January Town Hall
Honoring Giovanni Melis
It wasn’t all good news for Ocean Reef Club Members. Senior Vice President of Food & Beverage, Giovanni Melis, announced that he would be retiring February 28 after 15 years serving Ocean Reef Club. In his tenure at the Club, Giovanni has re-concepted every Club restaurant from Toski’s and Reef Treats to CH Prime and his namesake, Gianni. Under his direction, offerings like the Vine to Table Dinners, Starlight Dinner Buffets, and Family BBQ’s have grown immensely. Beyond all the facilities and numbers however, Giovanni’s legacy will be the people. Nearly all of the current F&B Managers were hired by Giovanni and he has mentored, promoted and inspired every Associate he has come in contact with. Both Members and Associates alike are family, and it was evident with the announcement at Town Hall, that the family will miss him immensely.
With the Club’s fiscal year now closed, and the Holidays wrapped up, the January Town Hall meeting provided Members with a plethora of positive news. The Club enjoyed a strong financial year in 2019, and an active Holiday season full of families and fun.
State of the Club
Ocean Reef Club Chairman Bob Manzo opened the meeting by reiterating the endurance and continued focus on the Club’s mission statement and vision:
Ocean Reef Club Vision
The Ocean Reef Club will be the best private residential Club in the World.
Provide excellence in all services and facilities to increase the value and desirability for Ocean Reef Club membership and member real estate and facilities.
Mr. Manzo also stated that the Club has a fiduciary responsibility to Members supporting the vision and mission, “We owe it to every Member to provide the best quality of life experience at the most reasonable cost possible.” He followed this statement with a reminder of the three legged stool that is the business model for Club operations, detailing the financial balance between Equity and Legacy Members, Social Members and conference groups. Further to that, by illustrating the various Member categories that were at Ocean Reef during the holiday time, Mr. Manzo demonstrated that the business model is working and that we are in fact, a family club. After a very detailed analysis by the Club’s Membership Department was performed, it demonstrated that over the last three years the number of people enjoying the Club during the Holiday season was virtually the same. In fact, this year’s counts were slightly down. And, it was important to note that approximately 98% of those here for the Holidays were Equity Members, their Legacy family members and the extended families of Equity Members.
The Season Thus Far
Ocean Reef Club’s President, Alex Tonarelli, having now experienced the full gamut of holiday celebrations from Thanksgiving and Vintage Weekend to Christmas and New Year’s, expressed his gratitude to both Associates for their hard work, and Members for their enthusiastic support – both illustrated by the high Member satisfaction numbers. With Holiday food & beverage results flat for the past three years, Mr. Tonarelli also reiterated that the Club was well-positioned to accommodate Member reservations as well as large family groups with the continued expansion of dining venues, additional dining events and the reopening of The Islander.
In the November Town Hall meeting, Ocean Reef Club Finance Chairman Charlie Johnston announced that the Club was in, “Very good financial health.” With the November 30, 2019 fiscal year since closed, Mr. Johnston was able to report even better news – because the Club exceeded the budget, $1 million would now be added to the Capital Projects account, bringing the Capital set aside for projects to $31 million. Mr. Johnston also cited that the team has been disciplined, managing payroll without sacrificing Member experience.
In closing, he said, “My summary is brief and pretty outstanding, great cash position, no debt, strong operating results, very strong membership satisfaction ratings and those are exactly the four things we would like to continue to focus on and execute.”
With another year of a very strong Social Member Waitlist, Ray Larkin, Ocean Reef Club Vice Chairman, also had positive results to report, again in support of the Club’s business model and mission statement. In 2019, the Membership team had a waitlist of 277 with 160 activating on January 3, 2020. He also highlighted through an ongoing club comparison the tremendous value that Membership in Ocean Reef Club provides. “With that in mind,” Mr. Larkin said, “We looked at the history of dues and assessments for the Club overall to ensure we are able to maintain that value in the future. We are looking at areas where we can be more efficient in spending of our Members dollars. It is important that as we go down the road, the overall value of Membership at Ocean Reef Club is still incredibly high.”
With a quick review of the 2019 renovations of the Airport and the Ocean Room, Mr. Manzo moved on to the details of the 2020-2021 major capital projects.
There are three major projects scheduled to commence this Spring. The Associate Parking Garage is expected to eliminate Member parking issues throughout the Club with the addition of 400 new parking spaces that will be used by Associates, freeing up parking for Members in areas like the Spa and Fitness Center, Fishing Village, etc. The Ocean Room Renovation, to be completed in December 2020, is going to enhance the Member and guest experience in both the restaurant and Reef Lounge while providing a more updated check-in and lobby welcome area.
The Clubhouse major expansion is planned for a December 2021 completion and will include new Grill Room, Lounge, Pro Shop, Locker Rooms, Outside Dining, and Private Dining.
The last major project Mr. Manzo spoke about was the new lagoon and beach area on Buccaneer Island. The planning, costing and environmental implications are still uncertain, and this project requires more due diligence. It will not begin until Summer 2021.
The Town Hall meeting concluded with a special announcement by Mr. Tonarelli. Understanding the displacement and discomfort the upcoming construction projects may have on Members’ enjoyment of certain Club areas, he announced that he and the Board have approved a 5% discount for all Members on Club dining, effective February 1, 2020 through November 30, 2020.
We encourage you to view the presentation in its entirety at oceanreef.com/TownHall.