Although the hospitality industry has been hit hard by COVID-19, the hip, member-only Fitler Club of Philadelphia – which reopened its hotel rooms to the public this week – has cleverly exploited its small independent property status to navigate in these unprecedented times while retaining an incredible 80% of its membership.
After being forced to shut down operations on March 15, the Fitler Club prioritized caring for its staff by converting a ballroom into a pantry, providing ongoing health care, and maintaining a transparent communication flow. But over time, club leaders quickly realized that the pandemic was not going away anytime soon, and that developing a formal health and safety plan for staff and members was crucial for survival. Thus, the Fitler Club’s COVID-19 response manual was born.
“We wanted to pioneer this effort and be the first to create a post-COVID playbook,” says Fiter Club president Jeff David. “We were doing this in mid-April, long before other brands launched similar programs. We always wanted to be ahead of the game. So, before unveiling the COVID-19 Response Manual, David and his team took a comprehensive look at how businesses in Asia are dealing with COVID-19, while constantly talking to each other and to the community. “You have to be very agile and zigzag your strategy as things change,” says David.
In addition to adapting quickly, David took into account what the members really needed in these emotional times: health, normalization and a sense of community. “Because we are a club of members, human interactions are a necessity and at the heart of what we do. To help our members feel confident, we didn’t just take the lead in security efforts – we were also very creative with them.
So when the Fitler Club reopened in June, its common areas, like the Field House, a 25,000 square foot fitness center, were marked with green, yellow, or red signals to indicate density and level. of risk. Additionally, all safety panels have been customized with the color violet and iconic Fitler Club design standards. “There was nothing cookie-cutter, because we wanted to understand what our members and guests would want,” says David.
To help involve the local community, a beer garden called “The Garden” was opened in July. Open to the public, the culinary concept led by Executive Chef Ryan Bloome offers a heartwarming, globe-trotting menu (think confit duck leg, falafel pita, and chicken potstickers) in a bustling courtyard. While the emphasis is clearly on keeping things social and fun, David says safety always comes first: “We play by the rules, no matter what, and are always guided by science. ”
While the recently reopened Fitler Club hotel rooms may not be the most obvious choice when it comes to accommodation in Philly, there are a number of perks to booking one. With over 130,000 square feet and just 14 bedrooms, guests have plenty of space for peace of mind, along with plenty of dining and leisure options. (A personal training session and private baking class with Fitler Club Pastry Chef Jeremy Intille is a must.) “Our biggest competitors, hotels and restaurants, need occupation to survive, but we, as private membership club, we’re not governed by that, ”explains David. “It’s also a great opportunity to see how safe our ‘campus’ is. And because you have everything close at hand, you never have to leave during your stay here. “