sign them up as child members for the first time and they can become adult members a year later. About a third of our young members come in in this way. The change will be to require a significant number of years of child membership before transitioning to adult membership becomes possible, at age 18. So the family bringing children in as guest will lose the once in a lifetime opportunity for their children to become members.

    #56658

    Thank you Andrew and Richard. If a third of new young members come in with only a year’s under 21 membership, it suggests that perhaps a third of families are taking the ‘family as guest’ route, much more than I’d imagined, and suggesting that there is significant revenue available from stopping it. I think the change Richard describes would only address part of the issue – depending on how long a period of membership is required prior to age 21, it should address part of the ‘child as guest’ issue but won’t affect the ‘spouse as guest’ issue. I expect that has got worse since the spouse category was closed (so that overall revenue may increase if it was reopened). I also think there is merit on a stand-alone basis of reducing the number of times an individual can come as a guest in a year – a guest shouldn’t be able to attend as often as once a fortnight and more than many members.

    #56915
    979592
    Member

    This seemingly unfair way of avoiding fees should be stopped as soon as possible. I understand that many families have noted this loop-hole in the rules and some openly brag about the way they do not pay subscriptions for their children until such time. They all know exactly when their children should become members to enable them to assume Under 21 membership with all the rights this entails and poor old Waiting List people are left hanging on, never getting near the top of the list.

    Our subscription fees – with all the wonderful facilities the club offers – are still good value when compared with “one sport” clubs like golf clubs. We should not be afraid of closing these loop holes.

    #57001

    I think it might be a good idea to extend the discounted 21 – 25 (UM) membership to age 30 as quite a few people under 30 aren’t in well paid jobs. I’m 25 next year and I’m still a student. If it was extended to age 30, this would allow more time for people to get themselves established career wise and to bounce back after the pandemic. I know that quite a few members in my age group are also concerned about this.

    #57006

    I had no idea members could bring their children in as guests 21 times, that seems so strange.
    They should become members at the age of two if their parents are members and each year of child membership should have a percentage value against the final joining fee. THe other option is to monitor very carefully how many times the child is brought into the club and make it considerably less than 21.

    #57053

    If adopted, the membership proposals would extend reduced rates until age 30 as Miss Davidson suggests.

    #57058

    It has been heartening that the Club has made good progress recently towards reflecting contemporary lifestyles and culture and intends to continue along this path as part of the Horizon project.

    The Members Handbook is rather opaque on the subject of spouses and established life partners. Since the Spouse Member category was closed I understand that there is the option of Temporary Membership. But is that reserved solely for partners in possession of a marriage or civil partnership certificate or does the Committee/Secretary exercise discretion (and if so, using what criteria)? Either way, many Members will almost certainly be relying upon the guest route to enable their partners to accompany them to the Club. No doubt many individuals in this situation are maxing out on the 21 annual guest admissions, perhaps augmented by additional admissions sponsored by other Members happy to help out.

    I wonder if the arrangement that was recently put in place for nannies/child carers could be a basis of a new entry pass arrangement for nominated “significant others?” (but obviously with appreciably higher annual fees than for child carers). At the same time the number of times an individual could attend the Club as a guest (of all Member sponsors combined) could be reduced to something closer to the 12 per year level. This number would still enable Members to continue with gestures such as giving monthly lunches or tennis matches to dear friends or relatives who are Non-Members. I know that for many this is a cherished and important facility.

    The recent digitisation of Member and guest access should make an arrangement of this type relatively easy to implement. Needless to say the rule would be one “Significant Other” pass per Member and subject to the Member not being paired already with a Temporary Member or Spouse Member!!

    #57141
    639511
    Member

    Hello all, just confirming that the Club only extends the offer of Temporary Full Membership to partners who are either married or in a civil partnership. There is no discretion applied as we feel that a subjective judgement on the status of a relationship would be incredibly problematic for the Club to make.

    #57226

    I think £1,049 is still a lot for an 18 year old to find if their parents are no longer willing to pay the subscription.
    Many will be on gap years or going to uni and I’m sure most would not have a steady income at this stage. Do you think we should reconsider the amount so as to prevent losing them?

    #57227

    Parents pay the subscriptions and entrance fees of practically all members in their early 20s – in fact, that generosity typically extends to the late 20s.

    It is anticipated that higher costs will cause families to think twice about continuing membership,and that this will lead to a modest reduction in the number taking up adult membership. This will make a small contribution to reducing the continued growth in membership, which is a concern for many because of the increasing pressure it creates on our facilities.

    In the very unlikely case that there was a significant shortfall in membership applications from existing Hurlingham families, many would welcome some movement into the Club from our extremely long (and now closed) waiting list.

    #57229

    The current rules give a 10% discount on the child to adult member £5k entrance fee: so if you pay a full child membership for 10 years there’s no entrance fee. Parents who chose not to pay child membership fees just pay later – when they pay the ‘full’ child to adult £5k membership entrance fee. So the current system rewards those who pay now, later – which I think makes sense. Many families are juggling tight budgets and, as long as the rules allow it, they can chose.

    #57253

    I have to say that forcing ‘families to think twice about continuing membership’ seems a little euphemistic.

    Another way of looking at it would be that if some young families cannot afford a significant new front-loaded cost and so are forced to let membership lapse for their children (after 10+ years of subs), they can be replaced by those on the waiting list who can pay the fee, who inevitably given the length of the list will be older and therefore statistically more likely to be in a position to pay. No doubt some people might welcome this, but by no means all in my opinion.

    #57255

    John,

    I have to admit I needed to look up the word euphemistic in my dictionary. Now I see the meaning I see why you used it.

    It is a more agreeable way of saying that people who cannot afford the membership should resign and offer the opportunity to someone who can afford to pay.

    Do you have a solution?

    When people take that line with me I say they can always resign and join Roehampton. But that would cost me double they say.

    Or the Harbour Club. But that would cost me more than Hurlingham and offer me far less.

    We have always had a policy of not allowing money to buy membership. Millionaires are buying into Napier Avenue in the expectation of being fast tracked. They are not and I believe we have a better Club as a result.

    But surely that is not same problem as families who inherit their membership, the only way in these days, and then find they cannot afford it?

    Tony

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